Castle Peak is a Tahoe-area classic. It is easily visible from I-80 on the way to Truckee from the California side. It’s easy approach, with sunny exposure, and variety of terrain, which makes it an often visited mountain.
Park at the Boreal Parking area and walk back under the highway. The trailhead is obvious. The peak is visible to the north. It’s about two miles away, and 1,600 vertical feet above the parking area. It will take around two hours to reach the top.
Castle Peak is a great introduction because it offers a wide variety of terrain. The easiest skiing is the southwest-facing bowl coming off the southeast ridge. The north side of this ridge offers steeper descents, as well as the possibility of colder, drier snow. Skiing from the summit is a little more of a commitment. The south face has a couple classic, easy couloirs. It is easiest to climb directly up them before descending. The north side is a craggy mess of hanging snowfields and cliffs.
If you’re in Truckee and need a day away from the resorts, check out this local classic. There will be quite a few people there, but there’s always enough room for a few more.
Looking north from near the summit of Castle Peak. Skier: Lorenzo Worster