Shasta Cascade is a winter wonderland. Snow-shrouded Mt. Shasta is the area’s most obvious sight. Standing alone, and rising 14,162 feet, it is often clearly visible for more than 100 miles. Mt. Shasta’s vast slopes are ideal for downhill skiing, but with due respect to Shasta, the area’s smaller winter wonders steal the show. You’ll enjoy a brisk stroll and a cozy dinner on a star-bright night in Dunsmuir and the snow-cloaked hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Here’s a plan that will let you experience it all.
Trip Time: 3 to 5 days
Make your base of operations the McCloud Hotel Bed & Breakfast . This historic hotel in the quaint town of McCloud has woodsy rooms in the Victorian style, offers a full breakfast, and received a four-diamond rating from AAA. It’s also close to where you’ll be skiing.
If you don’t have your own equipment, Mt. Shasta has several stores that rent skis and snowboards and, maybe more important, offer good local advice. Shasta Base Camp has all three.
Head for Mt. Shasta Ski Park , on the mountain’s south slope. You’ll find 32 trails and more than 400 acres of skiable terrain, with some 1,400 vertical feet and a 300-foot halfpipe.
In the evening, go south to Dunsmuir. Explore the shops and galleries lining Dunsmuir and Sacramento Avenues. Then pop into Café Maddalena , on every local gourmet’s map, and indulge in wonderful dishes from Spain, Italy, France, and North Africa.
Consider several options today. Head for the slopes again, or take a scenic dogsled ride. Dogsled Express offers one-hour rides through snowy backcountry, accompanied by breathtaking views of Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen, and Castle Crags.
For another option, go backcountry skiing or snowboarding with Shasta Mountain Guides . Guides choose the best routes and slopes that morning, based on the conditions, then escort you on a thrilling adventure.
Next head to Lassen Volcanic National Park . Here your headquarters is Childs Meadow Resort , rustic cabins conveniently located about 9 miles from the park’s southwest entrance.
Snow closes most of the park’s roads during winter, but the park plows the road 1 mile past the southwest entrance to the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center . From here you can take a ranger-guided snowshoe walk. Or you can put on cross-country skis or snowshoes and head down the unpaved road for a winter wander. A snow play area near the visitors center is for tobogganing, sledding, and snowboarding.