Castle Lake

Mt. Shasta from Castle Lake

  • Easy (to Little Castle Lake)
  • 2.4 miles round-trip
  • 640 feet elevation gain
  • Open June to mid-November

  • Moderate (to Heart Lake)
  • 3.4 miles round-trip
  • 880 feet elevation gain

Wintu Indians believed this large, cliff-rimmed mountain lake was the fortress of Ku-ku-pa-rick, an evil spirit who made ominous rumbling noises here in winter. An 1851 gold rush brought swarms of white miners to these headwaters of the Sacramento, muddying the river below and destroying the Indian’s supply of salmon. The Wintu burned several of the intruder’s cabins in response. Then they retreated to the bluffs above Castle Lake, where, with nothing but bows and arrows for defense, they were decimated by an impromptu army of heavily armed miners in the 1855 Battle of Castle Crags.

Today, easy paved access from Interstate …

If you’d like a longer hike—and you have …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon.