Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sporty Sunday: Hiking Castle Pass

The hike to Castle Pass, along the Pacific Crest Trail, just gets you started on the path to explorations in the Castle Peak area. But even as a simple, 6.72-mile out and back, it’s a lovely walk through glacier-scraped granite, soaring conifers, and flower-filled meadows (in season, of course). From Castle Pass, the views are outstanding. November timing brings chilly temps and the chance of ice and snow, but it also discourages other hikers from this easily-accessible trail, leaving a wilderness experience for the intrepid.

Top Trails directs the hiker to the Boreal-Pacific Crest Trail parking area to begin the hike, but a permit is required November 1st to May 30th. A permit costs only $25, but the fine is $94.50. Those without a permit can chance parking at the east or west bound rest areas, as the trail wraps around both. (Starting at the west bound rest stop cuts off a little more than a mile from the hike.)

We started at the west bound parking area and made it to the pass in an hour. With plenty of energy to spare, we headed for Castle Peak (pictured in the fourth photo). However, strong winds and occasional icy patches discouraged me from going further than the little peak on the left. We’ll have to try again in the summer.

We will definitely be back to this area. I’ve previously hiked a couple of other trails, starting at the Boreal-PCT lot, and enjoyed the scenery and ease of access. None of my hiking books adequately cover the Tahoe National Forest trails along I-80, so I ordered a map for explorations next year!

Source: Evans, Stephen L. "Pacific Crest Trail: Castle Peak Area." Top Trails Sacramento. 4th ed. Birmingham: Wilderness, 2012. Print.

Length: 6.72 miles

Water: The trail to Castle Pass skirts a few small lakes, small streams, and the significant Castle Creek. The lakes and Castle Creek still had water in November, despite low precipitation.

Use: Heavy in the spring, summer, and winter (snowshoeing and cross country skiiing are popular here). Light usage in late fall.

Differences from published description: A Sno-Park pass is required to park in the trail lot November 1st to May 30th..

Jasper’s rating: 4 paws out of 5.

Sporty Sunday is a recurring feature in which I share my fitness routine and offer and solicit advice. While this content might seem a little out of place in an outfit diary, a healthy, strong body is the foundation of my wardrobe. I hope to inspire my readers to be fit as well as stylish!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed so I really appreciated seeing your photos from the PCT.