Make a spectacular circumnavigation by mountain bike, or just bike a piece of the route.
At 14,162 feet, Mt. Shasta isn’t California’s tallest peak, but it might as well be. The volcanic peak stands by itself and is often clearly visible for more than 100 miles. Your first sighting of Mt. Shasta is like the shock of new love. Naturalist John Muir put it best: “When I first caught sight of it I was 50 miles away and afoot, alone, and weary. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.” Once home to lumberjacks, this lovely snowcapped peak has become something of a magnet for New Age mystics, drawn by the peak’s purported cosmic properties.
But no matter what your leanings, you can’t remain unaffected by the mountain. The Circle of Mt. Shasta is a 50-mile mountain bike route that starts near Mount Shasta City and circumnavigates the mountain, taking you past glaciers, lava flows, thick pine forests, and meadows rippled by summer’s breezes. You don’t have to ride the whole trail in a day, although it is possible if you leave early enough. You can rent a bike if need be at the Fifth Season sports shop in town.
Inside Tip: Be sure to stop in at the Mt. Shasta Ranger Station. They’ll issue you a wilderness permit, point you in the right direction, tell you what the weather is expected to do, and offer good advice for exploring the area.