Castle Peak Trail

HARD 28 reviews
#5 of 117 trails in

Castle Peak Trail is a 5.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Soda Springs, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.8 miles 1745 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly




nature trips



trail running


cross country skiing



wild flowers




One of the easiest peaks (9100') to hike in the Tahoe area and is doable as a day hike from the Bay Area. As you approach Donner Pass from the west on I-80, you can't miss Castle Peak on the left. To get to the trailhead, take the Boreal exit (between Soda Springs and Donner Lake.) From the Boreal parking lot go under the freeway and follow the road up to the right and find a place to park. If you have a 4WD with high clearance, you could follow the dirt road and shorten the hike by a mile or two. Start the hike by following the dirt road. In a mile and half the trail will start to climb and you'll reach a junction at Castle Pass. The PCT crosses this junction. Turn right and follow the ridgeline up to Castle Peak. From the ridgeline you look to your left (north) and see a beautiful green valley and ahead and to the right you can see your destination. Simply follow the well defined trail to the top. The climb gets quite steep (1300' gain, mostly in the last 2 miles) and I recommend hiking poles if you have them. If you have the time, you can also hike over to Andesite Peak or Basin Peak.