Explore Mount Shasta

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Black Butte casts a large shadow toward the base of Mount Shasta. | Jenn Sheridan

Mount Shasta is a great option for a quick, fall escape from the Tahoe Basin, and the drive to get there is an adventure in itself. Enjoy the sites including Mount Lassen during a leisurely cruise through the green forests of Northern California but make sure to have your necessities covered. This remote trip includes a long stretch of driving with no cell phone services miles away from civilization. Here are some of my favorite outings from a native of Mount Shasta:

On two wheels
Plenty of options exist for the two-wheeled traveller. The Lake Siskiyou Loop is 7-miles of single track, gravel road and short, paved sections that circumnavigate the lake. This trail is great for riders of all abilities. Enjoy views of Mount Shasta as it peaks over the lake.

“Fall is the last opportunity to visit the Sierra Club Cabin at Horse Camp on Mount Shasta before the snow falls.”

The Gateway Trail is a 10-mile, multi-use, cross-country trail network with constant elevation changes, flowing turns and short sections of steep descents or climbs. The trail starts at 3,943 feet and climbs to a high point of 4,375 feet. Despite only a 450-foot difference in elevation between the trailhead and maximum elevation, riders will be physically challenged by constant rollers, steep bursts and never-ending turns. Road bikers will also enjoy the variety of options with great views.

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Danny Jones takes in the view of Mount Eddy from the west side of Black Butte. | Jenn Sheridan

On foot
Fall is the last opportunity to visit the Sierra Club Cabin at Horse Camp on Mount Shasta before the snow falls. Park at Bunny Flat along Everitt Memorial Highway and follow the trail for a 1,000-ft. climb to the cabin. From here, enjoy views of the most popular route used to summit Mount Shasta via Avalanche Gulch.

Sleeping in the cabin is not permitted but guests may enjoy camping in the surrounding area.

Black Butte, the prominent cinder cone seen flanking Mount Shasta on the west side is a great day hike, as well, but you may need a map to find the trailhead. The hike climbs 1,800 feet in 5.2 miles. There is no shade, so dress appropriately and bring plenty of water. It can often be windy at the summit. Hikers are rewarded with 360-degree views of Mount Shasta City, Weed and, of course, the mountain itself.

Lake Siskiyou is a popular stop in Mount Shasta because of its easy accessibility, however a short drive past the Lake Siskiyou Dam brings adventurers to Castle Lake where the Castle Lake Trail provides 11 miles of hiking options. The full route takes hikers to the top of Mount Bradley. Several shorter detours are well worth the trip including a stop at Heart Lake or Little Castle Lake for stunning views of Mount Shasta and Black Butte.

McCloud Falls
Before you leave town, stop at McCloud Falls located on Highway 89 east of the town of McCloud. This quick detour provides stunning views of three cascading waterfalls along the McCloud River.

If you go, here’s some eateries to add to your list: Seven Suns Café for breakfast and coffee; enjoy lunch at Say Cheese Pizza; and stop for dinner and local brews at Dunsmuir Brewery Works or Mount Shasta Brewing Company.

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Jenn Sheridan
Jenn is a freelance writer using words, photos and digital media to connect people to the outdoors.