Castle Peak is a craggy peak that looks down on Donner Pass. The palisades flanking the southern perimiter make it resemble a castle. From the top, the hiker looks down in every direction. It is a place of great drama and sudden weather changes. Be defensive carrying a warm jacket and water. We've encountered a sudden drop in temperature at the ridge and been dangerously chilled. On another occasion, we were caught in a sudden thunderstorm with lightning strikes nearby.
Just off of Interstate 80 across from Boreal Ridge. Take Route 89 North to Truckee and Interstate 80 West toward Sacramento. Take the Boreal Ridge/Castle Peak exit and turn right toward the North. Drive up to the trailhead.
Distance and Difficulty
The trail offers good footing, but it is a sustained ascent (1300ft). Hiking poles are recommended. It's about an hour hike to the peak. The Pacific Crest Trail runs along the ridge. You can make a loop by heading North along the ridge to Basin Peak. From Basin Peak, you'll find a trail heading roughly West down the mountain to the meadow below. Hike South across the meadow back to the trailhead.