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Mount Shasta and surrounding area including McCloud River Falls and Lake Siskiyou offer nature lovers plenty of choices for outdoor activities.
Over the memorial day break, our family took a quick trip to Redding California and visited nearby areas including Mount Shasta. We desperately wanted to spend some time in nature as we spend the majority of our time in our house cooking and filming. We missed hiking as a family since our Utah trip and it was perfect timing as Lassen Volcanic National Park was just opening their roads through the park that weekend.
We had a fun filled 4 days and we’ll be sharing our experiences over the next few weeks in case you want to visit.
For this travel series, we’ll share the following posts:
- Lake Shasta Caverns
- Mount Shasta and nearby areas
- Lassen Volcanic National Park
- Activities to do around Redding California
Watch Mount Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park Travel Highlights
Our family explored Northern California including Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mount Shasta, and nearby areas and fell in love with the scenery and nature.
Mount Shasta and Surrounding Areas
Mount Shasta is located in Northern California and it’s the 5th highest peak in California. There are scenic hiking trails and summiting the peak is also popular with visitors. Before you go, contact the Mt Shasta Visitors Bureau to understand what is the current snow condition. Most trails on the mountain are open from June through October and closed during the rest of the year due to snow.
It takes about 1 hour to drive to Mount Shasta from Redding where we stayed. When we arrived at Mount Shasta, it was still early in the day and clouds covered most of the mountain and we couldn’t see it at all. Our first stop in the town was the visitor’s bureau to understand what else we can check out in the area while the clouds clear up. The visitors bureau was super helpful and recommended McCloud Falls, Mt. Shasta Hatchery, Lake Siskiyou, other nearby spots. Time to explore!
McCloud River Falls
McCloud Falls are about 25 min (19 miles) drive from Mt Shasta Visitors Bureau to the east. There are 3 falls visitors can view, Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls and they are connected by a hiking trail that runs along the McCloud River. We parked at McCloud River Falls Trailhead by the Lower Falls and hiked up to the middle falls. The trail is not paved but it is an easy hike.
Stairs from the trailhead to the McCloud River Lower Falls.
The trail runs through the woods and along the McCloud River.
Mt. Shasta Hatchery
After hiking the McCloud River Falls, we headed back towards Mount Shasta and the next destination was the Mt. Shasta Hatchery. It is the oldest operating hatchery west of the Mississippi with different species of trouts. At the hatchery, they have free fish feed for visitors to feed the trouts. Our kids had so much fun running around the different ponds and feeding. There is Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum right next to the hatchery visitors can stop by as well.
Not far from the hatchery is Lake Siskiyou, a reservoir that offers plenty of outdoor activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking. We took a quick hike on the trail surroudning the lake and crossed Wagon Creek pedestrian bridge to take in the lake and surrounding views.
Our next stop was the Castle Lake about 15 min drive from Lake Siskiyou. Though it looks like a normal lake, Castle Lake has been used to study trout stocking and algae growth by the government and universities since 1930’s. On the road to Castle Lake, we can see the clouds has began to clear from Mount Shasta.
In the early afternoon when the clouds finally cleared, we headed for hiking on Mount Shasta.
The trail we hiked was Bunny Flat Trail. The complete trail is quite long and goes from 6,900 to 7,900 feet. Since the altitude is quite high, hiking the trail is a bit strenuous.
There was still plenty of snow near the trail in late May. We hiked for almost 2 hours but didn’t make it to the end of the trail which was still heavily covered in snow.
Mount Shasta City Park
As the sun was setting, we made a quick stop at Mount Shasta City Park based on the visitor bureau’s recommendation. Inside the park is the Big Spring, one of the starting points for Upper Sacramento River. There were folks with buckets and bottles collecting the spring water. The spring water is from the melted snow and glacier on top of Mount Shasta filtered through lava rocks over decades.
We only had a day to spend in the Mount Shasta area and could have easily spent 2-3 days and take our time to thoroughly enjoy the different activities. Let us know if you visit and what you think. We’ll see you soon in the next post, Lassen Volcanic National Park.