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Hike to Castle Dome & Stay in Dunsmuir, CA

When I lived in Siskiyou full-time, hiking to Castle Dome in early November was an annual tradition. We started the tradition to celebrate my dad’s life. He passed away in 2012, and he loved going on weekend hiking excursions—especially in Siskiyou. We decided that hiking to Castle Dome would be fun, and the perfect way to honor his memory.

Hiking to Castle Dome and back via the Castle Dome Trail is roughly 6 miles roundtrip, with an elevation gain of 2,200 feet. It’s a climb, but the stunning views of the Crags and Mt. Shasta are worth all the walking. For example, Southern Oregon Magazine describes the Crags as a “mini Yosemite,” and “Northern California’s most beautiful and awe inspiring secret.” Unlike most hype, the Crags live up to this lofty portrayal.

Plus, the park and trails are not overly crowded, and that makes the experience even better. According to California Department of Parks and Recreation, Castle Crags State Park only had 78,000 visitors in 2015 compared to more than 4 million visitors to Yosemite National Park in 2015! If you’re looking for solitude and gorgeous views, Castle Crags is a fantastic option.

Although the hike to Castle Dome is steep, my Mom—who is in her late sixties—hiked to the dome with us, and she loved the experience; especially eating lunch on the trail, taking photos of all the views, and having dinner in Dunsmuir at the end of the day.

Our annual tradition continues to be a memorable and playful way to celebrate my dad’s life.

Happy hiking!

PRO-TIPS:

—Lodging: Pair your adventure at Castle Crags State Park with a weekend stay in Dunsmuir. The park is only six miles south of Dunsmuir, and there are a variety of lodging accommodations like the new and beautiful Mossbrae Hotel or the fun train themed Rail Road Park Resort that has an awesome view of the Crags.

—Good Eats: Dunsmuir is a small town, with an exciting food scene. Some of my favorite places to eat delicious meals include The WheelhouseThe Dough HookCornerstone CafeCafe Maddalena, and Dunsmuir Brewery Works. All of the restaurants are within walking distance of one another, too.

Castle Crags State Park is open year-round. Self-registration is required at the park for camping and day use, so bring cash with you. Camping fees are $25 per night and day use fees are $8 per vehicle. Senior discounts are also available. For additional details, check out the park’s website.

—Hiking to Castle Dome. When you drive into the park, follow the signs to the Castle Dome Trailhead. You’ll drive past campsites, and up a windy one lane road. At the end of the road, you’ll find a parking area with restrooms, picnic tables, and the beginning of the trail.

If you’re hiking to Castle Dome, start early in the morning. It will give you time to take breaks, photos, and savor the fantastic views of the Crags, Mt. Shasta, and more. And don’t forget to bring water, snacks, and lunch to eat on the trail. The hike’s elevation gain will make you hungry and thirsty.

Not in the mood for a steep climb? That’s okay. Picnicking, fishing options, and gentler trails are available at the park.

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When I lived in Siskiyou full-time, hiking to Castle Dome in early November was an annual tradition. We started the tradition to celebrate my dad’s life. He passed away in 2012, and he loved going on weekend hiking excursions—especially in Siskiyou. We decided that hiking to Castle Dome would be fun, and the perfect way to honor his memory.

Hiking to Castle Dome and back via the Castle Dome Trail is roughly 6 miles roundtrip, with an elevation gain of 2,200 feet. It’s a climb, but the stunning views of the Crags and Mt. Shasta are worth all the walking. For example, Southern Oregon Magazine describes the Crags as a “mini Yosemite,” and “Northern California’s most beautiful and awe inspiring secret.” Unlike most hype, the Crags live up to this lofty portrayal.

Plus, the park and trails are not overly crowded, and that makes the experience even better. According to California Department of Parks and Recreation, Castle Crags State Park only had 78,000 visitors in 2015 compared to more than 4 million visitors to Yosemite National Park in 2015! If you’re looking for solitude and gorgeous views, Castle Crags is a fantastic option.

Although the hike to Castle Dome is steep, my Mom—who is in her late sixties—hiked to the dome with us, and she loved the experience; especially eating lunch on the trail, taking photos of all the views, and having dinner in Dunsmuir at the end of the day.

Our annual tradition continues to be a memorable and playful way to celebrate my dad’s life.

Happy hiking!

PRO-TIPS:

—Lodging: Pair your adventure at Castle Crags State Park with a weekend stay in Dunsmuir. The park is only six miles south of Dunsmuir, and there are a variety of lodging accommodations like the new and beautiful Mossbrae Hotel or the fun train themed Rail Road Park Resort that has an awesome view of the Crags.

—Good Eats: Dunsmuir is a small town, with an exciting food scene. Some of my favorite places to eat delicious meals include The WheelhouseThe Dough HookCornerstone CafeCafe Maddalena, and Dunsmuir Brewery Works. All of the restaurants are within walking distance of one another, too.

Castle Crags State Park is open year-round. Self-registration is required at the park for camping and day use, so bring cash with you. Camping fees are $25 per night and day use fees are $8 per vehicle. Senior discounts are also available. For additional details, check out the park’s website.

—Hiking to Castle Dome. When you drive into the park, follow the signs to the Castle Dome Trailhead. You’ll drive past campsites, and up a windy one lane road. At the end of the road, you’ll find a parking area with restrooms, picnic tables, and the beginning of the trail.

If you’re hiking to Castle Dome, start early in the morning. It will give you time to take breaks, photos, and savor the fantastic views of the Crags, Mt. Shasta, and more. And don’t forget to bring water, snacks, and lunch to eat on the trail. The hike’s elevation gain will make you hungry and thirsty.

Not in the mood for a steep climb? That’s okay. Picnicking, fishing options, and gentler trails are available at the park.