Camping and driving around Mount Shasta

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Located in the Siskiyou County, California, Mount Shasta is a vision of immensity dominating the landscape for centuries and visible for more than 100 miles from parts of Northern California and southern Oregon. American Indians of the Shasta, Klamath, Pit, Modoc and Wintu tribes have honored the mountain as sacred and still carry out rituals in honor of the mountain and it’s spiritual power 

Before you visit:

  • Some of the best photography spots suggested in this area are – Lake Siskiyou (sis-q) at Sunset, McCloud Falls which includes Upper, Lower and Middle McCloud Falls at Sunrise, Mossbrae and Burney Falls.
  •  The weather in Mt. Shasta has to be on your side, though. Sometimes Mt. Shasta wants to come out and say hello, sometimes he does not.

One of the best ways to get to know this region is by getting into the outdoors, whether it’s to climb the massive snow-capped stratovolcano, camp in miles of national forest or hike on the many trails. We didn’t plan on doing any intense hikes in this trip and mostly just drove around the area.

We started our drive from San Francisco before sunrise and it took us around 3.5 hrs to get to our first stop – Castle Crags State Park.

STOP 1: Castle Crags State Park

Gaze up at the imposing granite ramparts at the heart of Castle Crags State Park! It not only boasts some of the state’s most striking views, but also offers many exciting outdoor activities for visitors such as hiking trails, fishing, Geocaching and Rock climbing. There is an 8$ entrance fees (even if you are driving up to the vista point).

STOP 2: McCloud Falls

McCloud River Falls Trail is an easy 4-mile round trip that features three spectacular waterfalls. The trail begins near the Lower Falls and follows the river upstream to the Middle Falls. The steepest part of the trail is to the Middle Falls overlook, where hikers have views of Mount Shasta, Castle Crags, and other local mountains to the west.

Below is Middle Falls and its the largest in height. Also one of the most breathtaking waterfalls I have ever seen.

STOP 3: Lake Siskiyou

Lake Siskiyou is a small beautiful lake located just west of the town of Lake Shasta City in northern California at the southwest base of Mount Shasta off of Interstate 5. It’s a great place to kayak, paddle board and has a generous beach, and food. You can catch a view of Mount Shasta and its reflection in the lake. Well worth the paid entrance… 

STOP 4: Mossbrae Falls

After two trespassing (through the Shasta Retreat and Union Pacific’s railroad) and a mile’s hike, enjoy one of the prettiest sights in the Shasta area. Mossbrae Falls is actually a series of springs that burst from the cliffs above the Sacramento River and then rain down into the water. It’s composed of two primary clusters of spring-fed waterfalls, which reach about 50 feet high and 150 feet wide. 

Just be warned the river water is cold and it is deeper than it looks. You may choose to admire the magical falls from the distance or get a front row seat on the large boulders along the banks.

After a pretty exhausting day, we went straight to our beautiful, rustic hipcamp, had a few chilled drinks with friends and dozed off comfortably. 🙂

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