Castle Crag State Park


Apr 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

Click here for a topographical map of this area.

INDULGE IN: Fly-fishing, rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, and hiking

WHY HERE? You might as well leave your backpack, ultralight tent, and skimpy, three-quarter-length sleeping pad at home; the primitive tent sites at Flume Camp are only 50 yards from your car, close to hot showers, yet deep inside a ponderosa pine forest that provides ample seclusion. This is deluxe car camping with a backcountry feel. Besides, you'll need more gear than you can haul on your back: Castle Creek runs within earshot of your tent and is a lovely place for soaking your feet and scouting your line up Castle Crag's granite spires, home to world-class sport and traditional climbing routes that have lured rock legends like Fred Beckey and Warren Harding. Hikers can hit the Flume Trail (it runs through the campground) to the Pacific Crest Trail and then head east to Bob's Hat, a five-mile loop that provides the best views in the park. Experienced climbers can make the 26-mile drive north to Avalanche Gulch, a steep, nontechnical route (albeit long: six miles, 7,000 vertical feet) to the summit of 14,162-foot Mount Shasta. Between outings, toss a beadhead prince nymph into the Upper Sacramento River, a mile and a half west of camp, where anglers occasionally snare 24-inch rainbows.

BONUS: Get reliable advice on matching the hatch, and lots of local lore, at Ted Fay Fly Shop (530-235-2969), five miles north on Interstate 5 in Dunsmuir.

ACCESS: 200 miles north of Sacramento. Take I-5 north toward Mount Shasta. Fifteen miles before the town of Shasta, exit at Castle Crag State Park. Flume Camp is one mile past the ranger station, with the choicest sites located 50 yards from the red barn at the final parking area.

RESOURCES: Castle Crag State Park, 530-235-2684; reservations, 800-444-7275 ($7 a night). The Fifth Season has climbing guides for Castle Crag and Mount Shasta, 530-926-3606.

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