DIRECTIONS & WHERE TO MEET:
To the Castle Peak hike staging area: Take the Boreal/Castle Peak exit from I-80 at Donner Summit. Go east along the frontage road on the north side of the freeway. Park where the pavement ends. We will meet at the trail staging area which is located where the paved road ends.
NOTE: This hike as well as Sunday's hike is considered very difficult due to the steepness, rugged terrian and elevation with elevation gains. You must be able to keep up with the group. You MUST bring plenty of water, snacks and your own first aid supplies.
With its three turrets reaching above the landscape, Castle Peak (elevation 9,103) is one of the icons of Donner Summit.
Visible and easily accessible from nearby Interstate 80, the Castle Peak area offers miles of hiking and biking trails and back country skiing opportunities. The area is accessible via the north side of Interstate 80 at the Castle Peak exit along a rugged dirt road that also provides access to Andesite Peak and the popular mountain bike trail, Hole-in-the-Ground. Trails are often under snow until the beginning of July. Once exposed, the trails cross over slabs of glaciated granite and pass wildflower lined streams. Multiple trails offer hikes for all skill levels.
To summit Castle Peak, take the Boreal/Castle Peak exit from I-80 at Donner Summit. Go east along the frontage road on the north side of the freeway. Park where the pavement ends. From the pavement end, follow the dirt road about ¼ mile to the south end of Castle Valley. Bear left and up, keeping Castle Valley on your right. At about a mile from the end of pavement the road forks; take the left, upward branch. About ½ mile further, you will see signs for the Hole-in-the-Ground (mountain biking) Trail on the left. The road ends at the base of Castle Pass. Climb 200 vertical feet to Castle Pass, where the trail on your right makes an obvious ascent to the top of the peak. From here there are two options: Head east to the final leg of the Castle Peak hike which, while not technical, is quite steep with loose volcanic rubble. Hikers who summit Castle Peak are rewarded with panoramic views that include most of the Lake Tahoe peaks, Donner Lake, Sierra Buttes, and (on a clear day) Mount Lassen.
Vertical Gain or Loss: 1,303 to summit Castle Peak
Trail Distance: 3 miles one way to Castle Peak from Castle Peak trailhead parking area;