The Castle Mountains are an island mountain range located just east of White Sulphur Springs in Central Montana. The Castle Mountains are not the steep chiseled peaks encountered in other areas of the state. Rather, they are more rounded and not as severe with the highest peaks being about 8,000 ft in elevation. However, the forested hillsides of the Castles make them a favorite destination for hikers and hunters.
Access to the Castles is rather limited. The mountains are all National Forest land but the lands surrounding the mountains are privately owned. Fortunately, a public road runs through the national forest and provides opportunities for access.
Castle Mountain Camping
There are two developed forest service campgrounds about a mile apart on Fourmile Creek Road (Forest Service Road #211) about ten miles from White Sulphur Springs.
Grasshopper Campground is the first encountered as you drive from White Sulphur Springs and is the larger and more developed of the two. It sports about a half dozen or ten sites and has water available. This campground is preferred by those who are in campers and RV’s. There is a moderate nightly camping fee.
Richardson Campground at 5,500ft elevation is much smaller with only two or three campsites. There is no water but there is a single pit toilet. This area is all on a slight hill and it can be difficult to find good level parking areas for campers. Unfortunately, it can also be hard to find good level tent sites. However, this campground receives much less use and generally provides better solitude.
The Castle Mountains are very popular with hunters so keep that in mind if you plan a camping trip here. During both archery and rifle hunting seasons the campgrounds almost always have groups of hunters, some of whom host elaborate and extensive camps. These are great people that really enjoy the out-of-doors in their own way but they often consider four wheelers and generators to be a necessary part of their camping experience.
Castle Mountain Hiking
The hiking in the Castle Mountains is good but there are not a lot of trails. However, there are trailheads from both of the campgrounds. There is a great ten-mile out and back hike described in Hiking Montana that will take you to the highest points in the mountains. Along this trail, you will get a great idea of the terrain that makes the Castles special.
There is a network of trails that loop through the heart of the Castle Mountains. Backpackers can plan a multi-day trip through the Castles visiting areas that few hikers ever get to.
Castle Ghost Town
The Castle Mountains are home to one of the historic mining areas of Montana and the mining ghost town of Castle is located on the south side of the range. There is a road that travelers right through the original town site and it is an interesting area. All of the lands surrounding the ghost town are posted private property and there is no excuse for trespassing. Look at the ruins from the road but please respect the property owners and do not leave the road right-of-way.
You can learn more about Castle Ghost Town in Ghost Towns of Montana: A Classic Tour Through The Treasure State’s Historical Sites
The Castle Mountains make a great off-the-beaten-path camping destination complete with mountain meadows, forested trails, and lots of wildlife.
Here are some suggestions for other places to visit in the area.