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Castle Lake Trail is a 9.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Dunsmuir, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 9.9 miles Elevation Gain: 2,283 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

scramble

hiking
2 days ago

This is a fairly easy trail with great views from miles ~2-4.5. Snow pack was almost gone, lots of streams flowing along the path. Trail is a bit faint in spots right now. Gorgeous valley views and nice view of castle crags. We started around 10 and had the trail to ourselves, passing hikers on our way out. The lake parking lot and road was totally full when we packed out. Took 4 hours RT.

hiking
icy
snow
7 days ago

Went in the month of March. Lake was frozen over and the trail was covered in snow. It was still a beautiful sight!!! Many should explore the real northern CA.

hiking
icy
off trail
snow
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful trail, however mid April is not the time to do it. Only made it about a mile up until we encountered too much snow to press on without snowshoes

hiking
1 month ago

One of the best trails I have ever hiked. Spectacular views & it doesn’t get too crowded.

1 month ago

On a road trip up to OR this past October, we stopped and stayed at the Castle Lake campground. With only a few hours of daylight to burn, we decided to walk up the road to check out the lake. Having only stumbled upon this trail and limited light left, we only hiked about 3mi in before turning around. The trail was rocky in quite a lot of sections. Lots of brush, but the trail remained visible. We were not expecting just how gorgeous the views would be! The lake was serene and the landscape was breathtaking. We woke up early the next morning and took the Lake Shore Trail- it was an awesome way to start the day! Easy, well maintained trail along the west side of the lake. Quiet, lush, and full of stunning scenery. This area is beautiful and highly recommended!

hiking
9 months ago

I didn’t do the 9 mile loop, but I hiked up to heart lake and beyond! The view from heart lake to castle lake, with mt Shasta in the background is breathtaking!

hiking
10 months ago

hard to find the trail at times. dogs are welcome.

hiking
Sun Aug 05 2018

Not bad, mainly strenuous on the way back. Bring sturdy hiking shoes, and bug spray.

Sun Jul 08 2018

Beautiful meadows and lake views

hiking
Mon May 28 2018

Hiked up to Heart Lake, then down to Little Castle Lake and to the end of the trail (where it meets Mt. Bradley Rd.). The steepest parts are heading up to Heart Lake, then returning the last stretch up from Mt. Bradley Rd. (no real reason to make that descent unless you want the exercise, it's an ATV road), and then climbing back up from Little Castle Lake to get back to the parking lot. A great variety of terrain, from forest to shrubs. In some parts the trail is overgrown with thorny shrubs to bring long pants if you intend to hike the whole trail (I didn't and have the scratches to prove it). Heart Lake is definitely the highlight, with its splendid view of Black Butte, Mount Shasta and Castle Lake below.

hiking
Mon May 14 2018

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

hiking
Fri Dec 29 2017

Started early AM. Met two guys who had turned around due to heavy/dangerous ice on trail. I had yak-tracks, so I was able to push on. Amazing temp difference from start to a few miles away at ridge line. Not one person on the trail. Loved the solitude. The brush can be a bit invasive, but not even close to what others have said. Minor and momentary distraction, at worst. Loved the hike and would like to get to the ridge and camp.

hiking
Tue Oct 03 2017

I cannot get over how great this trail was! There was a lot of up and down, with some steep grades, but the views are definitely worth it! The trailhead in Dunsmuir this app leads you to is actually private property and gated off. Just start at Castle Lake (off Castle Lake Rd, past the campground) and you'll still get to see all the awesome stuff. The trail isn't as bad as other people have described. A little overgrown, but you can definitely see the trail, just have to dance around some branches.

hiking
Sat Aug 12 2017

Dense Manzanita about half way up the trail. You can certainly get through it though. Terrain was up and down the entire way. Beautiful views of Castle Crags, Mt Shasta and Castle Lake.

hiking
Sat Aug 12 2017

Wed Jul 05 2017

I had a really hard time getting through the trail about halfway through bc the manzanitas were so overgrown. I have multiple scratches, my shorts were ripped, and I was sad I couldn't finish the whole thing! Someone needs to do some upkeep

hiking
Fri May 12 2017

Beautiful hike. Lots of rock with great views.

hiking
Fri May 20 2016

This is NOT the Heart Lake Trail. It takes you to unparalleled views of Castle Crags, Mt Eddy, Black Butte and Mt Shasta. Perfect spring (May) hike before it gets hot and while flowers and chaparral are in bloom.

Thu Jul 02 2015

My favorite place ❤️

hiking
Fri May 22 2015

It's been a long time, but what I remember of the hike: when we first tried to find the trail to Bradley Ridge, we took a game trail by mistake til it faded! But when we found the real trail, it led us up to a ridgeline with spectacular views of the Crags & to remnants of an old lookout. The other trail leading to Heart Lake is easy to find & the view down to Castle Lake & over to Shasta & Black Butte is amazing.

hiking
Sat Nov 08 2014

This is such a beautiful hike! Castle lake is so clear and blue! I could probably see down at least 15 feet in the water! We had fun hiking around the perimeter of the lake for a while just exploring. Then we made our way up to the top, gorgeous view of Mt. Shasta and castle lake. I must have taken about 100 photos. Up at the very top there is what I believe to be called, "heart lake" more of just a pond and looks very stagnant. Wouldn't recommend swimming up there ;) . Definitely the focal point of trekking your way to the top is the amazing views! I'd recommend packing a lunch and having a picnic. One of the things I liked most about this hike was the fact that after about half way up there wasn't really one specifically marked trail, so you can pretty much take your own route up, explore what you want and it's very open so at no point was I nervous about losing my way. Definitely would recommend this hike to everyone! Simply gorgeous.

hiking
3 days ago

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hiking
26 days ago

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2 months ago

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3 months ago

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