Careys Castle Trail is a 7.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Desert Center, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
Unique desert "castle", off-trail canyon hike, unlisted "secret" hike This is a so-called "secret" hike. Although from the number of footprints and people signing the register, one might wonder just how such a "secret" got to be so publicized.
This trail is closed till further notice by the park service. It is also patrolled regularly.
If you study the maps available online, you won't have trouble finding Carey's Castle. Once you enter the main canyon, just remember to staff left for the first two forks, and then right for the third. The foot prints make it pretty obvious. The "castle" is interesting, but the hike would be worth it without it. Walking in the sand/gravel does get a little old after a while. I found out after the fact that the park service have closed the area due to looting (oops). So, you may want to check with the park first.
Had a good hike I missed the turn off and had to backtrack a little still all and all I would recommend it. Don't think I would call it a hard hike it's a little tough on the legs with the sand/gravel but pretty easy to deal with.
I enjoyed it very much. The weather was 98* and clear blue skies. A GPS is a must.
I tried this hike last March with some friends, and it was a pretty difficult hike. We went without a map and didn't find the castle. Would love to try again with the proper map or GPS. Most of the hike is a wash and there isn't much of a trail. We did lots of scurrying over boulders and sliding down rocks.
The trail is though a wash the whole way up/down, so gators, high boots or long pants are advised to keep out the sand.
The "castle" is not as marked on the map, but with a little searching you will find it.
Map and/or GPS will help you from getting turned around in the maze of canyons.