Castle Peak Trail is a 9.7 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Soda Springs, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, snowshoeing, and backpacking and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.7 km Elevation Gain: 552 m Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

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 hiking poles can be useful. If you have the time, you can also hike over to Andesite Peak or Basin Peak.

hiking
icy
snow
1 day ago

Thanks for tips - start with day boots - turn around first mile and changed to snow boots - plenty of snow. Once at the summit all dry. Perfect watcher - clear day and cool tempatures.

recorded Castle Peak Trail

hiking
snow
7 days ago

Plenty of snow to throw around in late May.

hiking
icy
scramble
snow
7 days ago

hiking
snow
7 days ago

Fun hike. Not super challenging but easy to access from the highway. It was pretty much covered in snow the entire way. Stay left at the beginning when it forks

hiking
snow
8 days ago

Trail was pretty easy to follow. About 85% covered in snow and does get slushy later in the day, good shoes will help. No snow at the peak. First 2 miles were easy and became steep about a mile and half away from the summit.

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
scramble
8 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

Most of the trail is snow covered. Easy to follow. Minimal ice towards the summit

hiking
snow
10 days ago

Great Views and awesome workout. Trail is pretty much all snow still, but packed out. Highly recommend!

hiking
icy
rocky
snow
15 days ago

I went on this hike on 05/16. 80% of the trail is covered in snow. Snow shoes can help but I did see a lot of people doing it without them. The last part of the trail is steep and very windy with cold and dry air. Prepare accordingly. The views are stunning. It’s rare to see such a snow covered trail in May. Highly recommended.

hiking
icy
snow
16 days ago

We hiked this trail on 5/15/20. It was absolutely beautiful with the fresh snow. We were not expecting snow but with our sturdy boots and poles, we made it to the summit. The last 800 ft or so was a scramble mostly on all fours. It took us much longer than expected for a 6 mile hike. 3 hours up and 2 hours down. Amazing views on the summit.

hiking
17 days ago

Hike yesterday. I didn't know there would still be lots of of snow. If you go really early you might make it to the peak without crampons or snow shows. We were only with our hiking boots and and the snow started melting and getting slippery by mid day so we did not reach the peak. Still a beautiful hike nevertheless.

21 days ago

Hiked it today, great views!!! Snowshoes and crampons not needed anymore.

hiking
26 days ago

Made it to the top w/o snowshoes or poles. I would advise both if you have them. Great views and worth the hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Be sure to bring pickax and crampons gets really icy the last 400 feet freaking awesome

hiking
2 months ago

Summited on 3/7/2020 with just hiking boots and poles. Went into the hike not expecting to summit because we did not have snowshoes or microspikes. However, when we were near the peak, we realized if we were very careful, that we actually could safely summit and were pleasantly surprised we could go the whole way up because we had not planned to do so. I would caution that it is still slick and to be very careful summiting at this point with just boots and poles. We felt safe but are both very experienced hikers. Of course it was a fantastic hike and would recommend even if you can’t get up all the way.

hiking
snow
3 months ago

Attempted this trail 2/28/20 with hiking shoes only, and made it 3/4 of the way up to andesite ridge. I couldn’t complete the rest of the hike without snow shoes or micro spikes as it got too steep with the snow. Excellent hike, and beautiful views even if you don’t make it to the top. Will go again during the summer.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked / snowshoed on 2/9/20 up to Castle Peak, out to Peter Grubb hut, and out and around Andesite to get back. The trail to Peter Grubb is actually so thoroughly tracked that it's easier to just hike it--no shoeshoes / skis needed.

hiking
icy
snow
3 months ago

hiking
icy
snow
4 months ago

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