Why You Need to Experience Castle Lake in Northern California

If you’re looking for a full-day adventure during your stay with us at Railroad Park Resort, you won’t be disappointed by the Castle Lake Trail! Stretching nearly 11 miles through Siskiyou County in Northern California, this incredible journey boasts plenty of challenges for even the most experienced of hikers and awe-inspiring beauty that will leave you scooping your jaw up from the ground. Here is everything you need to know about exploring Castle Lake and how to prepare for your trip!

The Castle Lake Trail is just one of the many hiking trails that await you in Dunsmuir, CA. If you’re planning a stay with us soon, be sure to request your free copy of our Vacation Guide for a full list of our area’s top trails, parks, attractions, dining, entertainment, and much more.

More About Castle Lake in California

Castle Lake is a glacial lake nestled in the Trinity Mountains of Siskiyou County. At nearly 47-acres, this breathtaking mountain oasis is truly astounding to behold and is surrounded by a surplus of uninterrupted nature. It’s also one of the three largest lakes in the Klamath Mountains, along with Caribou Lake in the Trinity Alps and Ukonom Lake in the Marble Mountains. During the warmer months, the lake is a popular spot for a wide variety of outdoor activities including swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and rafting. When the weather turns cold, ice fishermen frequent this area as well as cross-country skiers and snowshoers looking to take advantage of the snowy trails. No matter what time of year you visit, Castle Lake is a bucket-list-worthy destination that you won’t want to skip.

The Castle Lake Trail

From the parking lot, follow the path east across Castle Lake Creek. From here, the trail will traverse south and lead hikers upward along an eastern wall above the lake. As you gain elevation, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of Castle Lake through the trees. Once you near the top of the peak, the trail will become rockier and the trees will thin out, introducing you to even more awe-inspiring views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

At the saddle above Castle Lake, you’ll be able to choose from two different routes. One leads to Castle Peak while the other begins towards another nearby body of water, Heart Lake. Obvious paths have been established so you’ll be able to easily find your way to your next chosen destination. If you choose Castle Peak, you’ll follow a thin trail through sparse trees and grassy meadows towards the top of the mountain. Should you choose Heart Lake, you’ll stay on the worn paths from the saddle and follow a short rise before descending .3-miles to the lake.

If you’re hoping to extend your journey even longer, you may also choose to embark on the trail leading to Mount Bradley. A majority of the 11-mile expedition is spent on this leg of the trail, but the stunning mountain views and challenging terrain will make the journey well worth it. Plus, you’ll encounter several of the area’s most beautiful natural features including Castle Crags, Castle Spire, the Trinity Divide, and more.

What to Bring With You

Whether you’re spending a full day on the trails or just a few hours, coming prepared is very important! For your safety and convenience, here are some things you should bring with you during your trip:

  • Map of the Area
  • Water Bottles
  • Protein-Rich Snacks
  • Sturdy Rain Jacket (even if rain is not in the forecast)
  • Insect Repellent
  • Flashlight
  • Compass or GPS
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Knife or Multitool
  • Matches
  • Quick-Dry Towel

Rest Your Feet at the Railroad Park Resort

After a full day of hiking, return to our peaceful resort for some well-deserved relaxation. During your stay with us, you’ll enjoy unique accommodations in vintage train cabooses or the peaceful campground and RV park. Our Dining Car Restaurant is also one of the most interesting eateries in Dunsmuir and provides diners with exquisite menu options in a setting that is reminiscent of railroading. It’s everything you need and more for an unforgettable escape to northern California.

Book your favorite accommodations at the Railroad Park Resort today! We look forward to welcoming you to Dunsmuir soon.

Featured Photo Credit: Kerkez/Getty Images