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Castle Peak Out-and-Back

Difficult
 4.4 (18) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A relatively easy climb to a grand high point in the northern Sierra.


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Map Key

5.9

Miles

9.5

KM

75%

Runnable

9,008' 2,746 m

High

7,285' 2,220 m

Low

1,768' 539 m

Up

1,768' 539 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

45%

Max Grade (24°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views

Overview

By starting near the high point of Donner Pass, this high summit is a relatively easy objective and a surprisingly short outing. Don't be fooled by the first mile though - the top section gets much steeper and rockier.

Need to Know

You can make this run longer and prettier by using the PCT: Highway 80 to Highway 49 (near Sierra City) trail and bypass the Castle Valley Road.

Alternatively, if you have a high-clearance vehicle, you can drive a portion of the Castle Valley Road and shorten this run a bit.

Description

From exit 176 on the freeway, park on the north side of the highway at the Castle Valley Road parking area (or, with high clearance, drive about a mile up the road and save yourself a little bit). Start your run on the Castle Valley Road, and as you ascend the gradual dirt road, pass the Hole In The Ground Trail to the left (last good parking area). The trail steepens and climbs higher to intersect with the PCT: Highway 80 to Highway 49 (near Sierra City) at Castle Pass.

From the busy intersection, start right up the west ridge of Castle Peak, where you'll transition to the Castle Peak Trail. Trees diminish and the views get grand, both of this peak and the entire region. A steep and rocky scramble gets you to the final summit, with 360-degree views. On clear days, you can see Mount Diablo in the bay area, the snow-covered Lassen Peak way to the north, and all the mountains that ring Lake Tahoe.

Once you've enjoyed the views provided at the top, head back down the way that you came to return to the parking area, and your vehicle.

Contacts

Shared By:

Nick Wilder with improvements by Tilman Giese

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 18 votes

#1

in Royal Gorge

#551

Overall
  4.4 from 18 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
44%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Royal Gorge

#92

in California

#551

Overall
213 Views Last Month
10,800 Since Aug 12, 2016
Difficult

0%
0%
11%
11%
79%
0%

Photos

Views from Castle Peak.
Aug 12, 2016 near Truckee, CA
Looking out towards Castle Peak across a ton of snow in May.
May 29, 2017 near Truckee, CA
Castle Peak
May 19, 2019 near Truckee, CA
Round Valley from Castle Peak Trail.
May 19, 2019 near Truckee, CA
Castle Peak through the trees on Castle Valley Road.
May 19, 2019 near Truckee, CA
Castle Peak across the open meadows surrounding Castle Valley Road.
May 19, 2019 near Truckee, CA

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All Clear 17 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Jul 10, 2020
Brita Bookser
Spectacular panoramic views were a prize after the switchbacks! — 2h 40m
Nov 26, 2019
Pamela Rice
parked inside the park — 9h 35m
Jan 28, 2017
otherone
First back county snowboard attempt, didn’t summit and topped out around 8,400