It was a hot, smoky day in the Sierras. So we shortened our original hiking plans and did a 7-mile loop from Castle Pass to Basin Peak (9015 ft), via Round Valley on the way out and the Castle Peak ridge on the return. Accidentally found an old trail approaching Basin Peak from the North, which made this a good way to get to the summit. It was a poor day for views because of the smoke from various wildfires in Nevada and California, but a very good day for wildflowers.
Basin Peak is on the Tahoe OGUL peak list.
Trailhead: We drove up the Castle Pass road to the Hole-In-One bike trailhead. High-clearance vehicle required, higher-clearance and 4WD if you want to go all the way to the end of the road just below Castle Pass. Alternatives: Frontage road on the north side of I-80 at the Castle Peak/Boreal exit, or the PCT Trailhead parking area on the south side (adds three miles one-way to Castle Pass along the PCT).
7.22 mi (3.44 mi uphill, 3.03 mi downhill, 0.70 mi flat)
1889 ft total ascent – 15.1 % uphill grade, 57.9 % downhill grade
4:42:00 total time (4:04:48 moving, 0:37:12 stopped)
0:33:52 pace (1.8 mph average speed, 8.3 mph max speed)
15.612 difficulty, 27.757 effort
GeoLocator for latitude 39.3502884 longitude -120.3591003