Castle Valley Trail

Tahoe National Forest, California

Distance1.6mi
Elevation Gain616ft
Trailhead Elevation7,277ft
Top7,806ft
Elevation Min/Max7277/7806ft
Elevation Start/End7277/7277ft
Castle Valley Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Nevada County, California. It is within Tahoe National Forest. It is 1.6 miles long and begins at 7,277 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is three miles with a total elevation gain of 616 feet. Near the trailhead there are parking and an information map. The Castle Pass (elevation 7,881 feet) saddle can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: 14e06, Pacific Crest Trail (TRT) and Hole in the Ground.

Castle Valley Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"While the elevation gain and loss experienced along this route requires hikers to be in good physical condition, the rewards of incomparable views, picturesque lakes, vibrant wildflowers, and exquisite scenery more than make up for the extra effort. Additional cross-country routes to the summits of Basin or Castle peaks and plenty of connecting trails provide tantalizing ways to extend your visit to these lands."

"Although most of this route travels outside the proposed Castle Peak Wilderness, plenty of pleasant terrain is encountered along the way, including two picturesque meadows and an excellent view from atop Andesite Peak. Both Castle and Round meadows offer the chance to see raptors in search of prey or deer browsing the tender foliage. Throw in the Peter Grubb Hut for a bit of Tahoe Sierra history and you have the makings of a fine adventure."

"Although most of this route travels outside the proposed Castle Peak Wilderness, plenty of pleasant terrain is encountered along the way, including two picturesque meadows and an excellent view from atop Andesite Peak.

Both Castle and Round Valley meadows offer the chance to see raptors in search of prey or deer browsing the tender foliage. Throw in Peter Grubb Hut for a bit of Tahoe Sierra history, and you have the makings for a fine adventure. A shuttle option described below shortens the hike by 1.6 miles."

"Mostly flat-topped, chunky-looking Castle Peak is wild and remote country, where a snowshoeing soul can savor top-of-the-world views and spend quality hang time exploring this extensive summit. This route takes you past conifers into a broad and open valley, up to a forested pass, and then along an exposed and rocky ridge that reveals countless views of Tahoe and Donner Summit mountains. You may see cross-country skiers and dogs in the valley, but you are likely to have Castle Peak’s slopes to yourself. Only rarely will you see a snowshoer or careening snowboarder in the higher reaches. Box-shaped Castle Peak, looking like a mammoth white molar, graces the scene to the east the first half of the way, giving reason to crane your head often to size up the challenge. For more aloneness and ease of parking, do this route on a weekday."

"A climb to one of North Tahoe’s highest summits gives summiteers an expansive view of the northern Sierra, which on clear days includes distant Lassen Peak in the north and the coastal hills of California to the west.

Castle Peak and the neighboring mountains are mostly volcanic in nature, offering an abundance of interesting-looking ramparts, turrets, and “castles.” Unlike much of the Tahoe Sierra to the south, where glacier-scoured granitic rocks hold a bevy of lakes, the relatively porous volcanic rocks in this area offer relatively few lakes."

"Fittingly named Round Valley and Castle Valley undergo a major transformation when blessed with pure white snow in the winter, which usually lasts through mid-spring. What was typical and blasé in the summer becomes soft and scenic, a pleasure in the white season. The ease of the route and the nice mix of small and tall conifers, sometimes draped lovingly with powder, allows a soul to aimlessly daydream to the simple rhythm of the snowshoes. Rectangular Castle Peak, resembling a huge white molar, looms above you to the east the whole way, giving reason to crane your head often to get your view fix. Stylish Peter Grubb Hut makes for a fine destination, and you can stay overnight by contacting the Sierra Club at (530) 426-3632. This way there’s plenty of time to climb Castle Peak (Route 40) or explore the wild backcountry to the north to obtain the solitude that may be lacking on the popular trip to the hut. For more aloneness and ease of parking, do this route on a weekday."

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Trail Information

Tahoe National Forest
Nearby City
Tahoe National Forest
Parks
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
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Activity Feed

Jun 2018