Discover the best things to do while visiting Mount Shasta, California. Hike through spring meadows, snowshoe across a frozen lake, and take in views of one of the cascade mountain range's tallest peaks. This visitors guide will help you plan for your future trip to Mount, Shasta during any season- where to stay, eat and adventure.
My husband and I have visited Mount Shasta several times, and it is certainly a place where you can visit year round and find something adventurous to do, especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast! In 2019, we got engaged at the stunning Castle Lake, and we love returning to the splendor of the mountains and trails that Mt.Shasta has to offer.
Mount Shasta is about four and a half hours from San Francisco and one hour from the Oregon state border. Ironically, I believe more Oregonians visit this stunning Northern California destination than Californians do!
For such a picturesque mountain town, the majority of the year it is generally non-touristy and peaceful. Visiting Mount Shasta is like stepping back in time; the little downtown streets are calm and full of little hole-in-the-wall eateries.
Why Should You Visit Mount Shasta?
People are drawn to this area for a variety of reasons. Mount Shasta features outdoor activities for all seasons, whether you prefer hiking, bicycling, or skiing. It's also known as one of the world's few spiritual vortexes, and Native Americans regard it as particularly sacred mountain.
Where to Stay in Mount Shasta?
Unlike Tahoe and Mammoth, there are no luxury hotels in this quaint mountain town, but there are some fantastic budget hotels for adventurous folks.
My favorite hotel in Mount Shasta is the newly renovated LOGE Camp Hotel, which boasts outdoor fire pits, a small cafe on site, commissary kitchen and stylish adventure themed rooms. The room is adorned with a hammock, s'mores kit, Yeti cooler and you can even rent equipment on-site for all the adventures you plan to take! We rented Snowshoes for $15 and in the summer time they have mountain bikes and a shuttle to bring you up to the mountain.
We stayed at LOGE Camps in Leavenworth, WA, which had private riverside cabins, and we loved it so much that we were thrilled to discover that they had added a location in Mount Shasta!
We have also stayed at the Best Western Tree House, which was a nice hotel. I wasn't expecting anything spectacular, but it had a wonderful cabin atmosphere and a bar on site that we enjoyed for a lovely little night cap, plus it's dog friendly, which is a great plus! From our bedroom, we had a pleasant view of Mt.Shasta, which was all I could ask for.
Lodging in Mount Shasta
What to Do in Mount Shasta?
Find the best Mount Shasta activities based on the season you want to visit.
The Best times to go hiking in Mount Shasta is the April-October when the snow has melted. Before heading out for a hike I recommend checking AllTrails to see what the conditions are like to make sure you are properly prepared.
Bunny Flat to Panther Meadow: A 7-mile out-and-back dog-friendly trail with a 1,354-foot elevation rise begins at Bunny Flat and loops around to Panther Meadows.
Heart Lake Trail From Castle Lake: Heart Lake is beautiful 2.4 mile hike, and makes for a great photo opportunity, the vistas of Mount Shasta from the lookout spots above the lake are breathtaking.
Spring Hill Trail: The 2.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
Tip: I recommend bringing a picnic lunch and stopping at Old Ski Bowl for a snack and to take in the sights on the Bunny Flat to Panther Meadow Trail. You'll see layered mountains, a twisting winding road, and a sea of trees...oh, and Mt Shasta will be right behind you.
Check out Drone Footage of Mount Shasta from our hike at Bunny Flat to Panther Meadows.
Mt. Shasta's surroundings are teeming with breathtaking cascading waterfalls. Early spring and summer are the ideal times to see Mount Shasta's waterfalls. Most trails in the area for exploring waterfalls are easily accessible and generally under 1 mile long.
Hedge Creek Falls
Hedge Creek Falls, located south of Mount Shasta, is a 35-foot waterfall that cascades into a forested gorge from a basalt overhang.
You might see a sign for Hedge Creek Falls on the side of the freeway on your way out of town; that's how we found this gorgeous cascade. They call it the "Million Dollar Waterfall" because they wanted to build over the falls before building the 1-5 freeway, but it was eventually preserved and the plans were rerouted, which cost a million dollars to create! I'm really pleased they preserved this waterfall after all because it's extremely unique in that you can walk behind it!
