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Years ago you could camp right on the lake in primitive walk in spots, now that is not allowed. There is a small campground with just a few spots down the road a quarter mile but it's rare to find an empty spot there. The lake has grown in popularity over the years and if you want to secure a day spot on the lake's edge plan on getting there first thing in the morning. People do also disperse camp about another mile down the road in a gravel pull out area. Castle Lake is easy to get to via Castle Lake road which is paved the entire way.
The first thing to know about this campground, is that there are only 6 camp sites, and it is all first come first serve, and it's free. I got there on a Thursday to be sure we got a spot, and already 4 of the 6 were taken. Since there is only 6 sites, it was super quiet all the time. I'm not sure which site we had, but it was at the end of the road, and set far back in to the forest. We couldn't see anyone else, and no one could see us. We loved the privacy! Castle Lake was a short drive up the road, and it is a very popular lake. There was tons of people there fishing, hiking, paddling, taking pics…. There are trails to get to Heart Lake, which is a smaller lake, but great views of Mt Shasta from there. It is about a 20 minute drive to get back to town, so if you needed anything it would be easy to just pop down. There was reception at the campground about 80% of the time.
The sites are narrow. The water was really low down. No beach. It was really hot! Not much around. Plus will we were there at least two trees came down. Thank goodness they did not land on our tent! There are a lot of Geocaches though.
There’s only 6 sites on the campground and we were lucky and got the last one available. It’s a perfect amount of space between campsites, and it’s free. 3 night maximum. The walk to the lake is easy and the lake itself is wonderful! I would stay here again.
I love that this campground is right by the river. The paved sites are nice. The bear locker was dirty and doesn’t seem like it gets cleaned. The vault toilet floors are not kept clean at all and don’t seem like they’re cleaned often. Site 21 is not private at all & you’re right next to the host who runs the generator for a 3-4 hours in the evening. To be expected, I know, but it’s when you’re cooking dinner and hanging out. Other than that it’s a really nice campground and the easy access trails are sweet. Fishing is good and there’s lots of wildlife.
This place is perfect and has plenty of spots that are away from everyone else. You can hear the river running at night. No one was loud. It was great. Will definitely be back. And the chipmunks are cute but will steal your food so watch out for them.
The falls sell the place. They are beautiful. The PCT trail goes right by on the opposite bank. Great fishing upstream from the falls. Great fun at Lake Britton.
BUT this is one busy crowded campground. It is large (many sites) has cabins, a visitor center and a store. So for me a tent camper this can feel like a freeway. So go in the off season - spring and fall. All the camping areas are not open then, but there are no crowds.
For tents some of the sites are open and not very private - meant for RVs. But you can hunt down a decent tent site. They have all the amenities here.
Beyond the falls and beyond the lake there is lots of hiking here. Hiking up the stream is magical. There are fall colors to enjoy, especially around Lake Britton. You can even strick out for the subway cave or Lassen or Mcloud from this central location.