Castle Crags State Park is located in the forest-covered mountains just north of the Sacramento Valley. It features soaring spires of ancient granite and includes about two miles of the cool, quick-running upper Sacramento River. Surrounded by primitive back country, the park is six miles south of Dunsmuir and about twenty-five miles north of Lake Shasta on Interstate 5. Elevations range from 2,000 feet along the river to more than 6,000 feet at the top of the Crags. Winters are cold and wet, but long warm summers and easy access make the park a popular place to visit throughout the rest of the year.
From a scenic overlook within the park, one can see the dramatic skyline features that command this portion of northern California. To the north, dominating everything else for a hundred miles around, is 14,162-foot-high Mount Shasta, an incredibly beautiful, snow-covered and presently quiescent volcano. Closer at hand are the glacier polished Crags for which the park is named. Unrelated to the recent volcanic activity of Mount Shasta, the Crags are made up of granitic material (granodiorite) that was formed some 170 million years ago far beneath the surface of the earth and later forced slowly upward through a blanket of serpentine. A still different formation can be seen to the southwest, where the Grey Rocks form the crest of Flume Creek Ridge. Geologically unlike either the Crags or Mount Shasta, the Grey Rocks consist of a great weathered slab of metamorphic rock. Principally greenstone and slate, that has been thrust sideways over and on top of serpentine.
There are 64 family campsites, each with table, stove and food storage locker. Many of the campsites are large enough to accommodate camp trailers up to 21 feet, or motorhomes to 24 feet, although no hookups are available and there is no dump station. Combination buildings with restrooms, hot showers and washtubs are nearby. Campsites reservations can be make by calling MISTIX at 1-800-444-7275.
The picnic areas are located across the river from the park's main entrance in cool forest groves. Tables and stoves are provided, but the main attraction is the Sacramento River. It offers good fishing for rainbow trout in season, and there are more than two miles of riverside trail and several hundred acres of undeveloped forest in which to stroll.
A tunnel beneath the freeway and railroad, and a bridge across the river make it a safe and an easy walk from the campground to the river and nearby picnic areas.
Campfire programs and other informal talks and demonstrations are held during the summer throughout the park. Programs describe the area's history, plants and animals as well as other topics. Ranger-guided walks are also scheduled.
Fishing is usually good in the Sacramento River during the season (April through November). Rainbow trout are often taken near the picnic areas and at the junction of the river and Soda Creek.
Hiking is a favorite activity at Castle Crags State Park and trails range from easy to strenuous. There are 18 miles of improved trails available for your use. Horses are allowed only on designated riding trails, ten miles of which lie within the park, indluding a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.