Castle Dome Trail is a 8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Castella, California that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from April until November.
Overall wonderful hike with fabulous views of Shasta and Castle Crags. We went in early March and hit some snowpack about a half mile from the end. It was packed down and quite slippery, so it didn't seem safe to continue. We had hiking boots but no crampons or axes, so we turned around.
The rocky area after the Wilderness marker was a bit tricky. Sometimes it was hard to see where the designated trail was. I'm a bit nervous about heights, but it wasn't bad for me.
We did the Indian Springs spur. It was very warm here (seemed about 75 F) and a nice place for a snack or lunch. Good views here as well, and there is a water source (but I would filter it).
We went slow and were on the trail for four hours.
Beautiful views and a good workout on a well groomed trail. Can't ask for more than that.
So worth the difficult hike! We clocked 9.5 miles, and we didn't start tracking for about a mile. but we went off the trail a bit here and there. Sooooooo worth it for the amazing views at the top!! Very hot in the last section that climbs straight up the crags. Very hot and very steep.
This was an amazing, albeit very strenuous, trail. There were tons of gorgeous views of the crags, Mt. Shasta, and the valley. There are definitely bears in the area- we came across some pretty fresh bear scat. Just be aware of your surroundings, as mountain lions prowl these woods too. Stick to daytime hiking and make a lot of noise as you go, and you should be fine. Recommended for the fit and/or experienced hiker!
This was a relatively strenuous climb in places, made sweatier by the hot June sun (temps nearing 90°), but worth it for the views from the top! Most of the trail, at least to where the PCT section ends, is shaded though and relatively cool. It is also worth noting that our GPS actually clocked this hike at almost 11 miles and over 3,400 in elevation gain if you go all the way up Castle Dome and detour to Indian Springs on the way back to grab water.
Perfect weather for hiking on 2-21-2016. We started at the parking area off the Soda Creek exit 726 of I-5. We started on the PCT and connected to the Dome Trail. The trail is well maintained and we didn't have any snow until we were in the more rocky sections. Some of the time there was about 4 inches of snow. It was still very easy to see where we needed to go. We climbed to the rock beside the main dome rock and had lunch. Amazing views the entire time we were in the Castle Crag Wilderness. This hike ended up being 8.98 miles
This is a well maintained trail and well worth the effort.
One of my favorites. The hike will challenge you but can be done by almost anyone as long as you pace yourself. The views are amazing especially at the top. Good food is close in Dunsmuir, which is a must after the hike.
Several other reviewers have said it already but it bears repeating: the park itself and the Castle Dome trail in particular are really beautiful and would deserve wider fame and recognition... or maybe it is just as well that Castle Crags is a bit of a "well-kept secret".
The park is of course easily accessible, right off the I5 interstate and a (strong) stone-throw away from the much better known Mt Shasta area.
I stayed the night at the Railroad Park Resort, just below the Crags (nice view of the peaks above at sunset and sunrise during my stay), sleeping in one of the cabooses, a nice/out-of-the-beaten-motel-path by itself! This also allowed me to be at the trail-head a 7am, and the first one that day to head up toward the dome.
The first .25 miles are deceiving...nice and flat on the wheelchair accessible Root Creek trail. Then the Castle Dome / Crags trail takes off to the left; it is all up from there to the top. For the first two miles up, the trail is wide (two people can walk side-by-side), well maintained and smooth (no need to watch your footing constantly). That section is well shaded, under a constant and high canopy. The tails is also well signed, which helps at it intersects with several other one, including the Pacific Crest Trail. Around the 2 miles mark, the side spur to Indian springs is a short .2 miles to the left if you are in need of water. I did not need any but made this side trip to drink from the fresh stream anyway.
Pass Indian Springs, the Castle Dome trails keeps going up and, for the last .6 miles or so, it becomes rocky, narrower and, at times, a bit less easy to follow. The upside, however, is that the views open up and all the beauty of the Crags can be enjoyed at every turn and from many angles.
The official trail dead-ends at a narrow saddle with metal posts and chains to prevent energetic hikers forge ahead and over the cliff's edge. To the left, an easy scramble between a fallen slab and the rock face lead to a short but relatively wide ledge with beautiful views of Mt Shasta framed by the Crags on the left and on the right (the dome itself). A nice spot for a snack and a bit of rest (if no one else claimed it before you!).
I did not have much time to wander around, but those who can spend a couple hours scrambling around will no doubt find many a great spot to take pictures, to rest, to climb... or just to enjoy the beauty of this very unique landscape.
Given the opportunity, I will not think twice about visiting Castle Crags State Park again!
I hiked up to the dome then over to the cosmic wall to rock climb. The trail is clean, wide with good vibes and awesome views.