Castle Lake to Heart Lake

Trail Highlights

Trailhead locationCastle Lake parking, 10 miles SW Mt Shasta City
Length2.2 miles (round trip)
Elevation gain / max600′ / 6,050′
When to goMay – Nov (trail), Year round (snow)

This is one of the premier hikes in the Mount Shasta region, giving large rewards for a modest effort.  The climb to peaceful Heart Lake opens views to Black Butte, Mount Shasta, Mount McLoughlin and the surrounding country.

Trail Map

Other Maps

Printable CalTopo PDF

CalTopo interactive map

AllTrails: Heart Lake Trail from Castle Lake

Trail Details

Starting from the Castle Lake parking lot, head southeast along the trail, across a small drainage stream.  In the spring, this delta may require some careful crossing.

Follow the largely un-signed trail up a moderate incline along Castle Lake’s eastern shore.  You start to quickly gain height and some perfect lake views open up, continuing .7 mi and gaining most of the climb. Conservation of this ecosystem is vital, and this trail is extremely popular – please help by staying on the most heavily used trail at all times.  If it is green don’t tread there.

The trail splits in places, follow the most-established trail to a saddle 100 feet before a small pond. Go right at the saddle and follow an unsigned trail southerly and then westerly for a half-mile to reach Heart Lake.

The view from this point is spectacular – Mount Shasta, Black Butte, the Eddys and Mt McLoughlin stand large, sentinels of the region. A short walk west of the lake reveals a couple tiny ponds and a campsite. Agile hikers in good shape can head southeasterly up to top of the ridge for world-class views of the surrounding topography.

Controlling Agencies: 
Wilderness Land Trust
The Wilderness Trust currently holds the title to Section 19, which most of this trail passes over.  Please support their efforts to preserve this land and get it added to the National Forest 

Mount Shasta Ranger Station,
Shasta-Trinity National Forest,
204 West Alma, Mount Shasta, CA 96067
(530) 926-4511

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead is accessed from Castle Lake parking lot. In winter the road does get snow, check the Mt Shasta Avalanche Center and USFS road conditions.

Support MSTA

MSTA develops and maintains trails in the Mount Shasta area, and advocates for hiking, biking and equestrian access. We are a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and count on your support. Please consider giving back to your trails!