(Third Photo Pictured)
The McCloud River Trail follows along a basalt lava rock canyon, visiting three spectacular cascading waterfalls, known as Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. This well-kept route offers summer swimming, fall foliage, and many trail users go swimming or cliff diving, but caution is advised. During the winter, the trail is closed at the parking lot, although you can snowshoe in if you like.
McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park is home to Burney Falls, a 129-foot waterfall. Burney Falls is the park's masterpiece and possibly one of California's most beautiful waterfalls. Unlike most waterfalls, this one has numerous springs emerging from the rock, giving it a unique mystical appearance. The entrance fee is $10, and from April through October, expect a huge influx of visitors! We went at the end of January, when it was fairly quiet in terms of tourists.
(First Photo Pictured)
Potem Falls is a beautiful 70-foot waterfall in the Shasta Trinity National Forest, and it's a great place to cool off on hot summer days. This waterfall was so pristine that it reminded me of a landscape from Hawaii or Thailand.
(Second Photo Pictured)
Other mentionable waterfalls in the area include Faery Falls, Mossbrae Falls (Private Property), Hatchet Creek Falls, Root Creek Falls, and Burstarse Falls!
Skiing & Snowshoeing
Winter sports like skiing, backcountry skiing, and snowshoeing are available at Mt Shasta. Because of the low elevation, the season is brief, therefore I recommend keeping up with weather forecasts before visiting. We rented snowshoes from our hotel for $15 and went up to Castle Lake; it was a little icy, so we didn't make it up to Heart Lake, but we had a great time!
Catch Sunset Views of Mt.Shasta
Nothing beats the glow of Mt.Shasta at Sunset. Check out one of the best sunset viewing spots below and watch the pink glow set over the snowcapped mountains. Mt. Shasta is also famous for its very distinctive cloud formations, the lenticular clouds, which arise usually in the fall and winter and are a unique sight to see!
Lake Siskiyou Beach ($2 Entrance Fee)
Cable Beach (Our Favorite Sunset Spot!)
Castle Lake Road (Find a Pull Out)
Where to Eat in Mt. Shasta
Mount Shasta has only a handful of restaurants, although you will find the small downtown area rather charming! Arrive a little early at most dinner establishments because the slower service in a small town requires some patience.
Yaks Mt Shasta Koffee & Eatery
Yaks has a fantastic range of coffee, smoothies, and bagels & sandwiches. The quality, quantity, and flavor is unmatched for this little mountain town. Reviewers were not kidding when they said this the best breakfast burrito they've ever had! Perks for your vegetarian friends because they carry lots of vegetarian alternatives on their menu! The Peanut Butter Latte was to die for!
Seven Suns Coffee & Cafe
We had breakfast and lunch at Seven Suns and really enjoyed our meals. I'm a sucker for a good BLT Sandwich and it definitely hit the spot for me. Although, the Iced Chai Buzz drink was so delicious I ended up coming back again before we left so I could take on to-go for our road trip home! Plus, they have a nice outdoor patio, which is dog-friendly.
Pipeline Craft Taps and Kitchen
Pipeline is top-notch in every way: wonderful beers, amazing cuisine, amazing staff, amazing interior/decor, and fantastic music. Try a variety of appetizers from their eclectic menu - cheese curds and duck fat fries are a hit! I ordered an Ahi Bowl, and despite my reservations about the quality of the fish being so far from the ocean, I was pleasantly pleased by how wonderful it was!
The Garden Tap (Currently Closed)
The Garden Tap is a terrific location to come for a craft beer, oven-fired pizzas, and salads. Relax and unwind with friends in the dappled shade of the gorgeous nursery (Native Grounds Nursery), adjacent to the pond, or take a beer and browse an excellent range of plants, let your imagination run wild!
Phuket Thai Cafe
This Thai cafe has a charming old-school diner vibe and serves excellent Thai flavors, as well as a full vegan menu! Arrive early because they fill up quickly. They follow all COVID protocols, so seating is spaced apart for safety. This restaurant is also fantastic for take-out, which we did one night and enjoyed everything we ordered.
Hari Om Shri Ram Indian Cuisine
We ate at Hari Om Shri Ram Indian Cuisine, which had excellent Yelp and Google reviews. To be honest, our experience was mediocre at best. The cuisine was good, and we enjoyed their Indian beers, but the hospitality and setup was a little less than ideal. The say the least, the service was extremely chaotic, although I'd love to come back and give it another shot!
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