Castle Crags is a unique geologic feature in the Pacific Northwest and can be read about from the top of the Vista Point just opposite the hiking trail. The Castle Dome stands prominently within the Castle Crag rock formation of jutting spires.
The trail into Castle Crags is steep and heavily wooded for more the half of the near three-mile climb. The forest eventually gives way to jutting rock faces and large boulders that the trail winds its way through to the top. Once the path moves exits, the timber Castle Crags becomes a cavalcade of vistas at every turn with the Castle Dome taking center stage. Overall the trail is a short, steep, and strenuous hike around six miles round trip.
The first time I climbed Castle Crags was solo in early 1980’s. I remember getting to the bottom of the Dome and looking up the side of the rock. Believe it or not, there is a way to the very top of the dome for those who find it and requires a minimal amount of rock climbing. I have been on top of Castle Dome more times than I can remember with a variety of people over the last three decades, and still, think about the next trip up.
Let safety be the guide to the top of Castle Dome. If it seems scary, deadly, etc. that is not the route to the top. That said, the top of Castle Dome is not going to be a place for everyone regardless. Just getting to the end of the trail at its base is enough adventure for many.
Regardless of the final destination, even if it is the Vista Point near the parking lot, the Castle Crags experience is worth the effort. Castle Crags lives up to its namesake and delivers a castle with a multitude of granite battlements, and buttresses surrounding its keep.