Peak:  Castle Peak (14er)
 Route:  Northeast Ridge
 Range:  Elk
 Posted By:  tsmith1007
 Date of Info:  08/01/2020
 Date Posted:  08/03/2020

My wife and I took my 2019 Ford Edge (~8" Clearance) about 2.6 miles up from the 2WD trail head, we parked right before the wood bridge. After the bridge it gets a little hairier, but after hiking it I think we could have gone a bit further. The creek crossing was no big deal, just take it slow when going down and up the banks. There was only one place in the road where we scrapped on the way out, this could have been avoided if I took a better line. Overall the trail is in good condition, early in the morning it might be a little easier to put on microspikes to climb up the slick snow about 30 min past the 4WD trail head. But, we took our time and made it up without them. On the way back down Conundrum we decided, after watching some others do it, to take the trail down from the saddle of Castle and Conundrum. Probably not the best idea looking back at it, as it was full of loose dirt and rocks and the snow at the bottom was very slick and slushy around 11am. We both put on our microspikes for this section which I believe made it a little easier and reassuring on the loose dirt. If you do go this route make sure to take your time and give anyone ahead of your amble amount of time to complete the climb down before starting. As the easiest way down is a perfect funnel for all of the loose rocks that break free. We started the hike at 3:45am and finished around 1:15pm. Overall it was a great hike with perfect weather.

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