Description : This small primitive campground is nestled in a thick mixed conifer forest approximately ¼ mile below Castle Lake. There are 6 sites with tables, fire rings and vault toilets. Bring your own water. 3-night limit. No fee. No reservations. Not recommended for large vehicle or trailers. Usually opens around the end of May depending on when the snow melts, and usually is closed by snow around the first of November. Features : Visitors may walk or drive the short distance to the lake. Castle Lake is a pristine glacial cirque lake with granite cliffs and clear water, one of the most popular attractions in the Mt. Shasta area. Hiking, swimming, fishing, and flat-water kayaking are favorite activities here. There are a few hiking trails to explore including the short and easy Shoreline Trail on the west side of the lake.
Special note about Castle Lake
Please be aware that Castle Lake is partially situated on private property. The traditional trail to Heart Lake and Little Castle Lake leaves the east end of the parking area and ascends to the divide above the east side of the lake. It begins on public land in section 24 of T39N R5W but immediately crosses the boundary of section 19 of T39N R4W. This entire section of land (about 640 acres) is privately owned property and posted as such. There is no legal access across this section to these lakes. Please be respectful and avoid trespassing. However, the west shore of the lake is public and features a short trail with easy access to the water.
After reading another review from a backpacker we decided to dispersed camp near the Castle Lake Campground. The campsites themselves are nice with and offer fire rings, but there are few sites to use. The Lake is a trailhead for an amazing hike that is quite popular, so expect some traffic. The view is top notch of both Castle Lake and Mt Shasta
This campground was a great - and free! - place to stay! There aren’t very many campsites, but if you get there early, or go at a time of year when it’s not busy, it’s not hard to get a site. We went in the fall, and there was only one other site taken that night. It is right down the road from Castle lake, which is beautiful, and the hike up to Heart Lake and Castle Peak is one of my favorites in the area! On a clear day, you can see some of the mountains in Oregon!
we camped a couple times in the dispersed camping area just below the marked Castle Lake campground. literally the best view of Mt Shasta ever. the roads to the campsites can get a bit narrow, so bringing in a trailer is a challenge, but we managed it ;)
This is a great little campground located right near a beautiful lake and some great hiking.
The campground itself is small and first-come first-serve, so arrive early in the day to get a spot at all, much less the best spots. We arrived at about 10am on a Thursday in June and had our pick of the spots. For the three days we were there we only had "neighbors" one of the nights.
Nothing too special about this campground other than it is small, so less chance of getting some obnoxious, noisy group near you. There are pit toilets, but no potable water.
The campground is a short walk or really short drive up to Castle Lake, a truly spectacular lake with great options for hiking, kayaking, or paddle boarding in the summer.
The main hiking trail takes you up to Heart Lake and then offers great views of Castle Lake and across to Mt. Shasta. It's only about a mile each way to Heart Lake and then another quarter mile or so to a nice lookout point.
There is another trail that splits off about half a mile from the parking lot and heads east toward Little Castle Lake and eventually the Mt. Bradley fire lookout if you keep going. From there you can go just about anywhere on a series of fire roads.
Dogs are welcome in the campground and on the trails, but please leash your dogs. There are many other dogs on these trails and wildlife nearby, so keep your dog leashed to protect it and the areas around the trails.
The campground is also quite close to the town of Mt. Shasta and other great hikes like Black Butte and Castle Crags State Park.
This is my favorite free camp ground ever! Vault toilets, tons of trails, beautiful crystal clear water, wonderful memories!