Castle Creek trailhead

Trailhead condition requests, questions, alerts, etc.
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okeefemb
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Castle Creek trailhead

Post by okeefemb » Mon May 03, 2021 12:32 pm

Hi All,

I will be hiking Castle/Conundrum in early July. I have read a plethora of trip reports and have a good idea of the drive required to get to certain parts of the trail but I'm hoping for some more specific info on driving as far up the trailhead as safely possible. I'm curious to see how far folks typically drive up the road in summer conditions. Assuming the water crossing is manageable, how feasible is it to make it up to Pearl Pass junction in a stock 4runner (2019) with no add'l lift?

Thanks,
MO
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JChitwood
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Re: Castle Creek trailhead

Post by JChitwood » Mon May 03, 2021 6:16 pm

The latest I’ve been up there was early July and I’ve always parked at the creek crossing. They must have been high snow years because the crossing was practically a class IV rapid. If the water is low and you can make it across I would say a stock 4Runner could easily make the 2 miles or so to Pearl Pass Rd. You could probably make it to the end of Castle Creek Rd but a 2019 4Runner is a high value vehicle to tear up avoiding what amounts to an easy walk.
"I'll make it." - Jimmy Chitwood
NathanRL
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Re: Castle Creek trailhead

Post by NathanRL » Mon May 03, 2021 6:45 pm

When I was up there in September, there wasn't any snow and the creeks were low, but some guys in a Jeep Cherokee (Grand Cherokee?) blew a tire just shy of the junction IIRC. We saw them up high and they said they were hiking and hoping their spare would get on when they got back down, and by the time we got down to their car they were gone, so I guess they made it out all right. Plenty of good pulloffs above 10,500 though; no need to start from the end of the paved road unless you're driving a Prius like me!
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askwjs
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Re: Castle Creek trailhead

Post by askwjs » Mon May 03, 2021 6:53 pm

We parked at one of the designated camping areas about a mile in and just walked from there. You don't save much time by trying to drive up, just miles. We were slowing down for cars on our way down, truly not worth the wear and tear on your car.
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Trotter
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Re: Castle Creek trailhead

Post by Trotter » Mon May 03, 2021 9:07 pm

okeefemb wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 12:32 pm
Hi All,

I will be hiking Castle/Conundrum in early July. I have read a plethora of trip reports and have a good idea of the drive required to get to certain parts of the trail but I'm hoping for some more specific info on driving as far up the trailhead as safely possible. I'm curious to see how far folks typically drive up the road in summer conditions. Assuming the water crossing is manageable, how feasible is it to make it up to Pearl Pass junction in a stock 4runner (2019) with no add'l lift?

Thanks,
MO
Very feasible. Creek crossing is no joke during early summer though
After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. -Nelson Mandela
Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called Ego. -Nietzsche
okeefemb
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Re: Castle Creek trailhead

Post by okeefemb » Wed May 05, 2021 12:35 pm

:thumbup:
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Anima
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Re: Castle Creek trailhead

Post by Anima » Wed May 05, 2021 12:48 pm

I drive a stock 2008 4runner and have had no problem getting to the Pearl Pass Junction in August 2019 and September 2020. The creek crossing looks more intimidating than it actually is, just be careful to avoid some of the bigger submerged rocks and don't take it too fast. Besides a couple large and nasty potholes right before the junction—and there is parking for a handful of cars right before this—I'd imagine a stock 4runner could make it all the way to the end of the road. I've personally never driven that high since I prefer to get the arbitrary "3000ft of elevation gain" or whatever. Have fun, it's a beautiful area up there.
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9patrickmurphy
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Re: Castle Creek trailhead

Post by 9patrickmurphy » Wed May 05, 2021 12:56 pm

I drove my stock 4Runner up to the end of the road at Montezuma Basin. Would never do it again. The creek crossing was pretty easy in August 2019 (record snow year). Everything until the first switchback after the bridge was pretty easy. After that, it's a lot of careful line selection, and once you're above treeline it's just bouncy and obnoxious and easier to walk. I'd say don't go higher than the Pearl Pass junction, the creek crossing is a good starting point too.
Strider29
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Re: Castle Creek trailhead

Post by Strider29 » Wed May 12, 2021 10:09 am

I drove to the end of the road in September 2019 in a stock Wrangler Unlimited. Don't remember the creek crossing being particularly difficult, but it might be tougher earlier in the year. I felt the hardest part was the swichbacks just after the Pearl Pass junction. Lots of big rocks to deal with. Having said that, some guy made it up to the end in what appeared to be a fully stock GMC Jimmy pickup.
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