The Castle Crags Wilderness is a 12,232-acre (49.50 km2) wilderness area located 40 miles north of Redding, California within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The US Congress passsd the California Wilderness Act in 1984 which set aside the wilderness. Elevations range from 2,500 feet to 7,300 feet due to the wilderness area's location in the Trinity Mountains which are part of the Klamath Mountains in the Klamath geological province of northwestern California.
The prominent spires in the southeast that make up the Castle Crags are the main attraction and are similar to the granitic rock landscape in parts of Yosemite National Park. In the northern portion of the wilderness, the landscape is more like the Klamath Mountains with glacial erosion, several cirques, and abundant rainfall with a high, east-trending divide. The area is bounded on the east by the Sacramento River, in the north by the South Fork Sacramento River and in the south by the canyon of Castle Creek and the boundary of Castle Crags State Park.
Flora and Fauna
The wilderness contains more than 300 species of wildflowers, including the Castle Crags harebell and the Castle Crags ivesia, both endemic, as well as tiger lily, monkey flower, and Indian rhubarb. Drier locations have yarrow, aster and buckwheat. Forested areas have incense cedar, white fir, Ponderosa pine, several types of oaks with Pacific dogwood and maple in riparian zones. Meadows and brushlands have various kinds of manzanita along with huckleberry oak, chaparral and mountain whitethorn. Poison oak is common, as are rattlesnakes—dictating caution when hiking the trails.Black bears, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions are some of the larger predators in this diverse habitat of bare granite, steep slopes, meadows and mountain streams.
The state park extends 480 acres (1.9 km2) inside the wilderness and has five of the nine trailheads. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) traverses the wilderness for 19 miles with several spur trails connecting from the park to the PCT. The Castle Dome Trail is a strenuous hiking trail into the crags proper and passes near Indian Springs, a natural hillside spring with views of the crags. The trail ends after 2.7 miles at a notch just west of Castle Dome (4,829 ft), the southernmost of the crags, providing an unobstructed view of Mount Shasta and the spires, buttresses, sheer cliffs and domes of the Castle Crags. Rock climbing opportunities range from Class 5 to Class 5.13a in difficulty, and although the granite rocks are massive, some areas are unstable because of exfoliation (flaking layers of loose rock).The Forest Service encourages the use of Leave No Trace principles of outdoor travel to minimize impact to the environment.
Area : 10,500 acres (42 km2)