Tahoe Trail Running at Castle Peak

This post comes from Chris Cloyd, a TMS Ambassador and lover of endurance sports. When Chris isn’t training for his next big run in the mountains or out exploring the Eastern Sierra on bike, he’s managing the Performance Training Center by Julia Mancuso. Watch for more race reports, gear reviews and fun reading from Chris and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports.

Who: Chris Cloyd
What: Trail Running / Scrambling
Where: Truckee, CA – Castle Peak
When: June 8, 2015

June 8 Run
TMS Ambassador – Chris Cloyd’s Route (June 8, 2015)

The morning of June 8, 2015 set up perfectly, with calm skies, warm temps, and a block of about three free hours on my schedule. Not one to ever turn down an outdoor opportunity, I grabbed my Salomon S-Lab Running Vest and Salomon Trail Running Shoes and ran out the door just shy of 8:30 AM.

My adventure run this particular morning was to start from the Castle Pass Trail Head, across from Boreal Mountain Resort on the I-80 summit. I ran up the Castle Pass fire road to the Donner Lake Rim Trail, then turned off on the DRT for a short section before hitting the Pacific Crest Trail (never skip a chance to run America’s most famous trail). I ran the PCT up to Castle Pass, then took the trail up the shoulder to Castle Peak before gaining the summit of Castle Peak’s 3rd tower (the easternmost tower is the true summit, home of the survey marker and register).

The summit of Castle Peak was reached in 41:38 from leaving my car – by far my best time up to the peak. I saved some energy going up, for sure, and I look forward to going back this summer to try and best the 40 minute mark. The summit block is a spicy bit of Class 3 Climbing, so keep your wits about you and watch your footing if you go! I continued from there along the ridge trail (as good as it gets) to Basin Peak, and topped out there as well. It’s an easy summit, about five feet off of the ridge trail. Make sure you sign the register there as well!

I then crashed down to the Devil’s Oven-PCT trail, swung left down toward Castle Valley and the PCT. It’s only a short bit of running on the PCT before the Sand Ridge Trail to Hole In The Ground, and I took a right there and descended to the HITG Trail intersection. Taking a left and running HITG en route to Andesite Ridge, I enjoyed really the only shaded section of trail on today’s run. HITG snakes its way down from Andesite Ridge and links back to the Castle Pass fire road, which I took back to my car.

At 12 miles, this is one of the best “short” loops on offer in the Truckee/Tahoe area, and one of my personal favorites. Get out there and try it the next chance you get!

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