Castle Lake

Length: 1.0 mile round trip

High Point: 5450 feet

Elevation Gain: negligible

Difficulty: easy to moderate, potentially some scrambling on and over rocks

When to Hike: mid-May to late October, depending on snow cover

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

Special Features: cool and clear waters for summer swimming; steep cliffs on the south shore

Directions to the Trailhead: Reach the Central Mount Shasta exit off I-5. Head west and then south on South Old Stage Road and continue south on W. A. Barr Road. After 2.6 miles, cross the dam at Lake Siskiyou and then turn left .2 mile farther. Travel the paved road 7.1 miles to the parking area bordering Castle Lake.

Description and Comments: First read the informative signboards on the south edge of the lake by the parking lot. They examine Castle Lake’s natural history and discuss how scientists study the lake. The short trail leaves from the northeast end of the parking lot (on the right just past the restroom as you drive in). It heads along the west shore of the lake and allows you several opportunities to reach the water’s edge for a refreshing swim or a contemplative sit. See separate entries for hiking to Heart Lake and to Mount Bradley Ridge.

Maps: USFS Castle Crags Wilderness.