we cant wait to come back again. the crags are beautiful!
Stayed at the smaller loop last June. Bugs were bad but got to talk with PCT thru hikers who were at the reserved PCT site next to me.
I always stay here to break up the drive to Seattle. There’s a gas station just before the campground where you can grab beer and dogs for a nice night under the stars. The campgrounds are well equipped with grates, picnic tables, bathrooms with running water, and there’s always plenty of dry wood. There are trails to the Sacramento River that are beautiful and a great spot to fish if you like catch trout on the fly. There’s also another trail up to a viewpoint of the crags. On top of that, it’s NEVER crowded and you can usually pick between a bunch of great sites.
Stayed here 2 nights, beautiful campground, bathrooms were clean and stocked with the necessities. The only downside is being close to the freeway you can here traffic but it honestly wasnt too loud, it was only really at night when we went to bed that we could hear it.
This is honestly one of the best state park camp grounds I have ever been to. The rangers are amazing, the trails are even better, and the views are breathe taking. With it being only a couple miles off of the highway, great for staying while you're on those long hour days in the car, it allows for you to get away while also being super close. I ran to the observation point, which was great but I did see a small black bear. It ran off but just note there are bears in the area and you need to store your food properly.
Check-in says 2pm, but we got there a few hours early and they let us pick a campsite and set up early. Quiet time is at 10pm, so if you're still up just keep the convo low. There is an upper loop, lower loop and riverside campground. I stayed at the upper loop and loved it! From our campsite we were able to walk to the trailhead and do the crags trail all the way to the top of the rocks. Would highly recommend this campground! Many of hikes around, close to a river and a short distance away from Mt Shasta veiws!
Castle Crags State Park is a family favorite park, as is the hike to the Crags via Crags Trail. The park doesn’t have a ton of trails on offer, but it does have some great ones.
The campground itself is pretty standard. Sites along the road are less desirable in my mind because of the constant traffic going by, but the Upper Loop has some great sites. The Upper Loop is fairly densely wooded so sites don’t seem as on top of each other as other campgrounds. I have not personally stayed in Little Loop before, but with just four sites it seems like it could be nice and quiet.
All campers at Castle Crags State Park, and within a 10-mile range, should be aware of the well-traveled train tracks that parallel highway five. Several train pass each night and you will hear them. Even if you sleep like a bear (more on them later) you will likely hear the train. This isn’t as much of an issue in the Upper Loop, and I imagine Little Loop, but campers in the Lower Loop and Riverside Campground should definitely be aware of this. The train is by no means a reason not to camp here, but maybe bring ear plugs if you think you’ll be sensitive to the sound.
Personally I’ve camped there about half a dozen times and have seen bears more times then I haven’t. Because too many campers aren’t responsible with their food bears in the area have gotten pretty used to people and often come into camp. On our last trip a mom and two cubs were walking just 50 feet north of us in site 52 when the two cubs decided to come closer for a look. They got within about 10 feet of us and the picnic table before mom called them back, but it was a bit concerning (my wife was on top of the picnic table!).
I am not aware of any bad bear encounters where people or bears have been injured, but you may want to check with the ranger station about bringing bear spray. At least bring a whistle or some other way to startle the bear, remember they are pretty used to humans. Most importantly, remember to always lock up your food and any other items with scent inside the bear box. This is extremely important for your safety, for the safety of the bears, and the other campers around you.
As for the hikes in the park, you can’t beat the hike to “the Crags” via Crag Trail. It’s a tough hike and I highly suggest you start early when hiking in the warmer months. You can access this hike from all the camp loops or if you want to shorten the hike a bit you can drive up to the Vista Point. Plan on a side trip to Indian Springs for a water bottle refill and refreshing head-soak. The top section of the trail is very exposed and there is no water, so make sure you bring enough. The trail is steep and requires a bit of scrambling over rocks. Once on the top, after you catch your breath, you will be treated to spectacular views of Mt. Shasta and the surrounding area and lots of great places to explore the Crags. Summiting Castle Dome is possible but includes some class 4 climbing (don’t do this without proper gear or training).
Castle Crags State Park is also nearby the towns of Dunsmuir and Mt. Shasta. Dunsmuir has a good brewery and Mt. Shasta has about anything you could need, including a great outdoor store called The Fifth Season. Other nearby hikes to check out include Black Butte and Castle Lake.
We actually had booked a dispersed camping spot close to this campground, but once the high winds picked up on the plateau we were on we decided to high-tail it over to Castle Crags to have a less windy night!
It is right next to the highway and close to a high-volume railroad track, so BRING EARPLUGS! It really does get very noisy. There are a wide variety of sites (some include a grade you need to back your camper up onto), some close to streams, etc etc. so from that perspective it's quite nice. And if you want to climb the Crags you really can't pick a better location.
They have the usual bear lockers and fire rings, there is usually a host, and the bathrooms are actually quite nice (well-heated, which is what we needed during a soggy November trip!) The gas station down the street has a VERY big selection of beer (I was super surprised).
Be careful of two things: one, there is abundant poison oak in the area and two, we found a very big and nasty spider in the bag of firewood I bought.
absolutely beautiful! but so buggy! the campground was also really tight--narrow road going through the campground and sites close together, however there were trees in between spots that provided some privacy. The check in process was all annoying---we had a reservation but couldn't choose our spot until we go there there and then had to drive back to the ranger station to find out which ones were available. It all seemed odd. but, there were some great trails all around the campground that led to some beautiful spots.
We were checked in an exceedingly pleasant ranger who offered lots of advice and even gave me a free matchbook. The sites were nice, and firewood is $8 for a gigantic bag full of about as much wood as a person can carry. The park itself is very pretty; you'll definitely want to make a drive or hike to see the eponymous Castle Crags. The campground is right near the highway, so you get a little bit of traffic noise, but nothing terrible.