Share:

Castle Crags Dome Hike

Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, California

Start Exploring
Castle Crags Dome Hike

Share:

Advertisement
  • Castle Crags and the Dome from Vista Point.- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Beginning of Castle Crags Dome Hike.- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • View of Castle Crags from the trail.- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens).- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Short detour trail to Indian Springs.- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • View of the dome and Mount Shasta (14,179').- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Rock penstemon (Penstemon rupicola).- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • View east from Castle Crags Dome Hike.- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • View south from Castle Crags Dome Hike.- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Castle Crags Dome.- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • View west from the base of the Dome.- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Mount Shasta (14,179').- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Mount Shasta (14,179').- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • View west from the base of the Dome.- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Mount Shasta (14,179') and Castle Crags Dome.- Castle Crags Dome Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Castle Crags Dome Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Exposed granite outcroppings. Mount Shasta views. Freshwater spring.
Cons: 
Steep trail.
Advertisement
Region:
Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, CA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,120.00 ft (646.18 m)
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.20 mi (8.37 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,610.00 ft (795.53 m)
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Just southwest of Mount Shasta and soaring high above the Upper Sacramento River is a dense cluster of exposed granite spires and domes simply known as Castle Crags.

Reminiscent of the towering granite of Yosemite National Park farther to the south, Castle Crags was formed in a fashion and timeline similar to much of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Much older than the Cascade Volcanic Arc, Castle Crags is an intrusion* that formed roughly 100 million years ago by the subduction of the Farallon Plate as it passed under the North American Plate.  Over time the granite intrusions exfoliate large convex slabs, resulting in rounded forms like Castle Crags Dome (or Yosemite's Half Dome).

The trailhead for Castle Crags Dome is very accessible from I-5, but because the trail climbs 2,100 feet in 2.5 miles, the hike should be considered challenging.

Before departing up the Crags Trail, be sure to take in the view of the spires and park from Vista Point on the eastern end of the parking lot.  The well-maintained trail up to the Dome travels though a fairly dense forest of ponderosa pine, incense cedar, and Douglas fir before views of the Dome and other outcroppings begin to appear.  If you are hiking during the summer months, fill your water bottle at the Indian Spring where crystal clear and clean water flows from the mountain.  Once you reach the top the trail disappears into a sea of green manzanita bushes, but numerous paths can be found by scrambling across and around any one of the many granite bodies of rock.  Note that scrambling to the top of the Dome is possible without technical gear, but it certainly isn't for those who fear heights and definitely should not be attempted when conditions are wet and the rock is slippery.

*Igneous rock forms in one of two ways: 'extrusion,' such as a volcanic eruption above the earth surface, or 'intrusion,' in which rock solidifies below the earth's surface and is slowly pushed upward.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(30 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
84 Members
Who's Done It
38 Members
Submission by
Team
1266 Adventures Explored
1264 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info