Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Out and About Around Mt. Shasta


Our five nights here at Lake Shastina during the busy Memorial Day weekend have been amazingly peaceful. The cats and I have especially enjoyed watching all of the birds early in the morning.

This is why we love our big Lazy Daze windows.



On our first day here we stopped at the Mt. Shasta ranger station to get some information about hiking in the area. We wanted to do a hike on Mt. Shasta itself, but with the normal snowfall this year most of the trails are still covered in snow. As it turned out, hiking away from the mountain gave us a better chance to actually see it, rather than be on it.

So we settled for the Lake Siskiyou Trail, starting at the Wagon Creek Bridge. The mostly level seven mile trail encircles the entire lake, but the ranger told us the temporary bridges on the west side were not in place yet so we may not be able to cross to make the loop.


We followed the scenic trail west along the north side of the lake.




Then in a couple miles we came to a creek crossing over logs where one of the temporary bridges will be placed. Following that we were stopped by the Sacramento River’s inlet into Lake Siskiyou.


Jim watching a crazy mountain biker carrying his bike through the river.


The water was deep and the current strong so he had a really hard time getting across. This is where we decided to turn around.


Wagon Creek bridge and Mt. Shasta on the way back. This is a really nice easy trail.



One day we just took a walk around Lake Shastina, and that afternoon decided to finally do some laundry. We’re about 8 miles from Weed, CA, where the only laundromat is now closed, so we had to go to Mt. Shasta City, another 7 miles farther south. I decided this would be a good time to drive a little farther to another place the ranger recommended, Castle Lake. We started up the trail to Heart Lake, supposedly about 1.2 miles, but I failed to read about the trail and how steep and rocky it was. We had our low top trail shoes on and did not bring our hiking poles, and were not even sure we were on the right trail, so after about three quarters of a mile we gave up.




We also visited a unique place 13 miles from Weed, the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden. It was a fitting place to visit on Memorial Day weekend, as the sculptures are a tribute to all veterans and very well done. Here are just a few. You can see more photos and descriptions of all the sculptures here.

DSC05310                            P1040577





For our final hike in the area we decided to attempt the trail up the lava dome to the 6,334’ summit of Black Butte, a well-known landmark seen while traveling I-5 between Mt Shasta and Weed.


The Black Butte trail is 2.6 miles of steady uphill, gaining over 1,800’ of elevation.


The uphill wasn’t nearly as difficult as we thought it would be, probably because we were so intent on watching our every footstep for the rocks. And trying not to have a panic attack over the exposure, as almost the entire trail is right along the edge of huge drop-offs.

Starting off nice and easy.


But soon it is like this for almost the entire way.


They aren’t kidding!


There was a lot of stopping for photos, a welcome break from the rocks and uphill climb.




I only twisted my ankle once, and luckily my foot got wedged in a rock and couldn’t turn any farther.


The last part is narrow switchbacks that are especially exposed. Neither of us liked this part, but we knew we were almost to the top.




Jim at the summit, just taking in the magnificent views. He had a particularly good day on the trail, maybe due to the energy vortex of Mt. Shasta.


This flat rock at the summit is the former foundation of a forest service fire lookout that was relocated in 1973.


Mount Shasta in all its 14,180’ glory.


The Eddy range and Mount Shasta City.


Coming back down the trail we could see the switchbacks. The trail barely looks wide enough for a foot. It’s not a place you want to trip or slip and fall. We were very careful!


Despite this being a challenging trail, I would highly recommend it for a relatively short hike that gives you so much spectacular scenery. We really like this area, particularly Mt. Shasta City,  (Weed leaves a bit to be desired) and there is much to see and do, but it would be better in the late summer/early fall when all the trails are accessible.

Today we’re moving on to Ashland, OR.


  1. Wonder if California is the only state with a city named "Weed" ??? The Memorial Garden is a great stop any day, but on Memorial Day! Kudos to you.

    Take your time thru the Siskiyou, it's a fabulous drive.
    Safe Travels

  2. What a fabulous day you had, great photos.

  3. I love Mt. Shasta! Like Jim, I could just stare at the mountain for hours. What a gorgeous hike! Thanks for sharing so many beautiful photos.
    Living Memorial Sculpture Garden is awesome.

  4. What a beautiful mountain! We've only driven by Mount Shasta. Such a spectacular site from the Black Butte Trail...Wow! That trail reminds me of the trail up to Wheeler Peak in Great Basin NP. Same continuous rocky trail. Glad you both made it to the top. Well, worth the effort:)

  5. Looks like you had a great time at Lake Shastina! Sorry you didn't make it to Heart Lake -- it's one of our favorite places in the summer for wildflowers. It's worth another trip (a bit later in the year) to return to hike on Shasta and also Mt. Eddy. Congratulations on conquering Black Butte! You asked about things to do in Ashland -- if you want to email me through our blog I'll send you some ideas. I don't have your email address. :-)

  6. I had no idea that Black Butte had a trail...and it looks like it's all black lava rock. That hike would make me very nervous. Congrats !

  7. A nice mix of easy and difficult hikes. Gotta keep that acrophobic demon in his place once in a while... I think in another 5 years he'll be out of your hair. :))
    Box Canyon

  8. Very nice pictures of Mt. Shasta and the Black Butte trail. Gets my need for a high altitude fix going. Enjoy your travels while in Oregon and keep us updated with those wonderful trail hiking pictures.

  9. We too liked Mt Shasta City and we only walked the town a little and went to the brewery and drove around a little...cute! I'd definitely return to explore the area further, looks like you found some great diversions.

  10. The water is so pretty - and precious! While the views are indeed spectacular, all those rocks don't look like much fun for hiking. Glad you were up and back safely! Absolutely wonderful sculptures, especially the flute player and dancer.

  11. Glorious views on your hikes. Love this post.

  12. Just wanted to let you know I sent you an email re: hikes and other good stuff in Ashland. Not sure I had your correct email address…hope so! Have fun! :-)

  13. Bummer about Weed but that hike more than makes up for a pitiful town. Those views of Shasta are fabulous but the the trail looks a little dicey. Enjoy Oregon.

  14. Lake Shastina is a great spot. That hike up Black Butte would not be for me.

  15. The views from that trail look worth the effort. We will have to keep this one in mind if ever we are in the area.