The vast Shasta Cascade region (aka UpState California) covers 20 percent of the state, and much of it is remote, wide-open land ready for exploration. Check out these five incredible Shasta Cascade hikes with rewarding views of the surrounding volcanoes, lakes, and wilderness. Before heading out, check weather conditions in the area to make sure areas are open.
This moderate 3.4-mile hike offers a front-row seat to Mount Shasta’s hulking grandeur. From Panther Meadows, located just over 13 miles from Mt. Shasta City, Gray Butte Trail passes through old-growth red firs and graceful hemlocks, then crosses a talus slope and switchbacks to the butte’s highest point at 8,129 feet. To the north, Shasta’s massive volcanic cone commands the scene; Castle Crags and the Trinity Alps scrape the westward sky.
This short-but-steep trek earns its reputation as the region’s glamour hike, delivering hikers to wide-angle mountain vistas and a gemlike lake nestled in a glacial basin. Start at Castle Lake’s north shore and follow Little Castle Lake Trail east. The cool shade of Shasta red firs eases the heart-pumping climb to the ridgetop, where a mellower path leads to pretty Heart Lake, only 1.5 miles from the start. Plunge in for a swim or revel in the astounding perspective on Mount Shasta, Black Butte, and Mount Eddy.
Root Creek Trail
Sometimes you just want to bask in the serenity of a mountain stream, and the easy Root Creek Trail fulfills that desire. The hardest part is tearing yourself away from the Vista Point Trailhead, which offers spectacular views of Castle Crags’ ancient granite spires and cone-shaped Mount Shasta. A one-mile stroll leads to winsome Root Creek, its waters tumbling and murmuring over rounded rocks. The maintained trail ends here, but in the wet spring months, intrepid hikers follow a challenging route upstream to a multi-tiered waterfall.
Redding locals and visitors don’t need to drive far to bag a sizable peak. The close-to-town summit of Chamise Peak offers a moderate workout with a rewarding payoff: a 360-degree panorama of Shasta Lake, Mount Lassen, Mount Shasta, and the Sacramento River. Follow gently graded Flanagan Trail through an oak and pine forest for 1.2 miles, then veer right on Chamise Peak Trail for another 1.2 miles to the 1,628-foot summit, where picnic tables invite you to linger.
The Lassen Peak parking lot fills with cars by 9 a.m. every summer day, but just four miles away lies the national park’s other volcano: Brokeoff Mountain, the remains of ancient Mount Tehama. Tackle the 7.4-mile round-trip to its 9,235-foot summit to score a crowd-free vista of Lassen Peak, Chaos Crags, Mount Diller, Mount Shasta, and the Coast Range. The path winds through alluring landscapes—wildflower-filled meadows, hemlock and fir forests, rocky talus slopes—so even if you don’t walk the full length of this strenuous trail, you’ll enjoy every footstep.