Castle Peak Trail is a 5.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Soda Springs, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
cross country skiing
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 I recommend hiking poles if you have them. If you have the time, you can also hike over to Andesite Peak or Basin Peak.
Really enjoyed this hike. Easy going at the beginning and gets increasingly difficult. The last push is very steep and rocky. Slipped on the loose rocks on the way down a couple of times. Hiked through packed snow about 1/3 of the time but it was sunny and warm the whole time. It took about two hours getting up, at a leisurely pace, and about half the time down.
The hike was not as challenging as I had thought it would be. It was iced up pretty good and with out shoe chains or crampons it was slick! 35 mph wind on top and 34deg at the bottom.
I think I'll go back once we have some fresh powder and shoe in when less people are around.
Good hike. Only 4 stars because if the long fire road run in. Last part is steep but not as bad as it sounds. The last scramble is a true class 3. Great views and interesting geology.
Not too bad until you get to the final haul up the peak, then it's a killer, but the view from the top makes it completely worth it!
It was an awesome hike! One heck of a haul to the top!
Constant incline, fun journey, almost perfect view (seeing 80)
Nice hike, strenuous but not too difficult. I could see several other peaks I'd like to hike next time
Great hike and work out! Trekking poles definitely help coming down as some of the rock/ dirt is slippery! It does get windy and a bit chilly on the ridge and at the top. Definitely a trail I would do again!
Caladros. Stupendous view.