REI Community
Castle Crags

Select Area...
Battle Mountain 
Beck's Tower 
Bull Dog Rock 
Castle Dome 
Indian Springs Canyon 
Mansion, The 
Observation deck 
Ogre aka Mt. Hubris, The 
Pin Cushion Wall 
Six Toe Rock 

Castle Crags Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 41.15954, -122.3059 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 48,684
Administrators: Aron Quiter, Rick Shull, Muscrat, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Oct 30, 2007

69° | 44°

74° | 49°

75° | 53°

82° | 53°

78° | 53°

67° | 46°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Castle Crags. Photo by Blitzo.


Located far into northern California, Castle Crags is a unique and enormous area that consists of fair to excellent quality granite spires, domes and walls, most with views of Mount Shasta. Climbs range in height from 20 feet to over 900 feet.

The majority of the climbing is trad, but there is a small sportier area known as the Pin Cushion Wall. Pretty cool white/light grey rock that's overwhelming in quantity. Most the cracks are pretty easy to protect. Venturing out onto the dikes, where more solid rock can be found can require more creative placement than the mindless cam-to-crack-ing that can occur on your way up your average crack.

You can camp year-round in Castle Crags State Park either in the designated camp-sites ($14/site with running water and showers) or near the rock (where you have to pack in water) a 1.5 hour hike uphill from the camp. Fires are usually not permitted in the back country during the summer months, so consider that in your planning.

Also, the nearby town is supposed to be cute - but I didn't visit it. However, my friends did and it seems Dunsmuir has most camping necessities available.

Other than being a really long ways from the Bay Area (3-5 hours, depending where you live), the only other negative to this excellent climbing area is the minimum 1 hour (and sometimes 2 1/2) hour steadily uphill 1500 - 3000 vertical feet gain approach. If you're not warmed up by the time you're at your route, you're insane.

Getting There 

From the Bay Area (or almost anywhere in California) get on 5 northbound. About 45 miles north of Redding you'll get one warning sign 'Castle Crags State Park - Next Exit.' About 3/4 of a mile further, exit and hang a left. Follow the signs to the Park, then depending on your agenda park either near the campsites or up at Vista Point (also known as Viewpoint in Davis' Classic Rock Climbs). If you're staying backcountry overnight you must park at the State Park Scenic Overlook (near the campsites). Day parking permits are $4/day, or if you're paying to camp, you park for free.

Check out that Map! Pretty bleak, huh?

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.5 miles from here

58 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',7],['1 Star',29],['Bomb',3]

Classic Climbing Routes in Castle Crags

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Castle Crags:
Castle Dome - 4th class route   X     Trad, 5 pitches, 840'   Castle Dome
Cosmic Wall   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R     Trad, 6 pitches, 950'   The Ogre aka Mt. Hubris
Six Toe Crack   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 190'   Six Toe Rock
NW Ridge   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Trad, 6 pitches, 1000'   Castle Dome
The Dike Route (aka East Face)   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 8 pitches, 1100'   Castle Dome
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Castle Crags

Featured Route For Castle Crags
Rock Climbing Photo: dykage

The Dike Route (aka East Face) 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b  California : Northeast California : ... : Castle Dome
The route climbs on or near a dike for 1100 feet of well featured face climbing. Climbing is sustained continuous 5.8 with many 5.9 sections and a few short 5.10 cruxes. Expect 20 to 30 foot runouts on 5.8 ground with more protection available during the harder stretches.The route is in the sun in the morning and goes into shade in the mid afternoon. The descent does not return to the base of the route. We found the Laird Davis guidebook description and topo accurate and easy to follow.We we...[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Castle Crags Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: 12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
Rock Climbing Photo: 12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
Rock Climbing Photo: google dome rock
google dome rock
Rock Climbing Photo: 12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
Rock Climbing Photo: Beck's Tower
BETA PHOTO: Beck's Tower
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Crags. Photo by Blitzo.
Castle Crags. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Shasta as seen from top of The Ogre.
Mt. Shasta as seen from top of The Ogre.
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Crags from view point, 3/07
Castle Crags from view point, 3/07
Rock Climbing Photo: The crags from the West.
BETA PHOTO: The crags from the West.

Comments on Castle Crags Add Comment
Show which comments
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 16, 2004
This area is fun to explore and wasn't very popular when I was last there (over 15 years ago). The rock is limestone which varies in quality, some of it is amazingly sharp, like limestone can get.
By Bryson Slothower
Jun 21, 2004
The Castle Crags I went to was all granite.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 23, 2004
Granite!! Really? Yikes, I guess my neurons are getting so old, every climb today is an onsight. I remember where that sharp limestone was?
By Adam Hicks`
Aug 28, 2004
_castle Crags is a granite pluton that has been exposed by years of erosion as well as uplifted a wee bit. The area is different than Yosemite in that it has not been polished by glaciers and in that it is an exfoliating pluton, meaning much of what you touch will soon fall.

Dunsmuir is cute, and is getting cuter by the day, but the best camping is either at the state park proper or up the road at Lake Siskiyou. There's more camping even higher by Castle Lake, which is also a prime point to begin a long and very arduous backside (and thus free) approach into Castle Crags.

I don't mean to plug shamelessly, but Shasta Mountain Guides has an infinite wealth of knowledge on the Crags and are worth contacting for information. They do, of course, also guide there.

-Adam Hicks
By Patrick Sawyer
From: Californian Living in Ireland
Aug 4, 2005
I first climbed in Castle Crags in 1974 and a bit in 1975. I haven't been back since but I am surprised the area isn't a bit more developed, though I do remember that the granite wasn't the best in places. That said, there must be enough solid rock there. I have googled for a site dedicated to the Crags but nada. and had the best information.

I just registered so my name won't appear, so I guess I'm in at anonymous coward (not too far off from the truth). Patrick Sawyer, Walnut Creek/Lafayette and now Dublin, Ireland
By C Miller
Jul 5, 2007 is a great website with lots of local news and new route info.
By fendbend99
Jan 23, 2015
Anybody know what happened to the info on
By Nick Black
From: Arcata, CA
Feb 21, 2015
Anyone been out to the cosmic wall this winter? was thinking of coming out there soon and was curious about the snow/ice condition of some of the longer routes due to the dry winter.
By Chasing Choss
From: California
May 2, 2016
camping is now 20!!!! bucks a night just fyi. better pay because rangers came by every night.
By Chasing Choss
From: California
May 2, 2016
camping is now 20!!!! bucks a night just fyi. better pay because rangers came by every night.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · People · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About