Hiking Castle Rock at Blue Mountain Lake
Let me start off by saying - what a fun hike! And wow I never knew how beautiful Blue Mountain lake was until this hike.
This is a moderate level trail, with a very easy start. You start off the hike on a gravel road which leads to the trail head. There are two ways of hiking this trail - you can take the red trail to yellow trail which we read was supposed to be steeper and a little more scramble at the top or a different trail, which meandered by a pond up to the summit. We also read that there was a blue trail which brought you down to the lake (so many options!)
We opted to take the red to yellow trail for a bit of a challenge up to the summit - and I'm VERY glad we did.
There is a fork in the path which reads "summit" or "pond", continue on the "summit" trail to reach the summit which is where the red trail transitions into the YELLOW trail. I believe it marked that it was only 1.4 miles up to the top. Short but very fun!
The first mile is honestly all meandering trails through the woods, peaceful, fun, pretty...and then there's a little incline. It wasn't anything crazy, moderate level grade, not very rocky just lots of dirt.
When you clear this incline, you reach a section where the summit is following the trail to the left - but if you want a bit of adventure make sure you check out the rock formations right in front of you.
It looks like the trail bears to the right, but really it's just very worn out from all the people exploring- and I totally get why..
The rock formations actually formed a few caves, which you can easily prop yourself up into and climb in. There's a few entrances to each of the caves - some are steeper than others and in one spot you have to squeeze your body through (this entrance was NOT for me).
But once inside they are truly really neat. I would say this is a must stop and see on this trail, because it's so unique and beautiful.
Once you're done taking a little exploring break - continue up to the left where there is a yellow arrow on the rock pointing to the summit, you really can't miss it.
This is your final scramble to the summit. It's a little steep with some rocky spots but nothing crazy and then you actually finish it off by squeezing your body through two massive boulders.
The summit is nothing but breathtaking. It isn't large but it showcases some stunning views of the lake. We sat and soaked in the views while eating lunch.
After you enjoy the summit, you come back down the steep rock scramble and then approach the fork in the trail. This is where you can choose to continue back the way you came or you can loop around the pond for a few extra miles.
We opted to go back the way we came because we wanted to finish off the day with a dip in the lake on the blue trail.
You follow the trail all the way back to that first crossroads and if you take a sharp right, you'll see the blue trail marker. From this spot it takes about .2 miles to get to the clearing down by the lake. We had the lake all to ourselves, so we changed into our suits and took a nice swim, had a cold beer and relaxed down by the lake.
We hiked the .2 miles back to the trail and then finished back in the parking lot, clocking in our mileage right around 2.8 miles. Not a long hike at all but definitely one I would highly recommend.
Filled with beautiful views, fun caves and finished off with a lake swim? What more could you ask for. Check it out! I know I'll be back.