Lighthearted to Heart Lake
You'll be amazed by the views you will receive for just a 1.2 mile slightly rocky (sometimes icy) stroll up the hill to Heart Lake which lies by a ridge overlooking Castle Lake.
The trail splits into several possible routes about halfway up, these alternate paths are formed by snow melt and hikers following what has developed into many good-looking routes. Try to stay on the main path as best you can, but as long as you are increasing in elevation and heading in the right direction you'll meet up with the main trail again before it turns towards Heart Lake.
Be careful if there is snow on the ground, especially if it is icy and slippery. This is probably an easier hike after the snow has melted. A great place to visit in the late summer or in the autumn before snow fall.
I don't have much information about the history of Heart or Castle Lake. I hear Castle Lake has been used for ice skating in the winters.
The hike itself is uphill, sometimes rocky, but fairly easy. As mentioned in the warning, you will likely question whether you are on the main trail as you approach. Stay confident and follow the best looking trail you can, all of them will eventually meet up near Heart Lake. There is one side trail to watch out for that leads to Little Castle Lake about halfway up the trail. Take a look at your map and familiarize yourself with the route before this hike. Little Castle Lake can be a nice place to visit if you choose.
I highly recommend continuing to hike past Heart Lake about a quarter mile farther to find a great viewpoint overlooking Castle Lake with Mt. Shasta in the background. If you are looking for a further challenge, you can hike farther up along the ridge and reach the peak overlooking both Heart Lake and Castle Lake.
Castle Lake and Heart Lake
There is a camping area near the Castle Lake trail head. I have also seen people camping near Heart Lake.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.