Mount Shasta’s breathtaking, snowcapped peaks attract sports enthusiasts, mystical New Agers and nature-loving families. Nestled at Mount Shasta’s base lies a trio of mountain towns: Dunsmuir, Mount Shasta City and McCloud are infused with that wholesome mountain vibe and host outdoorsy travelers with a slew of excellent amenities. From scenic drives to day hikes, mountain biking to river rafting and skiing, there are myriad ways to interact with Mount Shasta. Thought to be at the apex of an extraordinary energy vortex, Mount Shasta also purveys every conceivable New Age trend from yoga retreats to metaphysics symposiums.
Signature California Peak
Located on Interstate 5, 274 miles north of San Francisco and 60 miles south of the Oregon border, the snow-covered volcanic peaks of Mount Shasta soar 14,179 feet to form the defining geographic feature of the Northern California and southern Oregon Cascade Range. Surrounded by the pristine wilderness of Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the city of Mount Shasta lies 9 miles southwest of the summit. On average, there are 229 sunny days per year in Mount Shasta. The July high is around 86 degrees, while the January low is 28 degrees.
Climbing the Volcano
Travelers who don’t wish to climb Mount Shasta can take the 14-mile scenic drive on Everitt Memorial Highway (A10), which makes a breathtaking ascent to the highest point on the mountain that is accessible by car. A fine bookend to active days, the streets of downtown Mount Shasta are dotted with eclectic boutiques, souvenir shops, locally run markets, artsy coffee houses and a variety of restaurants. Just over an hour’s drive south, the old mining town of Shasta (different from Shasta City) is now a state historic park that preserves the ruins of an 1850s gold rush mining town. Visitors can tour a restored general store and a Masonic hall and the local museum, housed inside an 1861 courthouse.
With its vibrant diversity of landscapes, the Mount Shasta region’s extensive hiking and biking trails range from tame strolls through valleys dotted with cattle ranches to hairy descents deep into subterranean lava tubes and steep climbs to turquoise alpine lakes. The 9-mile Sisson-Callahan National Recreation Trail boasts magnificent scenery and excellent wildlife-watching for deer, eagles and black bear. Access to the fabled McCloud River waterfalls, one of the area’s top attractions, has been facilitated by the construction of a 3.8-mile out-and-back trail that connects the lower, middle and upper falls. About an hour’s drive south of Mount Shasta, Lake Shasta draws water sports lovers to its 370 miles of shoreline. Bass, catfish and crappie bite here.
Mount Shasta Dam and Power Plant
Just over an hour’s drive from Mount Shasta, the monumental Mount Shasta Dam dates from 1945. Measuring 3,460 feet long, 602 feet high and 883 feet thick at its base, the Shasta Dam is an engineering marvel. The dam backs up water for more than 35 miles to form Lake Shasta.
For More Information
Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center