Explore the most popular lake trails in Shasta-Trinity National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

We reached Castle Lake around 5pm yesterday and left for the trail in 15 minutes. Very few people on the way, especially after we crossed the Castle Lake overlook. The road is a little confusing but you figure it out after a while. With a little help from Google Maps we reached the heart lake overlook point. Amazing view! Worth the effort.

Saw my first bear there!

Awesome trail! Be careful and make sure that the bridges are installed on the west side. There are no warnings.

The secrets out for this area, try and check it out early in the spring, there’s an abundance of wildflowers and wild onion that grow in the meadows.

hiking
13 days ago

How can you beat a view overlooking a gorgeous mountain lake and Mount Shasta?! You can’t! Absolutely beautiful area, and a great hike!

Usually a VERY busy place, but it’s a beautiful hike! Definitely recommend going, try to sneak up for a sunrise or sunset!

Amazing hike with unreal views. Not to hard ether! Trail is horribly marked

This was an amazing place! We hiked up and camped next to the lake. The bullfrogs were pretty noisy until 2 am. But the views were spectacular!

Tough but worth it

Hiked (in some snow) December 2017. From what the Shasta Ranger Station says, the road up to Castle Lake is usually well maintained during winter months. The hike itself is short and moderately steep. We saw folks ice skating on Heart Lake with views that were incredible. At Heart Lake, we ventured another 10minutes through a roughly established trail (through a few bushes) up the side of the hill to a vantage point that looked down on Castle Lake, Heart Lake, and out across the valley towards Mt. Shasta. The extra 10min journey upwards definitely recommended.

backpacking
1 month ago

Very difficult uphill battle but absolutely gorgeous along the way. Definitely worth it. Tons of wildflowers, and changes in scenery. Waterfalls, snow, fields of flowers, giant trees and granite peaks surrounding you. There were many switchbacks and intense elevation gain but the trail was well marked.

Don't try to use the alltrails app to get directions to this trail. It took me to a completely different, sketchy area behind some peoples houses. There was a trail back there but it was not maintained very well. I still got a hike in but it was a lot more strenuous than I was planning.

backpacking
1 month ago

In cooler weather, I would have rated this four-stars. The July we went though, we had 100 degree weather on that first day that has a lot of elevation gain, and I cannot say that was a good experience when I factor in the resulting blisters despite many efforts to prevent them. However, it was cooler and beautiful up at the four sapphire lakes with expansive vistas and many wildflowers.

hiking
1 month ago

The 1st half of this trail is awesomely beautiful and goes to a stream that runs into the lake in a nice little cove. The next section that goes away from the water and off into the woods is great. The last 1/2 mile+ is pathetic and is on a road uphill back to the TH. The trail is in excellent shape with a few small trees down and a rock that are all easily passed.

The best option for this trail would be an out and back to where the trail turns up and away from the lake shore. If I had done it as mentioned I would have rated it a 5 instead of a weak 4... I'm surprised this trail was approved because of the road portion of the hike.

At the TH make sure to take the fork to the the right with the signage.

I love this trail. I hike it at least once a month. Can be hiked year round, but lots of snow right now (March.)

hiking
2 months ago

Is a permit required for camping?

Little hard to find if you don’t know where you’re going. Don’t let the steepness intimidate you. this is by far the best view you can get of surrounding areas without that much difficulty. From above heart lake you can see Mt. Shasta, Black Butte, Mt. Ashland (far distance) and then if you look hard enough you can even spot Mt. Lassen and the Crags. You have to climb above heart lake up on the ridge to see this but honestly everything here is absolutely GORGEOUS.

Great hike with my dog! Didn’t see many other people, and the view of Castle Lake from Heart Lake is amazing. Be careful if you come in the winter, as the snow and ice makes this more of a “hard” hike than “moderate”. The trail was packed down so snowshoes aren’t necessary (as mentioned in another review). There’s a small stream to cross at the beginning, with a precarious piece of plywood over it, so be prepared for that.

hiking
3 months ago

Easy hike with views to the northwest, southwest, south and east and the treat of a lake at the end. A regular for the Siskiyou Wanderers, often in winter or spring.

Three of us hiked this today. The trail was easy, with some moderate uphill climbs. Some have reported poison oak along the trail, but it was not an issue at this time of year for us. We parked where the trail crosses the road. It's an enjoyable hike!

I worked in this area as a trail maintenance worker. I loved every day that I worked on this trail. just a couple years ago was manicured for a few miles by good people so I'm sure it is pretty maintained in most spots, a walk that wouldn't disappoint.

hiking
3 months ago

Gorgeous recently rebuilt trail to lakes that rival Heart Lake for their perspective of Mt Shasta

Nice trail, beautiful views at the top. Yesterday there was probably 1 ft-2ft of snow most of the way, but it’s pretty stamped down from all the hikers, some areas more challenging than others. Didn’t need snow shoes (though you could get away with them off to the sides of the trail), just wear some waterproof hiking boots and water repellent pants and you’ll be good to go!

on Four Lakes Loop

backpacking
3 months ago

The most stunning views I have ever experienced, and incredibly varied. Every turn held a new view. We went mid August (2017) and there were still abundant wildflowers. We did this is two long days and one night. Took the loop clockwise and stopped to camp at Diamond lake, which is less than half way, but the second day is primarily downhill (although there are some surprise steep inclines past diamond lake, so don't get lured in once you start heading down). The trails were pretty busy, but we were one of only two groups that stayed at Diamond. Note: there are no good trees to hang a bear bag near diamond, so I would suggest a canister. Overall it was definitely difficult, but absolutely awe-inspiring. I would do this trip a thousand times.

Enjoyable hike with a large rock blocking the trail. This simple 3 foot clamber limiting passage to able bodied hikers.
The trail is a loop but know that the trail pops out 1/2 mile down the paved road. NOTE: Don’t be fooled with the lesser path heading uphill from the trailhead, this leads to the top of the hill with no connection to the loop trail. You will be backtracking to the trailhead to start again.

Next time we go we are going to start by walking downhill on the road and get the tarmac portion of this hike out of the way while we are fresh. Be warned if you leave it till the end of your hike it is a bit of an unwelcome uphill grind with the sun reflecting off the tarmac. Don’t worry the trail is clearly posted, located at the point where the road widens for the boat launch parking.

Ran up the trail most often way with my dog. Hard run to moderate hike. Can get crowded on weekend. Very nice views.

trail running
3 months ago

Easy trail to run. Took my dog had a fun day

No snow, a little icy. Heart Lake is frozen over.

Beautiful views.

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