Back to index Castle, Basin and Andesite Peaks hike
Trip Date:  09/09/2013

: 12.4 Miles

Vertical Gain: 2000'

Group Size: 1

Hike Rating: Easy   Moderate   Hard   Strenuous
Castle Peak Route
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Castle Basic Andesite Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 39 20.459   W 120 20.856     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 80 to the Castle Peak/Boreal Ridge Road exit.  Turn left over the freeway and head up the road to the parking coordinates listed on this page.  
In summer it is possible to use 4WD to get further up this road almost to Castle Pass, cutting a couple of miles off the trip.
Hazards of Note:   The true summit of Castle Peak requires a 30 foot climb up a sheer volcanic (basalt) formation and should not be attempted alone. Crowd Factor:   Expect to have a few hikers on the trail with you, especially on a weekend.  This is a very popular trail in both summer and winter.  Much fewer when you head over to Basin Peak.
The PCT section from Paradise Lake back to the trailhead will probably also have people on it at most times.
General Notes:
After the initial climb up to Castle Pass, head right and up toward the top of Castle Peak.  The true summit is actually the third basalt formation from the pass, and you will have to hike around the south side of the mountain to access this location.  To get to Basin Peak you head back down the north side of Castle Peak, the same way you hiked up to it, and then find the use trail that is very obvious and runs along the ridgeline between the two peaks and heads north to Basin Peak.
Past Basin Peak you can potentially drop down into Paradise Lake heading Northeast, but I went Northwest instead and found myself looking 500-600 feet down in Paradise Valley.  Not wanting to risk attempting anything like that solo I headed toward the PCT took that back to Castle Pass.  From there, I headed Southwest to the top of Andesite Peak, and then around the backside of it to pick up a dirt road/sno-mobile route that wound slowly back down to the parking area.

Castle Peak from early on the trail. Castle Peak from the trail
Minuteman Rock on the way up to the top of the peak. Minuteman Rock along the way up to the peak
Looking south toward the PCT and Squaw Valley from the peak. Looking south from the peak
Looking down a notch from near the peak. Looking down wash from near the peak
A look the trail from Castle to Basin Peaks. The trail from Castle to Basin Peaks
Steep cliffs on the way to Basin peak from Castle peak. Steep cliffs on the way to Basin
Looking south from Basin Peak to Castle Peak and the smoke in the distance. Looking south from Basin Peak
There were hundreds of ladybugs everywhere on Basin Peak. Ladybugs everywhere on Basin Peak
Looking back at Castle Peak from Basin Peak trail. Looking back at Castle Peak from Basin Peak
The first look at Paradise Valley from high above the ridge. First look at Paradise Valley
The steep drop into Paradise Valley from the lookout. Steep drop into Paradise Valley
Paradise Lake from a lookout point high above. Paradise Lake
All three peaks from the top of Andesite Peak. All three peaks
Hike route from my GPS. Hike Route