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Castle Rock (Nevada)

Lake Tahoe

June 30th, 2018

3.2 miles
780 vertical feet
Total Time: 2:01

Starting elevation
7754 feet
Max elevation
7940 feet

Rating: 7/10

Directions: From South Lake Tahoe, take Highway 50 to Stateline, Nevada, then turn right onto Highway 207. Head uphill for about 3 miles, then turn left onto North Benjamin Drive (if you reach the summit and start heading downhill, you've gone too far). Follow North Benjamin as it turns into Andria Drive. Follow it to the end of the road. There will be a gate on the left, where this trail starts, or you can park closer to the trailhead (where there's a display and maps).   View Driving Map



View full map

GPX File

The start of this hike is very close to a residential area, but you'll soon leave that behind. We parked at the lot a bit before 1pm. There's a gate on the western side before the main lot, with a fire road heading downhill. It's unsigned, so I wasn't sure if that was the right trail I asked some locals who were walking by (they looked like locals since they were walking their dog in the neighborhood) and they assured me it was. You can actually start the hike in either direction, but we chose to start from the gate. A woman was also walking around here, looking lost, and asked the same folks for directions. She was planning to walk the entire Tahoe Rim Trail. Eventually she would start at the main trailhead at the northern end of the lot.

The trail heads downhill moderately steeply for about 170 feet in half a mile, through the forest. Not much to say about this part. We came to a trail intersection, with the Castle Rock trail heading both downhill to the left and uphill to the right. I wasn't completely sure which way to go. We asked some other hikers here, and they weren't sure, but thought it was up to the right. We took that route, then shortly came to another intersection with the trail to the peak clearly going to the left. We then started the moderate climb up toward the rock.

We soon came to a nice view of what is probably part of Heavenly ski resort. Then we came to Castle Rock itself. There are a myriad set of use trails heading up and around the rock. We went around to the northern part of the rock, then scrambled to a northwestern spot at the front of the rock, with unobstructed views of south Lake Tahoe - the city, the shore, and Mt. Tallac clearly visible across the lake.

Looking back toward Heavenly ski resort

On the trail

Looking back toward Heavenly ski resort

Glimpse of the lake

Lake Tahoe

I have read that some people think the views from here are fantastic, and some were underwhelmed. I'm guessing those people didn't walk around to find the best views. You don't have to scramble to the top of the rock to get great views. Just walk around, and with minimal effort you can get a clear view of the lake.

Northwest side of Castle Rock

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe panorama
(Click image to view full size)

Mount Tallac over Lake Tahoe

Enjoying the view

After enjoying the views, we returned to the main trail, then turned left to continue on the Tahoe Rim Trail back to the parking lot. We passed a couple trail intersections, keeping to the right each time. At one point we passed (in the opposite direction) the woman who was doing the entire TRT. Maybe we'll do the whole TRT, too, some day. My youngest son seemed interested in doing it until he found out it was 165 miles (he was thinking it was closer to half that).

Look back at Castle Rock

There were a couple places along the trail heading back where we could get glimpses of Lake Tahoe, but nothing like from Castle Rock itself. Soon enough we were back at the parking lot. There's a display here with maps (of both the area and the entire TRT). There's also a way to get to Genoa Peak starting from this trailhead. That's one of the few Tahoe peaks I haven't done yet, and is on my to-do list, so perhaps we'll return here in the future.

Lake Tahoe

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