Best Views of Shasta right minutes off I-5 | Castle Lake Overlook

Mount Shasta Free Camping

If you have ever driven up I-5 form California to Oregon there’s no way you missed the overwhelming beauty of Mount Shasta.  Shasta is a massive strata volcano that juts out of the earth to an elevation of 14,179 making it the tallest Volcano in California.  Lucky for you we have an easy way to get amazing views of the Volcano just 15 minutes off of Interstate 5.  

The Castle Lake overlook is a short out and back around 3 miles long to one of the most rewarding views considering how short the approach is.  

Park in the Castle Lake parking lot from here you will take Little Castle Lake Trail (#4W02) after just under a mile the trail will split off to the Castle Lake Overlook trail.  You have to have a keen eye to see the turn off.  You don't want to hike to far on the Little Castle Lake Trail otherwise you will end up on the wrong side of Castle Lake and be on your way to Little Castle Lake.  Just remember that you want to be on the ridge lookers right while you are hiking up the trail.  If the kooks figured this out so can you.  

On the way up there is also an amazing photo opportunity on the right conditions at a reflection pond, here you can test your photography skills and snap a beautiful shot of Shasta’s peak reflecting off the glassy water in the tarn.  Once at the top of the overlook you will feel very rewarded for the short hike you just conquered.  Take a few moments here snap a few memories and head back down about 1.5 miles to the lot.  

Depending on time of year camping is ok as well in the parking lot we stayed for a day in October and enjoyed amazing fall colors on our drive out.  There are pit toilets at the lot and I would imagine kayaking or SUPing would be an awesome activity on a calm day.  Also as always pack it in, pack it out!  Let’s keep these places free and wild!  

If you are driving up I-5 and are looking for a great day activity, or a place to crash this is an amazing place to spend the day there are more hikes in the area so do a little bit of research and you could find yourself on a backpacking adventure.