Castle Peak Trail is a 6 mile 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.

Length6.0 miElevation gain1,811 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashBackpackingHikingNature tripsSnowshoeingForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeRockyScrambleSnow
Description
Waypoints (6)
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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.

Bring sunscreen and be prepared for any weather. I've also once encountered mosquitoes on the hike in the lower section. I'd also recommend hiking poles for the steep rocky terrain.

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Reviews (877)
Photos (1,386)
Activities (825)
Completed (1,847)
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Stacie Vu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 6, 2021
SnowshoeingSnow

I went snowshoeing with my husky on Sunday and we loved this trail. It’s a gradual incline. There were a lot of xc skiers, but as we climbed higher, we saw less of them. Only needed a fleece since it’s been super warm around <60°F Parking was a little tricky, since that road is still snowy. We parked across the highway next to the Boreal. I saw a sign requiring sno-park passes until end of May, but we took our chances.

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Mitchell Probst
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 27, 2021
Hiking

great snow trail at the end of March. Very well groomed such that we didn't even need our snowshoes for the first mile on the trail

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keung h
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 14, 2021
Hiking
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Adam Green
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SnowshoeingGreat!Snow

A little wind swept in spots , but overall beautiful

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Dan Nicholson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 28, 2021
Hiking

Awesome bit very crowded trail. Didn’t quite make it to the peak, really didn’t want to deal with the top wind. Still had a blast with my dog. I will make the summit some time this summer to make up for not doing today.

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Taesung Park
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 27, 2021
HikingGreat!

Absolutely beautiful, and you get the feeling of being at the top of Himalaya after only 2 hours of snowshoeing. I went on friday, and the trail is busy with cross country skiers. We couldnt find parking at the trailhead, so we parked at the rest area of I80 west nearby, and followed the Pacific Crest Trail to join this trail.

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Zina Garcia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 26, 2021
Hiking

Beautiful views! Little icy going up and windy too. Will do it again on a warmer day. Didn’t bag the peak but came close!

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Paul Akins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 21, 2021
Snowshoeing

We went with a friend who had been exploring this area for 50 years in many different conditions. After a small storm had moved through, we took the less crowded southern route. Back country experience and respect for conditions, terrain, and avalanche risk as always must be top priorities. Privileged to learn and share this experience with friends who know the mountain so well.

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Phil Mansfield
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Hiking
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Fiorella Malpartida
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 14, 2021
SnowshoeingOff trailSnow

Great place to snowshoe! We went on a cloudy day after heavy snow days before so it was a bit more challenging reaching the peak since it was difficult to follow the trail in the last .4mi. Did not make it to the top but got pretty close, and was still a beautiful hike & workout! Enjoy

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Sam Rolph
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 8, 2021
Snowshoeing

Decided to divert away from the Castle Peak trail close to the summit to take a slightly less steep route -- I need better snowhoes

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Arun Sood
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 7, 2021
Hiking

Great snowshoe! Didn’t make it to the top, but really enjoyed the views.

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Janine Quest For You Podcast
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 6, 2021
Snowshoeing

Snowshoe trip. Excellent day.

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John Morrison
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 1, 2021
SnowshoeingGreat!Snow

The trail up to Castle Pass and beyond is in excellent condition right now for skis and snowshoes, and even firm enough that boots (w/microspikes recommended) might be adequate. Off the trail, the powder is soft and deep. From the pass we snowshoed up the Castle ridge but stopped short of the peak due to howling winds and whiteout conditions on the summit. This area can get very busy, particularly weekends, but on Monday we met only a few groups and solos—-mostly skiers.

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Yenvan Sabrina Ha
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 1, 2021
Hiking
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Shakir Burhani
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 31, 2021
Hiking

great snowshoe hike. trail is well worn and easy to follow up to, and a little beyond, andesite ridge. after that you will basically have to blaze your own trail. on the face heading up to the peak it gets really windy obviously, otherwise conditions were pretty good. be safe and know when to turn back.

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Rebecca Rogers
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Hiking
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Ashley Butera
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Hiking

Good for snow shoeing but icy.

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Barry Timko
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 18, 2021
HikingIcy

Icey going at Castle Pass right before the ridge.

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Doug Larson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 17, 2021
SnowshoeingGreat!Icy

Great snowshoeing, but a little icy toward the top.

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Tammy Sanders and Harlan White
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 3, 2021
SnowshoeingGreat!
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Yosemite Slam
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 1, 2021
SnowshoeingGreat!

Snow conditions were great all the way up. A lot of snow has blown off the ridge and top at Castle Peak. We only made it to the first set of towers, not the complete top. Lots of tracks to follow, and people out enjoying the New Year!

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Brad Wong
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 30, 2020
SnowshoeingGreat!

Clearly marked trail, great for snowshoeing and touring. Getting up to the ridge is challenging, and getting up to the peak is steep but so rewarding! Beautiful scenery and views.

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AllTrails User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 28, 2020
Snowshoeing

Excellent trail for snowshoeing, cross country or back country skiing. We went around 10 AM after a foot of fresh snow and the trail was already well marked by people ahead of us. We made it up to Castle Ridge just before the hut. The trail is as described, a steady up hill climb with elevation gain of about 1000 feet. We did not go all the way to the peak but stopped on the ridge. We did buy the five dollar snow park parking pass and we’re lucky enough to get a spot just before 10 AM. I wouldn’t show up any later than that if you want to park without getting a ticket. On our way back to the parking lot we saw at least 50 cars already ticketed for illegal parking.

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Arun Sood
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 23, 2020
SnowshoeingGreat!IcyRockyScrambleSnow

This was a stunning and enjoyable snowshoe up to the top. The summit push was very icy and only recommended for experienced hikers, but the views are fantastic. You certainly don't need to make it to the top to enjoy the sweeping views.

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