Castle Rock Traverse

Page Type: Route
Lat/Lon: 41.90172°N / 111.66983°W
Route Type: Hiking, Scrambling, Skiing
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required: Half a day
Difficulty: Class 2


Mount Magog
Magog from Castle Rock

This route climbs up to Castle Rock Peak and several other points along the ridge. I did this as a loop starting from Tony Grove. This was hiked in a counter-clockwise direction but it can be down either way. You can combine Castle Rock Peak with Naomi Peak together. There is a steep descent following the ridge going south from Naomi Peak. There is some scrambling involved on the main ridgeline. You can avoid most of the difficulties by staying on the west side of the ridge which keeps it at a class 2 hike. This is a good peak for those of you who want to leave behind the crowds on Naomi Peak. This peak offers great views of Cache Valley and the high peaks in the range.

Route Stats:
Distance is approximately 7 miles round trip. (4 miles is off-trail)
Cumulative Elevation Gain is about 2,000 feet.
Trailhead Elevation: 8,043 feet.
Highest Elevation: 9,700 feet.

Getting There

In Northern Utah, drive on I-15 north of Brigham City and take exit 362 (US-91/Logan). Keep driving on US-91 through Sardine Canyon. After 25 miles US-91 will merge into Main Street in Logan. Drive to the intersection of Main Street and 400 North in Logan. Turn east on Highway 89 into Logan Canyon. Drive for about 18 miles to the exit to Tony Grove. Turn here and follow this road for 7 miles to the trailhead and parking lot for Tony Grove Lake.

If coming from the northeast near the cities of Soda Springs or Montpelier in Idaho. Turn onto Highway 89 and drive south toward Garden City which is on the east side of the range near Bear Lake. Drive up the switchbacks into Logan Canyon. Go over the summit of the canyon and then drive to the road junction with a signed turnoff to Tony Grove. Drive up this road for 7 miles to the trailhead parking lot.

Notch and Gully
Notch and Gully ascent route

Route Description

From the parking area, start hiking up the trail heading north away from Tony Grove Lake. You'll pass a sign-in register which may or may not have anything in it. Continue on the trail until you arrive at a junction. There is usually a sign here stating that White Pine Lake is 3.8 miles going right and Naomi Peak is 3.3 miles going left. Take the trail that goes left. Follow this well maintained trail to approximately 9,100 feet elevation until you see the notch on the ridge.

North RidgeNorth Ridge
North RidgeNorth Ridge
North RidgeNorth Ridge

The Notch - This notch is located between Naomi Peak and Castle Rock Peak. The trail travels below the notch, which is obvious when viewed from the east. The main trail goes north but you'll want to leave the trail and start hiking to the bottom of the gully that is below it. This gully runs diagonal slightly right to the left. It is steep but still only class 2. The bottom has quite a bit of loose rock and as you get closer to the top it becomes more stable.

Ridgeline - The rugged part of the ridge on this route is between the notch and Castle Rock. You can avoid all of the difficulties by descending a little and going around on the west side of the ridge. If following the ridge directly you'll find limestone walls and pinnacles ranging from 3rd class to 5th class. This is the fun part of the route if you enjoy scrambling.

Castle Rock - Castle Rock formation is located on the point north of Castle Rock Peak. It is quite noticeable on Google maps. There are some chimneys and cracks on its east face. Hiking to the top of it is easy and is a short walk from the main ridgeline. Getting to the bottom of the formation is also a simple matter.

Castle Rock Peak - Coordinates: (N 41.9017254 W 111.669835) at 9,700 feet elevation. Castle Rock Peak has a pyramid shaped appearance when viewed from the north. Hiking from Castle Rock to Castle Rock Peak involves no obstacles. The actual summit is a block of rock similar to what is on the summit of Mount Gog and a few other Bear River Range summits. I did not see a register at the time or cairn on top.

Castle RockCastle Rock
Castle Rock PeakCastle Rock Peak
Castle Rock PeakCastle Rock Peak Summit

There are three points, above 9,000 feet, located south of Castle Rock Peak shown on most topo maps. You can descend to Tony Grove from here if you want. It is easiest to continue the traverse south along the ridge which is what I did and recommend. Then the ridge will start to curve to the east.

Point 9676 - This point is the next one south of Castle Rock Peak which is reached from the saddle between them. I found a small stacked cairn of rocks on top.

Point 9493 - When viewing this point from the north, it looked like it had a giant cairn. Closer inspection revealed large tree snags on its large summit.

Point 9248 - This is the last major point on the ridge. There are some cliffs surrounding it. I saw a fire ring near the top so perhaps some people camp here.

South RidgeSouth Ridge
South RidgeSouth Ridge
Tony Grove LakeTony Grove Lake

Now for the descent to Tony Grove Lake which can be seen below. Continue hiking on the ridge to a saddle between Point 9248 and Point 8942. You’ll see a trail going down from here. Actually, there were several paths to choose from since this isn’t a maintained trail. If you keep heading down the main draw in a northern-eastern direction, then you should have no problem. There was one side trail that went to a mine and this is where I ran into a herd of cattle. When you get closer to the lake, the trail will get steep as you descend. If things go well, you’ll end up at the picnic area and campground on the south end of the lake. From here, follow the trail around the east side of the lake, until you get back to the parking area at the trailhead.

Naomi Peak
Naomi Peak seen from Castle Rock Peak

Essential Gear

A topo map is recommended especially if you haven't hiked in this area before. I just printed one from and it worked for me. A GPS isn't necessary but would be helpful if you have one. You'll need hiking boots for off trail hiking and scrambling. Take basic day hiking gear, first aid kit, food and water. There is no water on route except near the trailhead at Tony Grove Lake so carry it all with you. Bring sunscreen since you will be hiking in the open much of the time.