Six Toe Rock is one of the principle formations of Castle Crags - a collection of granite spires sitting in the shadow of Mount Shasta. The formation consists of three buttresses lying along the south-north direction and separated by narrow gullies. Most of the climbing is done on the south east face of the southernmost buttress but two documented routes exist on the western face of the northermost (and highest) formation. Difficulty of the routes (published routes) on the formation varies from 5.6 (Easy Street
) to 5.11a R/X (No Mercy
, northernmost formation). Rock is solid on the more popular routes (marked with *
Currently listed summit elevation is a rough guesstimate.
Castle Crags are located approximately 70 miles south of the Oregon/California state line along interstate 5 (or approx. 50 miles north of Redding, CA). From I5, take the Castella exit (also marked "Castle Crags State Park"). Note that the exits on interstate highway 5 in California are now numbered; the exit you want is #724. From the exit ramp, drive west a few hundred yards till you see the "guard booth" for the state park.
Stop here and pay either the day use fee ($8/day/car, self-issued - thanks for update Rob
!) or secure the camp site reservation. Past the entrance, make a right and follow the winding road through the campground and past a trailer turn-around loop (follow signs for Castle Crags overlook). Continue to road's end at the Castle Crags overlook parking lot (no parking 8pm to 6am....not sure how strictly enforced this rule is).
From the trailhead, hike back down the road you just drove up for about 200 yards. Pick up the signed trail (Castle Dome Trail) on the right. Hike the trail for about 10 minutes passing the signed Root Creek Trail branchoff on the right. Few minutes later, Castle Dome Trail intersects the PCT - continue straight on the Castle Dome Trail eventually passing a boundary marker for Castle Crags Wilderness. About 45 minutes from the trailhead you will pass Indian Springs Trail on the left. Stay on the main trail as it heads toward the first view point of Castle Dome
. The trail then switchbacks up eventually passing through a rock "portal" (steep walls on both sides immediately next to trail). Six Toe Rock (southernmost buttress) is about 50 yards uphill above the trail on the left. If you miss it, keep hiking towards Castle Dome
and look back. You should be able to see Six Toe Rock behind you. At this point it'll be clear where you need to head back.
Castle Crags are accessed from Castle Crags State Park. A $4.00 day use fee (self issued at the entrance to park) is required.
When To Climb
Castle Crags can be accessed year-round though you will need to hike in over snow . Ideally, spring (April) to fall (November or when first snows arrive) is the best time to visit the Crags. Summer temperatures presumably get very warm.
State park operates a campground. Self-issue fee envelopes are available at the entrance. The campground most likely fills up on summer weekends so get there as early as you can.
MOUNT SHASTA RANGER STATION
204 W. Alma St.
Mount Shasta, CA 96067
Tel: (530) 926-4511
CASTLE CRAGS STATE PARK
P.O. Box 80
Castella, CA 96017-0080
Tel #1: (530) 235-2684
Tel #2: (530) 225-2065
Nearby Weather Report: Mount Shasta Weather Underground page
Mountain Conditions information taken from John
's Castle Dome
page with permission.
The two listed books both include route descriptions on this formation. They both also seem somewhat inaccurate. For example, Davis' book claims that the crux of Six Toe Crack comes early on P1. I would not agreee with this. While the opening moves of P1 do involve some thin face move (2 moves), they are much much easier than the 20 foot OW that caps P2. Mackay guidebook includes two routes on the northernmost buttress of Six Toe Rock that are not described in Davis' book. All in all, both guidebooks are probably out of date - the area could use a better one.