OverviewLists of John, Castle Peak ranks #30 for Black Hills summits, and has 448 feet of prominence. Located about 25 miles west of Rapid City, the summit is on public lands managed by the Mystic Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest (605-343-1567).
This area of the Black Hills saw rapid settlement in 1877 with major gold strikes nearby in the Rochford area. Rochford was founded that year and the population mushroomed to almost 1,000 people within two years. As the gold played out, people moved away. By 1900 there were only a few hundred people left. Now the population is about 25. This area is north of the Pe’ Sla, or Reynolds Prairie area, which is sacred to the Sioux tribe.
With binoculars, some of the major Black Hills peaks you can see from the summit, would include Harney Peak, Sylvan Peak, Hat Mountain, Crooks Tower (but only if you know where to look), Terry Peak, White Tail Peak, Flag Mountain, and Custer Peak.
As you travel up Road 238, please be aware you are in an area called “Myersville”. It shows up on some maps. The residents there make it very apparent they want no trespassing, and they have posted their own 5 MPH speed limit signs at the start of Road 238.
To reach the main route to the summit of Castle Peak, drive up Road 238 for about 1.4 miles. Avoid driving down intersecting roads, which would include 238.1N and 238.1B. You should come to a 3-way junction, with 238.1E as the right road, 238.1F as the left road, and 238.1A as the center road. The center road is your route. There are enough roads and junctions on and around Castle Peak, that taking the wrong one will waste your valuable time.
The photo series to the right show the sequence of road junctions going to the trailhead.
Red TapeCastle Peak is on public land, managed by the National Forest Service. As long as you observe campfire and firearms regulations, you should have no problems on the public lands. Also, if you respect private property in the area, you should have no problems with the owners. Please be aware, though, that the area is used in season by hunters. Wearing orange when you hike during hunting seasons is wise.
When to ClimbThis area is open year around. But, like most summits, hiking during lightning storms or blizzards is not wise. Use your best judgment. For the latest weather forecast and conditions, click on the link below:
Castle Peak - Rochford Area Weather Forecast & Conditions
Castle Peak Campground
Deerfield Lake, about 10 miles south, also has a variety of camping and lodging options. You can access their links below:
Mountain Meadow Resort at Deerfield Lake
Deerfield Reservoir Complex Campgrounds
If you choose to do some back-country camping on National Forest Land, please be aware of their guidelines:
Black Hills National Forest Camping Regulations
Mystic Ranger District
8221 South Highway 16
Rapid City, SD 57702