You are here

Trail difficulty
Elevation Gain
870.00 ft (265.18 m)
Trail type
6.00 mi (9.66 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Castle Loop is a mostly easy 6 mile ride on dirt road past old mining ruins with wide views across the valley to a steady and occasionally steep climb before a final drop back into the historic town.

Accessed via a signed dirt road at the northern end of downtown Austin, the course follows graded dirt forest roads along the lower front of the Toiyabe Range as they wrap past historic Stokes Castle, an architectural anomaly standing lookout over the valley below. The majority of the few vehicles that explore Austin's surroundings stop here, likely leaving the rest of the trail mostly empty of anyone else. Beyond Stokes Castle, the road maintains an even grade as it passes by some mining ruins and structures, eventually coming to an intersection of forest roads. The path merges with Forest Road 43241, as it passes more mining remains and skirts Fandango Hill, begining a steady climb alongside a seasonal stream in Marshall Canyon.

Aspen groves saw in upper pockets, marking the presence of springs, before the trail reaches the peak, at 7260'. From here, it's a short bomb down dirt double track to a 7 way intersection of dirt roads at a cattle gate. Beyond the gate, riders can make a short steep descent back into Austin, or opt for an immediate right turn, which follows a double track downhill before eventually hitting Highway 50 just above Bert T Gandolfo Park.

The Castle Loop is scenic, and generally easy with some moderate climbing. At 6 miles, it's a great way to get in a ride if passing through town, or can be used to access a number of dirt roads that veer deeper into the Toiyabe Mountains.

Bert T Gandolfo Park makes an easy place to park and start the ride, leaving a 300 foot drop to the dirt road. There are bathrooms and water available inside the park. There are also bathrooms and water available at the Austin Visitor Center building at 71 Lincoln Highway in town. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Street Parking

Open Year-round



Scenic route. Graded track.

Pets allowed


Trailhead Elevation

6,720.00 ft (2,048.26 m)

Highest point

7,260.00 ft (2,212.85 m)


Flushing toilets
Historically significant
Big vistas
Potable water

Typically multi-day


Suitable for

Motorized vehicles

Route Characteristics



Nearby Lodging + Camping


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.