Castle Lake

With the road being plowed all winter and skiable slopes as far as the eye can see, it is clear that Castle Lake holds real possibility for backcountry skiers and boarders. This north-facing cirque has easy access to North, West, and East-facing aspects allowing skiable terrain to be found in most snow conditions. When the lake is frozen, which is much of the winter, it is very easy to do laps that start and end at your car with the ability of doing over 1000 vertical feet in one run! The wide variety of terrain also means that there is almost always avalanche danger in the area. Bacause of this, the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center uses this area for snow study and avalanche forcasting. On weekends during the winter, they have a detailed avalanche report for the area available on the web or by phone.


Castle Lake is a glacial cirque lake with a max depth of 110 ft. It was formed from a glacier carving out the valley and forming the cirque we see today. This glacial excavation scoured the cirque down to its granite bedrock. While much of the area has since been repopulated with soil and plants, there are still areas of granite slabs and cliffs. This is a good thing to note as slabs and talus fields act as great sliding surfaces once covered with snow.

Skill Level:

Intermediate to Advanced - Very condition dependent!

Directions & Map:

Recommended Equipment

Food & Water

For water, 2L-3L per person for a day trip is recommended. As for food, several small snacks throughout the day are recommended. Big meals are fun but bog you down. Small snacks allow for a continual flow of energy to your body. For your snacks, try to balance sugars, fats, proteins, and carbs so your body is continually fueled. This helps reduce crashes in energy during the day.

Additional Info

Resources & Links


Click Here for the NOAA weather forcast for this area