Castle Lake to Heart Lake

Trail Highlights

Length2.2 miles (round trip)
High point6,050′
Elevation gain600′
DifficultyModerate
When to goMay – Nov (trail), Year round (snow)
Trailhead locationCastle Lake parking, 10 miles SW Mt Shasta City

Trail Maps

AllTrails: Heart Lake Trail from Castle Lake


Trail Details

This is one of the premier hikes in the Mount Shasta region, giving large rewards for a modest effort.  Starting from the Castle Lake parking lot, head southeast along the trail, across a small drainage stream.  In the spring, this delta may require some careful crossing.

Follow the largely un-signed trail up a moderate incline along Castle Lake’s eastern shore.  You start to quickly gain height and some perfect lake views open up, continuing .7 mi and gaining most of the climb. The trail splits in places, follow the most-established trail to a saddle 100 feet before a small pond.  Go right at the saddle and follow an unsigned trail southerly and then westerly for a half-mile to reach Heart Lake.

The view from this point is spectacular – Mount Shasta, Black Butte, the Eddys and Mt McLoughlin stand large, sentinels of the region.

Heart Lake’s shallow waters warm sweetly in the summer sun and make an excellent punctuation point to your arrival, especially if you come in the afternoon from early July into August. Many a famous photo of the massive volcano have been taken from slope on the south side of the lake.

A short walk west of the lake reveals a couple tiny ponds and a campsite. Agile hikers in good shape can head southeasterly up to top of the ridge for world-class views of the surrounding topography.

Controlling Agency: Mount Shasta Ranger Station, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, 204 West Alma, Mount Shasta, CA 96067; (530) 926-4511

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead is accessed from Castle Lake parking lot. In winter the road does get snow, check the Mt Shasta Avalanche Center and USFS road conditions.

Other Trails

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