Castle Peak Trail

HARD 42 reviews
#5 of 113 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




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.

15 days ago

Constant incline, fun journey, almost perfect view (seeing 80)

22 days ago

Nice hike, strenuous but not too difficult. I could see several other peaks I'd like to hike next time

23 days ago

24 days ago

Great hike and work out! Trekking poles definitely help coming down as some of the rock/ dirt is slippery! It does get windy and a bit chilly on the ridge and at the top. Definitely a trail I would do again!

24 days ago

Caladros. Stupendous view.

24 days ago

This was not good. Boring. Better trails in south lake.

1 month ago

Awesome view at the top. Relaxed and ate some lunch and took a little nap...

1 month ago

The views at the top are amazing

1 month ago

Great my 10year old did it with no problem!

1 month ago

Great up n down. Very loose footing along the last mile to the top, hiking poles are highly suggested.

1 month ago

Gorgeous panoramas. Challenging hike especially along the top ridge where it's very loose.

1 month ago

Awesome. 3 miles out and 3 miles back. Last mile was best. Hiked across the ridge line and the cool wind made it a delight. Dual hiking poles made downhill loose rocks very helpful.

2 months ago

A great hike with fantastic view. Be prepared for high winds along the ridge line

2 months ago

Great trail.

2 months ago

Stunning views on this beautiful hike. Decided to do it instead of Shirley Lake hoping for less crowds and it worked. We parked along the road and walked 1.5mi to the trailhead. Great way to warm up before hitting the steep hiking trail. It gets steep and is rocky, yes. I would have been in trouble with out sticks. Made it to the tippy top. Oh! The wild flowers are giving a spectacular show right now.

2 months ago

really nice hike. moderately busy on the way up. the hardest part of the ridgeline is pretty slippery so make sure you wear some shoes wth good traction. there's some great views and the area is very relaxing and quiet! castle peak is one of my favorites spots so far and what's great is there's many more trails to keep the challenge going. I also climbed Andesite peak on the way back and that is also extremely slippery. enjoy the hike!

3 months ago

Very difficult hike in the sense that it is fearful and exciting. I broke my ankle at the very top last summer and had to hike all the way down on my own with broken bones. This hike is very sketchy coming down because it is very loose, gravely, and, steep (but so worth it, beautiful & amazing!!!) so be prepared to take it easy. Depending on where you park your car will greatly depend on your mileage. Enjoy!

6 months ago

One of my favs always and forever. Great views of Tahoe. Any time of year is good. A great snow shoe hike.

7 months ago

8 months ago

This is actually a very nice trail with great views from the top. You don't really get to the very top unless you bring climbing gear or have very large juevos.( did I spell that right? ). The reason I only gave it 3 stars is that for about 90% of the trail you get to enjoy the background noise of Interstate 80. It's not overly loud, but it's there. A definite drawback if you want solitude, though not a reason to skip this trail.