The Castle is situated in the Tatoosh Range in Mt Rainier National Park. It is a good peak to learn or practice fifth-class climbing in a mountain environment and provides amazing views of Mt. Rainier, Mt Adams, and Mt. St. Helens. The summit is composed of two roughly parallel ridges and can be reached by 2 miles of trail and a short scramble. The true summit is the northernmost ridge and can be climbed via any of the numerous cracks and chimneys on the Southeast side. A great afternoon climb.
Take Interstate 5 to exit 68. Turn east onto US highway 12 and continue for 30 miles to Morton and state highway 7. Take highway 7 North to a juntion in the small town of Elbe. Turn right and follow this road through Ashford into Rainier National Park. There are signs for Mt. Rainier National Park at nearly every junction.
To reach the West entrance by Longmire, take highway 7 from Tacoma 35 miles South to Elbe. At the junction, follow the signs to Mt. Rainier National Park and drive East about 15 miles to the park entrance.
Once inside the park, follow the main road to Longmire and continue East past the turn off to Paradise and onto Steven's Canyon Road. The Castle is in the Tatoosh Range immediately East of Pinnacle Peak. The stardard route begins at the Reflection Lakes Trailhead.
A $10 fee or park pass is required to enter Mt. Rainier National Park. Once inside the park, you do not need to pay to climb any of the peaks in the Tatoosh Range. Camping is regulated, but there are several pay and free sites to choose from in the park.
When To Climb
This peak can be climbed year-round. Early season climbers will find the approach completely snow covered and will probably want crampons an ice axe. By late summer, the trail and route are completely melted out.
Camping in Mt. Rainier National Park is regulated by the National Park Service. There are many campgrounds within park boundaries - some pay, some free. There are also limited backcountry camping permits available.
The best resource for wilderness camping information is the Longmire Ranger Station. Stop by there on your way into the park and the rangers there will let you know exactly what camping is available. There are a handful of trailside campgrounds in the area or you can obtain a permit for backcountry and alpine camping. Permits for all wilderness camping are free and can be obtained at any ranger station during the summer. During the winter, the Longmire Museum is the only place open and they will set you up with a permit. Click here for more information on wilderness camping.
Mount Rainier National Park has 6 car-camping areas with a total of 600 sites that are open during the summer months. Sunshine Point campground is the only car-campground open year round. Fees to use these facilities are from $9 to $15 per night. Click here for more information on car camping in the area.