Elevation: 606 ft
GPS: 33.253, -117.123 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 24,911 total · 413/month
Shared By: Joshua Reinig on Apr 1, 2014
Admins: Marc Kajut, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Access Issue: Current San Diego County Advisories Details
Access Issue: This great North County Crag is located on the boundary of partial lots for sale, private property and public land. Details


Old Castle Crag is one of the finer and lesser-known climbing areas in north county San Diego. Rock type is bomber orange San Diego granite, some similar attributes as Mission trails but probably more similar quality to El Cajon Mountain. Primarily a traditional climbing area with loads of splitter lines. Some recent sport development has been done. Cliff is south facing with little shade and gets a lot of sun year around. Definitely gets warm during summer months but cools off nice in late afternoon.

Getting There

From the I-15, exit Gopher Canyon/Oldcastle Road. Follow Old castle Road approximately 1 mile east, until road starts to wind uphill. Cliff will be located on the hillside to your left, north side of Old Castle Rd. Before the road starts to go uphill you will see a call box located on the left side of the street, north side of Old castle Road. It is possible to park at this turnout or anywhere along the side of the road in this vicinity. From call box turnout walk east 100 yards to largish Oak tree growing off north side of road. From here follow unmarked trail 200 yards uphill to a large dirt lot/pad. Shoot for large Bouling pin Boulder and head right/east to find dirt pad. From here a decent established trail switchbacks up the main weakness taking you to the right of the cliff, follow Karnes, do not trundled down ravines.
Somewhere in this vicinity lies the legendary and infamous Steve McQueen Boulder!!!

38 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Old Castle

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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In the early 90s we did a couple of plumb lines just right of center on the main face. At the top were several pitons and if I remember correctly some chains. Apr 2, 2014
Such a plum line would be Conception!!!
The pitons and chains are still there. I'm sure I know of the other lines you guys must have climbed And definitely found some older hardware from yesteryearr!!! Apr 2, 2014
Adam any old photos or Contributions to this area are always greatly appreciated. Have had the pleasure of calling this my local climbing crag for sometime now and definitely took a lot of time energy and thought to get it to the point to where I felt it was ready to share with the community.
Thanks again for all of your help. :) Apr 2, 2014
If you go climbing in this area, do what you can to keep a low profile, and do your part to leave this area clean. Up until now this has been an "invite only" area for the reasons stated above...so don't be the one to fuck it up for everyone else! Apr 15, 2014
Southern California
J--   Southern California
Hi MountainProject people,
Josh I met you at mission trails once this summer. I was wondering who owns the Old Castle crag? Is it that we have to cross private land to get to the crag that is on public land, or is it all privately owned and the owner just doesn’t mind climbers being there? i.e. should I be asking permission from the owner to climb there. I’m thinking to go there with my cousin Lance on Dec 15th weather permitting.

J- Dec 8, 2014
I sent u a PM. Let me know you got it OK? Dec 16, 2014
The directions posted above are bogus. No trail exists uphill from the call-box pullout — just a few sets of footprints heading up the steep, loose mountainside. Some of those footprints were left by me, my partner and our dog on the unpleasant slog up to the crag. We never found the so-called pad until we were at the base of the crag and could see the pad, which was far below, to the southeast.

To access the pad and the trail to the crag, drive three tenths of a mile east from the call box. On the north side of Old Castle Road, a dirt road heads up in a westerly direction, to the pad. This former building site is littered with lots of trash. There is room to park a few cars. No fences or signs are posted at the start of the dirt road or anywhere around the pad or the the start of the trail, which begins at the west end of the pad. Jan 16, 2015
The original directions to access Old Castle Crag have changed through the years. I have corrected the above directions to be more accurate. The dirt lot/pad is small and only holds a couple of cars. As for the trash. It comes and goes through the years, I know my father and I have personally made at least a dozen runs to the dump in our trucks. Any help keeping the place clean is greatly appreciated. Jan 26, 2015
As for the one responsible for ripping out the fig tree from the cave area, Karma is a bitch and feel sorry for the weight of it you carry on your soul!!! :) Jan 26, 2015
There is a large snake (I think it is a rattler, since it was rattling at me when I passed by that same spot last weekend) that has taken up refuge near the base of the wall on the west side. It is on the trail that goes around to the top, where you have to scramble over a series of large boulders. I almost stepped on him, and didn't seem particularly ruffled. But I have seen the effect of snake bites and found another trail around to the east. April 1, 2018 Apr 2, 2018