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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests > Taylor River Ranger District

Quick Facts

Castle Pass Trail #441

Beginning Elevation: 9,675 Feet (2949 Meters) intersection with Lowline Trail
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,300 Feet (405.2 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,585 Feet (2922 Meters) intersection with Cliff Creek Trail
Length: 5.5 Miles (9.17 Kilometers) to the junction with Cliff Creek Trail
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 133
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall
Trail Number: 441
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Anthracite Range
Vehicle Accessibility: Passenger Vehicle

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Castle Creek Trail begins near the eastern border of the West Elk Wilderness on Lowline Trail. This junction lies at 9,672 feet and is very close to the end of Castle Creek Road. (Unfortunately, no access is allowed from Castle Creek Road because it leads through private property.) To reach this eastern terminus of the tread hikers must use Lowline Trail, from the north, or Mill Castle Trail, from the south.

Leaving Lowline Trail heading west the trail passes through North Cast Creek Valley then begins the ascent toward Castle Pass. The trail climbs approximately 1,300 feet in two miles. Several switchbacks lead to Castle Pass, which lies at 11,057 feet. From this pass users of Castle Pass Trail get great views of West Elk Peak. Several switchbacks help hikers descend into the Cliff Creek drainage on the western side of Castle Pass. The mileage from Castle Pass to Cliff Creek Trail is approximately three miles.

Very little water is available on this trail after leaving the North Castle Creek and before reaching Cliff Creek. The entire trail lies within the West Elk Wilderness, which permits foot and horse traffic within its boundaries.

Directions from Mill Creek Road: Using Mill Creek Road you can hike into Castle Pass Trail from the south. This accesses the eastern terminus of the trail via Mill Castle Trail, 450.

Directions from Lowline Trail #438: There is no access to the eastern terminus of Castle Pass Trail through Castle Creek Road due to private property. The only access at this end would be to hike in on the Lowline Trail, 438, from Beckwith Pass.

Directions from Cliff Creek Trail: The western terminus of Castle Pass Trail can be reached by hiking in on Cliff Creek Trail, 840, from Beckwith Pass. To reach Beckwith Pass leave Lost Lake Campground or Cliff Creek Trailhead and travel south.

Directions from Soap Creek Trailhead: Another way to reach the western terminus of Castle Pass Trail is from the south via Soap Creek Trailhead. Follow Soap Creek Trail, 443, to Soap Basin Trail, 442, which will eventually lead to Cliff Creek Trail, 840, and the western terminus of Castle Creek Trail.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Castle Pass Trail
ICON Hiking & Walking Castle Pass Trail #441
ICON Horseback Riding Castle Pass Trail
ICON Animal Identification Castle Pass Trail
ICON Bird Identification Castle Pass Trail
ICON Plant Identification Castle Pass Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Castle Pass Trail
ICON Mushroom Identification Castle Pass Trail
ICON Backcountry Skiing Castle Pass Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Castle Pass Trail
ICON Viewing Wildlife Castle Pass Trail

Related Activities
Lost Lake Campground - Lost Lake Campground is a great spot for hikers, horseback riders and anglers. The trails surrounding the site are kid-friendly.

Lowline Trail - This trail is a good access for the entire east side of the West Elk Wilderness and is an excellent trail for extended pack trips.

Mill Castle Trail - This trail goes through rugged terrain, but is one of the most scenic trails in the West Elk Wilderness.

Mill Castle Trailhead - Mill Castle Trailhead lies on Mill Creek Road, Forest Service Road 727, which stems from Ohio Creek Road. It provides access to the eastern West Elk Wilderness.

Soap Basin Trail - Soap Basin Trail is a good trail to incorporate into your route for extended pack trips. It connects with several other trails within the West Elk Wilderness.

Soap Creek - An inlet of the Reservoir allows both Reservoir and creek fishing for rainbow, brook, cutthroat and brown trout. The fishing is rated as good.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Gunnison National Forest, 216 North Colorado , Gunnison, CO, 81230, Phone: 970-641-0471


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