Castle Peak Trail

HARD 227 reviews
#6 of 165 trails in

Castle Peak Trail is a 6 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.

DISTANCE
6.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,811 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

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
1 month ago

Great hike with amazing views.

Things to know: Take bug spray. You’ll be happy to have it in the first mile or so, before you get into fast elevation grades. Obviously, you need
water, glasses, and suntan lotion. I don’t like poles, but I’d think most people do.

The hike is 3.0-3.1 miles to the top. After the first 1.5 miles it gets much steeper with incline grades of 30-60 percent. Those don’t relent for almost the entire way to the top. At the top you have to do some very minor rock climbing to get to the top. Amazing views and feeling of accomplishment.

For those who are in very good shape it’s probably not that big of a deal. For the weekend warrior it’s a great workout but it’s not going to be easy, but you can do it!

Also, anyone who takes a 4 year old on this trail is irresponsible in my opinion. It’s way too steep to think taking a small child on the last mile
of this trial is a good idea.

1 month ago

Amazing hike! Starts off fairly mundane...but then steps it up and is very challenging but worth the pay off at the end!

hiking
1 month ago

Easy trail to the base of the mountain, but a bit of a scramble to the summit. Worth it for the views

1 month ago

Fun and challenging hike! The trailhead is located right off of I-80. Plenty of street parking. I would recommend trekking poles as the downhill descent is steep with loose rocks. Lots of interesting rock formations with spectacular views. Dog friendly!

hiking
1 month ago

This was a super fun and easy trail! We went early in the morning and it was very chilly at the top, so definitely prepare for that. At the top, you can see two ridge lines; make sure you descent to the correct ridge line it’s easy to get them mixed up! There was a little bit of snow but it was mostly melted.

There was a nice view at the top and there were lots of cool rocks and things to see all the way up. I definitely would recommend this hike! It’s a great trail for if you don’t want to drive all the way to Tahoe but want to do some good hiking!

1 month ago

Hiked 6/20/18 with my 9 & 4 year old. At the bottom mosquitos were out, but disappeared after leaving the road and starting on the trail. Wish I had brought bug spray though. Poles would definitely have helped toward the top! Windy at summit but great views. Took us 4 hours with the kids but without them could have been much faster!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike. There is a little bit of snow left and the wildflowers are still in bloom as you aapproach the summit. Poles may be helpful as you get to the top due to the loose gravel. Super windy at the top of the peak in the mornings; however, the views are amazing!

hiking
2 months ago

Climbed on 6/9/18. Trail has decent amount of water running down from the last bit of snow melt. At the second parking area ~1mi in, there’s packed snow on the trail for 1/3-1/2 mi. Pretty much clear to the summit after that.

hiking
2 months ago

6/16/18 Got to the trailhead around 8 and there were only a few other cars on a Saturday morning. More by the time we left but not crowded. Still patches of snow on the ground in some parts but nothing major. About 3 hours round trip with a stop at the summit to make coffee and eat a snack. Beautiful hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Still a good bit of snow in some parts. Make sure your boots are water proof and prepare your quads for a good work out on the last mile of the ascent to the peak.

2 months ago

Yessssum ammoooozing hike yezzz

hiking
2 months ago

classic Donner hike with a couple challenges, some steap ones though. amazing view from the East tower which is the true summit and maintains the hardware to prove it. pretty busy hike on the weekends is the only downside.

3 months ago

App keeps closing on me, the activity is snowshoeing, I went in shoes that vented and my socks were wet. There is still a lot of snow up there. There are trails on the snow made by snow motor vehicle that you can't really miss. It's really peaceful and beautiful up on the peak where you can see mountain ranges in 360°. It was cloudy so it for chilly for me. Would definitely go again when the snow melts!

3 months ago

Hiked up the peak yesterday. The snow was well packed, needed snowshoes only on our way back. Great hike and wonderful views!

snowshoeing
5 months ago

snowshoeing
6 months ago

Had a great sunny day today. Snowshoes the entire trip. I will be doing this again.

6 months ago

Super fun in snow! Went snow shoeing with my best friend today, and it was a beautiful view up at the top! Not too difficult, the steepness is pretty gradual until the end. Would love to see it in the springtime.

6 months ago

Amazing hike. Pack warm, waterproof hiking shoes and trekking poles

7 months ago

Do this hike in the summer then come back and do it in the winter, it’s so amazing to see the change in the terrain. Such an amazing hike I recommend it to everyone

9 months ago

Convienient and amazing!!

hiking
9 months ago

Castle peak cut short to one of the false summits. 1-2ft snow up past the pass. Skis/snowshoes needed after about 1.5 miles in.

hiking
9 months ago

Lots or snow and pretty tough incline to the summit. But great views!

hiking
10 months ago

Breathtaking in both senses. Very well worth the time and energy. I may have taken a hundred photos along this trail. Although I approached Castle Pass from the rest area.

hiking
10 months ago

Great workout and amazing views but a bit slippery.

10 months ago

Wonderful hike with views 360 degrees
Terrain was rocky and scree in places was slippery but worth the effort

10 months ago

Wonderful trail, please stay on he trail. Be sure to make for an earily accent to avoid possible afternoon weather, able to get to summit, it is the last turret!

hiking
11 months ago

Amazing views and a great workout.

hiking
11 months ago

Incredible panoramic view from the summit. Well worth the journey which is almost entirely uphill. The trail is clearly visible and easy to navigate. Scaling the outcroppings at the summit should be done only with great caution and experience.

hiking
11 months ago

Great hike but steep in places. Bring trekking poles.

hiking
11 months ago

Mostly dirt trail with a gradual incline that leads to steep incline towards the top where trail turns to shale, gravel and large rocky steps. Bring poles or grab a walking stick. Area is exposed to sun and wind, bring layers and sunscreen. Nice hike with gorgeous views.

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