Leg Day at Castle Crags Dome

HikeSnobs rate this: 3.5thumb

Location:

Visited: November 29, 2015

Description: A incline hike to a non-castle…… so don’t get mad when you don’t find a castle.

Hours: Sunrise to sunset, self registration required ($8)

Length: 5.4 miles roundtrip

Elevation: 2,135 feet

Duration: ~4 hours

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Terrain: Maintained dirt trail and then rocky

Wildlife: Coyotes, deer, snakes, rabbits, rattlesnakes, mountain lions

Pets: No dogs allowed

Parking: Lot (41.160509, -122.329507)

Best time to go: Anytime. It might look cooler on snowy or foggy days though

Bring: Camera, water, snack


It was the last day of our roadtrip, we started bright and early (as always) to attack Castle Crags Dome. Taco’s windshield was completely frosted over with a fresh layer of thin ice. Being the resourceful HikeSnobs that we are, Linda found a way to scrape off all the ice with our motel key card. We could not wait to get out of this freezing weather!

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After removing off all the annoying ice, we made it to Castle Crags State Park and followed the signs to the vista point parking lot. We layered up, packed a backpack and headed toward the Castle Dome trail entrance. You will see the trailhead sign on the left side, right before parking in the lot.

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The trail starts off pretty flat but we knew it wouldn’t last long. About five minutes in, we reached the beginning of the dreaded, continuous uphill climb.

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We definitely felt our thighs getting a great workout after all the easy waterfall hikes. We needed a Leg Day anyways…….

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Luckily for us, the first half of the trail is surrounded by a forest of tall pines giving us plenty of shade. A mile and a half into the hike, the trail will begin to open up. The smooth dirt trail becomes a bit more rocky, we knew we should be getting closer to the top… but not close enough!

When hiking the rocky portion of the trail, there are a few forks on the trail so be sure to check for actual trails before attempting to hike farther on a non-trail. The trail is clear and shouldn’t require any scrambling. Be careful on some parts of the rocky hike though, it can get pretty narrow.

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Thighs burning, sweat dripping, our minds screaming whyyyyyy?!, after another mile in, we eventually reached Split rock. Alright, now we knew we should almost be there. After a short break here, our spirits lifted a bit and gave us the motivation to continue forward.

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Just 15 more minutes and we made it! BEAUTIFUL, just beautiful. If there were  a waterfall, it would’ve definitely deserved 4 thumbs up. Are we a little bias? Maybe…… 😉

Alice enjoyed the view so much, she even decided to share with the mountains what her mama gave her.

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Feeling so amazing after making it to the top, HikeSnobs rewarded themselves with a delicious krabby patty. Although it was a gummy krabby patty and we had to split it, it was still satisfying.

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YUM!

After spending as much time as we could at the top, we decided to make the climb back down. We even had enough energy to run a majority of trail back to our car. As we took a moment to rest, we could feel our thighs aching from the intense climb. After a waterfall weekend, a 2000+ elevation climb was just the workout we needed to complete our Thanksgiving trip.


@HikeSnobs Tips:

  • Be careful when driving to the parking lot, some parts of the road can only fit one car on a two way road.
  • Wear layers! We were sweating from this hike and had to strip down a bit even though the weather was cold.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Leave us a message below!

10 thoughts on “Leg Day at Castle Crags Dome

  1. This is a Northern California favorite. Some will “hike” the dome to its top. Not me. I get slightly anxious hanging onto the side of a granite slab.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely views and great workout! Reminds me of my younger days hiking in Shenandoah National Park. Lots of steep trails there!

    Like

  3. Pingback: Mossbrae Falls

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