Outbound Collective logo

Hike Crags Trail to Castle Dome

Castella, California

based on 7 reviews



5.1 miles

Elevation Gain

2135 ft

Route Type



Added by Gaby Colletta

Hike to the foot of Castle Dome, a 4,996-foot granite peak and take in views of the majestic Mount Shasta. Explore the crags and spires of this granite palace. It'll take 2-5 hrs but give yourself more time than you think because once you're up there you won't want to leave.

One of the gems in the Shasta area, Castle Crags. You can spot these dramatic granite towers from a distance and their jagged formations beckon climbers and hikers alike. Imagine a slice of the Dolomites plucked out of Italy and placed in Northern California. Crags Trail to Castle Dome winds up through the shaded Shasta-Trinity Forest with beautiful views of the mighty Mt. Shasta. Expect a bit of a workout, with over a 2000 ft elevation change. It crosses paths with the famed Pacific Crest Trail, past Indian Springs and up to a granite palace of crags and spires to explore.

From Interstate 5 take the Castella exit 724, also marked "Castle Crags State Park." Enter the park. Note there is a fee of $8. Turn right past the entrance and head towards the Campsite. Drive through the Campsite and follow signs for "Vista Point" on Vista Point Road. This will lead you up a single lane road. The road ends at a small parking lot that accommodates 20+ cars. There are bathrooms at the trailhead / parking lot.

Note: road to the trailhead does not appear on Google Maps. Here is a map of the park that shows Vista Point Road:parks.ca.gov

For those craving a preview of the sight to come, venture to the far end of the parking lot where you can follow a short .25 mile path to the Vista Point.Begin the trail up to Castle Crags at the bottom of the parking lot, just below the bathroom.

The start is fairly flat as you approach a fork in the trail. You will see a sign that points towards Indian Springs and Castle Dome. Take the left and you will immediately start switchbacking through the forest. You've got 2.7 miles up and quite a climb but the views are well worth it.

Nearing the top, you will see a split in the trail for Indian Springs. Follow Crags trail to Castle Dome towards your right. Once you reach the rock formations you will find that there are several nooks and crannies to explore. Take your time - these crevices are beautiful. The trail may get difficult to distinguish, as some offshoots lead to climbing walls. Safe bet is to continue going up. The trail will lead you through the crags and to a green patch just at the base of Castle Dome. This is the trail's end.

For those adventure-seekers, you can scramble your way up the dome. The rock formations offer sturdy hand holds and it switchbacks up the dome. You will reach the top with a bit of an adrenaline kick. The last 20 feet are the most challenging - so know your limit and what you are capable of. Many stop just short of it - as the views of the crags and lush green valleys are breathtaking from there. Regardless of where you choose to finish your hike, the climb itself will leave you with a rush of excitement and a vista will well be worth it.

Plant lovers - here's a cool thing. There are two native species of plants which are endemic to Castle Crags.

  • Castle Crags ivesia (Ivesia longibracteata)
  • Castle Crags bellflower(Campanula shetleri)

Other intriguing facts: this formation lives on the ancient trade and travel route known as the Siskiyou Trail. Some believe it to be part of the lost land of Lemuria and home to an ancient civilization that practiced peace and the harmony of connectedness. The natives believed that spirits took form to live in these rocks and cliffs. This was also the site of the 1855 Battle of Castle Crags, resulting from disharmony between Gold Rush Miners and the native Indians. Whether or not the history resonates with you, one thing is for sure - you will find an inexplicable draw to this place.

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app


Rock Climbing
Easy Parking

Hike Crags Trail to Castle Dome Reviews

This is a great review of the Castle Crags hike, but... it's nowhere near Lake Tahoe, which is about a 5 hour drive south. The nearest hubs to Castle Crags State Park are Mt. Shasta city and Redding.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Mossbrae Falls

Heart Lake Trail From Castle Lake

Hike to Heart Lake in the Klamath Mountains

Climb Mt. Shasta via Avalanche Gulch

Black Butte

Winter Summit Black Butte