The previous post was dedicated to WOLOing in Tahoe, but it would be remiss not to mention our amazing hike to Castle Dome in northern CA, which was also a highlight of our August 2016 mini-honeymoon.
Located just off of Interstate 5 between Castella and Dunsmuir, CA, Castle Crags State Park is home to the majestic Castle Crags, 6,000-feet tall granite spires that are more than 170 million years old. The Crags sit on the northwestern edge of the state park, and with just a quarter-mile stroll from the Vista Point parking area, you can see dramatic views of the beautiful, craggy landscape. We had taken the Vista Point Trail on a previous trip to Castle Crags SP, and while the view was gorgeous, it left us wanting more. On our return visit in August, we decided to make the 3 hour round-trip hike on the Crags Trail, which led us to the base of Castle Dome. When we got to the end of the trail, we proceeded another 50-100 feet up the crags. All alone on top of the world, we cracked open a few Sierra Nevada brews, sat back and gazed out at Mount Shasta in all of her glory.
Generally speaking, we’re a one and done kind of crew, primarily because there are just so many vistas, canyons, peaks, and beaches to see, but this one is worth going back. The trail crosses the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), offers amazing views, including baby rattlesnakes (if you’re lucky), and at the base of the dome, some deadly (if you make the wrong move) cliff-side seating. It gets the blood pumping, but it’s gradual and gentle on the joints, and the views are stunning, especially if you find your own path once you get to the top.
If you’re in northern CA, make time for this; if you’re traveling through northern CA, make time for this; if you’re cruising I-5 in a rush to get to OR or WA, grab a few beers at the package store and bring them to the top! This hike is WOLOtude approved and recommended, and you will not be disappointed. In fact, you’ll never forget it!
Inside tip: While you’re in the area, check out Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, just west of Redding, CA, for more adventuring opportunities. We opted for kayaking on a sunny afternoon, but there’s always hiking, camping, fishing, picnicking…you name it!
Next stop: The Florida Keys and Everglades National Park