The Incredible Castle Crags… Hiking from Etna Summit to Castle Crags: Section P of the PCT, Part 3

One of our first views of the Crags, which are indeed craggy.


For those of you who are following me along on my journey, I am now in the Northern California town of Chester, having finished hiking through Lassen National Park. I just ate four pieces of French Toast, two eggs, two sausage patties and half of Peggy’s garlic french fries. I’m ready to blog!

Actually, when you read this post, I should be nearing the town of Belden on the Feather River, which will be close to my halfway mark! Peggy and I are planning to take a break for a few days there, which should allow me to get caught up on the blog.

But for today, I want to introduce you to Castle Crags, a massive hunk of carved granite that sits beside Interstate 5. I’ve been passing and admiring it from the highway for decades. It is totally different to see it from the Pacific Crest Trail. My nephew, Jay, and I experienced it as we dropped several thousand feet down to I-5 on an 18 plus mile day. The views and photography helped me forget my aching feet.

The Crags are noted for their white granite.

A photo showing how dramatic the spires can be.

And a closer view.

As we dropped down, the Crags took on a different look.

Again, closer.

The trail down also provided this dramatic view of Mt. Shasta with its interesting cloud.

Early the next morning provided this view.

Followed by this…

A final view from the trail.

And this was Peggy’s view from where she was staying at the Railroad Resort RV Park. No climbing up or down involved. (grin)


35 thoughts on “The Incredible Castle Crags… Hiking from Etna Summit to Castle Crags: Section P of the PCT, Part 3

  1. It looks to me like you managed to capture a lenticular cloud — they’re interesting, and relatively common around Mt. Shasta. The scenery’s just gorgeous, and it tickles me that you’re going to pause at the Feather River. For whatever reason, it’s always appealed to me in an almost mythic way. It must have been part of a story I don’t remember — but now it’s part of your story!

    • Heavy smoke led me away from the Feather River, Linda, at least temporally. The mythic will have to wait. (Not that it is lacking out on the trail.) And there is a site on Mt. Shasta that frequently posts photos of lenticular clouds. Pretty amazing. –Curt

  2. California is a huge state, but I still find myself looking at the fire maps as well as, in this case, Chester and Belden. Glad they are not too close to you.
    Great photos as always. The view of Mt. Shasta with the trail, in particular, made me want to be hiking there too.

  3. Still with you even through ever so slightly blurry eyes! That does look like a lenticular cloud or something resembling one over Shasta! I would be beside myself to see such a thing! 😀

  4. Hi there! The universe works in crazy ways I guess. Today is Tuesday July 31st and I came to Barnes and Noble in Reno to look for a book about the PCT. I found one in the store and came out to my car and just as I was about to leave I looked up and realized I was parked next to a white van that says “Pleasure-Way.” I thought to myself “That sounds interesting!” I then looked at the back of it and saw “Follow Curt’s blog as he hikes the PCT”. That’s so awesome!!! It was meant to be I guess that I parked where I did when I came in to B&N to look for a PCT book 😁 I am about to start medical school and although it has been a dream of mine to hike the thru trail, I do not know how long it will be before I can actually do it. But you give me hope! Good luck to you!


    • What a fun story, Denise. Thanks for checking in and telling it. My wife Peggy had just dropped me at Carson Pass and I was making my way south to Sonora Pass. She was shopping for books at B&N as well. Hope you make the trail some day and good luck in medical school. –Curt

    • I’ve been seeing the Crags for years as I make my way up and down I-5, and I have always been impressed. But never so much as I was hiking down through them. There is nothing like seeing the world on foot! 🙂 –Curt

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