Share:

Castle Lake Overlook

Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, California

Start Exploring
Castle Lake Overlook

Share:

Advertisement
  • Looking at Castle Lake from the lower overlook with Mount Shasta in the distance.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • Black Butte as seen from the Castle Lake Overlook.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • View from the top.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • Mount Shasta as seen from the Castle Lake Overlook.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • Looking at the overlook from the saddle.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • Heart Lake and the overlook as seen from the Heart Lake Trail.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • The trail after you pass Heart Lake on your left.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • Campsite between Heart Lake and the overlook.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • The small meadow past Heart Lake is perfect for tent sites. - Castle Lake Overlook
  • Quick climb after the meadows toward the viewpoint.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • Last hump to the top of the overlook.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • Looking southwest from the overlook.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • The top of the trail leads through small and low brush.- Castle Lake Overlook
  • Looking down at Castle Lake.- Castle Lake Overlook
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Amazing views. Option to camp and swim. Surrounding adventures.
Cons: 
Trail from Castle Lake to Heart Lake can be tricky.
Advertisement
Region:
Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
700.00 ft (213.36 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.60 mi (4.18 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,452.00 ft (1,661.77 m)
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Castle Lake Overlook is perhaps one of the best hike-to views in Siskyou Mountains as it offers a great perspective of Mount Shasta and Black Butte, and visitors can also enjoy swims in Castle Lake or Heart Lake.

Directly from the overlook you will see Black Butte rising from the earth, only to be trumped by the massive Mount Shasta right behind it to the northeast. The top has enough area to sit around, and the more adventurous may choose to look over the edge. Below the overlook, the entire Castle Lake is visible. The overlook is rather rocky, with visual evidence of glacial scoring in the rock-bed across the entire trail system. The area itself was carved out by a glacier over 10,000 years ago. 

Starting from the Castle Lake Picnic Area, the trail is self explanatory. The first half mile is the toughest area on the legs, as it is more vertical, but it is by no means strenuous. This part of the trail itself is rather soft until you level out and reach the saddle at 0.6 miles. From there the trail can get confusing, as it cobwebs up the mountain side in various (wrong) directions. Do not hike directly to the overlook, as you will end up bushwhacking your way out. Instead, keep left as the trail will take you to the easternmost side of Heart Lake. The trail to just Heart Lake is a mile long, with only 575 feet of ascent. Free dispersed camping on Forest Service land is available at Heart Lake and just past the lake on the way to the overlook.

After passing Heart Lake, continue west along the mountainside. The beginning of the overlook is only 0.3 miles away after leaving Heart Lake. After passing through a small meadow you will reach a skinny trail that climbs through scree and brush before reaching a small cliffside clearing. Another skinny trail will take you higher to the peak of the overlook; there is less room for standing or sitting, there is a fantastic 360-degree view.

The hike is short and easy enough that one can safely descend after sunset. Make sure to jump in Heart Lake during the summer, as the shallow body of water will warm with the weather.

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

(29 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
23 Members
Who's Done It
8 Members
Submission by
Contributor
26 Adventures Explored
23 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