Mount Shasta has long been a beautiful place of inspiration for many. Centuries ago this sacred volcano influenced Native American tribes local to the area, which is evident through the tribes’ myths and stories. Today, travelers from all over the world seek out this region which is considered one of Earth’s chakras, specifically the root chakra.
Many mystical stories have stemmed from this area as a result from stories of spiritual higher beings living in the mountain, to legends of sacred springs, there are so many stories that revolve around this part of California.
However, Mount Shasta also happens to be one of the most beautiful places in all of the United States — and the world. Taking a trip here can be fun for adventure seekers, those on a spiritual journey, or those who simply love to take in beautiful sights. There are many things to do in Mount Shasta for all for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Best Things to Do in Mount Shasta
But first: Don’t miss the other California highlights in my other guides!
1. Hiking in Mount Shasta
While there are many Mount Shasta activities, hiking on trails around the mountain are, of course, the best. Outdoor lovers will most likely spend most of their time hiking the many trails around the area, and if you’re visiting in the summer, you should check out Panther Meadows, which is only available to hike after the snow melts in the summer. Panther Meadows is full of wildflowers, has spring water that trickles throughout it, and offers some of the most breathtaking views of Mount Shasta.
Another option that offers a ton of great views for effort is hiking from Castle Lake to Heart Lake. Park at Castle Lake, which is a great area to relax for a day too, and enjoy the 2-3 hour hike up to Heart Lake where you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views of Mt Shasta.
The McCloud River Falls Trail follows the McCloud River and is quite easy, making it perfect for beginner hikers or those who are looking for something more leisurely. When hiking this trail, you’ll end up passing three different waterfalls — all of which are gorgeous examples of nature.
Other popular hiking trails include:
- Black Butte Trail
- Horse Camp — which leads to Green Butte, Helen Lake, and Hidden Valley trails
- Spring Hill, by Mount Shasta City
Both Panthere Meadow and Bunny Flat are ideal places to start any number of hikes.
2. Explore Shasta-Trinity National Forest
There’s a lot you can do when exploring Shasta-Trinity National Forest, which encompasses the dormant volcano. Popular activities done by locals and visitors alike include hiking, camping, fishing, backcountry skiing, and even mountaineering.
The Shasta-Trinity National Forest has also become a beautiful place for spiritual activities, such as practicing yoga or meditating. As the entire national forest has over 2.2 million acres, there’s lots of room to explore and partake in whatever activity your heart desires!
3. Head to Downtown Mount Shasta
While exploring Mount Shasta should be on everyone’s bucket list, exploring the city of Mount Shasta shouldn’t be slept on as this quaint town is quite unique. Head down to Mt. Shasta Boulevard, the main street, to start your journey. If you’re on a spiritual trip, you might find joy by checking out some metaphysical and spiritual shops downtown. Soul Connections and Crystal Keepers are two great shops to check out.
There are also wonderful places to shop and eat at, including Seven Suns Coffee & Cafe or Lily’s which is a top spot for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And pass up on Handsome John’s, the local speakeasy!
4. Ski and snowboard at Mount Shasta Ski Park
Skiing and snowboarding tend to be some of the most popular Mount Shasta attractions for locals and visitors alike. Who could resist hitting the slopes on such a majestic mountain — and with such a beautiful view?
Mt. Shasta Ski Park, one of the best ski resorts in California, is going to be your go-to place if you’re looking to have fun during the skiing season. While Mount Shasta does have snow on its peak year-round, the skiing season is only open during winter, closing at the end of April. However, Mt. Shasta Ski Park will still be open year-round for other activities, such as summit climbing and mountain biking. The park offers over 400 acres to enjoy and 32 different trails. If you’re really adventurous, partake in night skiing!
5. Seek out breathtaking waterfalls
You’re in for a treat as around Mount Shasta, there are five main waterfalls you can hike to and discover which include:
- Burney Falls
- Faery Falls
- Hedge Creek Falls
- McCloud Falls
- Mossbrae Falls
Hedge Creek Falls is possibly the easiest waterfall to get to, and therefore the most popular one throughout the region. Other waterfalls take a bit more time and hiking to get to.
If you find yourself a bit away and are searching for things to do near Mt Shasta, check out Burney Falls. Burney Falls lies about an hour away from Mount Shasta (the town). However, just like the other waterfalls listed here, it’s absolutely beautiful.
6. Check out some lava tubes
Since Mount Shasta is a dormant volcano, you can find a number of lava tubes in the area and around Siskiyou County. Lava Beds National Monument is famous option, but it is about 2 hours away from the town. However, Pluto’s Cave is another stellar option close by that will bring you on a trail in and out of the cave that was formed by the lava that spread during the last eruption in 1786.
7. Explore Castle Crags State Park
Castle Crags is beautiful and it has a ton of legends and myths about it, making it a spiritual place for many. Castle Crags itself is a rock formation in the state park of the same name, about twenty minutes south of Mount Shasta. Castle Crags, which is one of California’s most well-known state parks, touts 6,000 feet peaks and some of the most stunning views. The rock formations are more than 170 million years old and are truly awe-inspiring. There’s much to do on a Castle Crags journey including camping, hiking, picnicking, and fishing.
8. Camp at Panther Meadows
While there are many places to camp around Mount Shasta — Castle Crags, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort, etc — special attention should be given to Panther Meadows. We’ve already talked about how you should hike to this beautiful location but if you have the time, be sure to camp here too.
Panther Meadows rests on the slopes of Mount Shasta and is 7,420 feet above the ground – the highest campground on the mountain. Because of its high standing, you can easily see beautiful views of Castle Crags and the Sacramento River.
If you’re seeking to hike some more, you can easily access another trail up the side of Mount Shasta — which will lead you up another 9,000 feet.
9. Learn Mt Shasta history at the Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum
One of the most interesting things about Mount Shasta is its history. How much is a legend? How much is true?
Learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about this glorious land by heading to the Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum which occupies what used to be an old fish hatchery building. The museums covers all the most relevant history of Mount Shasta from the native tribes who called the area home centuries ago to more recent stories, such as how the town came to be.
Visiting this non-profit museum is a great way to begin your trip, especially before you start to go out to visit certain areas of Mount Shasta as understanding the history behind the land can help you feel more in tune with your journey and appreciate the reasons why many believe this area to be so sacred.
10. Spend a day at Lake Siskiyou
This list would not be complete without mentioning Lake Siskiyou. This lake is only three miles southwest of Mount Shasta’s downtown, with an abundance of things to do as this lake is a very popular destination for tourists and locals alike during the summer. Hiking trails are around the lake, as well as a golf course next door.
11. Tour Mount Shasta’s ghost town
With so much history in the area, it’s not surprising that there is a ghost town nearby. Situated in Shasta State Historic Park, Shasta City used to be a huge town in the mid-1800s during the gold-mining boom.
This ghost town is about 70 miles south, with most of Shasta City in decay. It looks much like how you would think a ghost town would appear, with crumbling buildings and ruins left behind with a few buildings that have been restored to look as they once did back in the 1800s for a better idea.
When is the best time to visit Mount Shasta?
Any time between April and September is the best time to visit Mount Shasta. This will ensure that you’ll deal with the least amount of snow on the mountain (though there is always some if you’re going to the summit) but can also enjoy the lakes and trails of the area. If you’re looking to ski, March to April are prime months.
How long should I spend in Mt. Shasta?
Three days in Mount Shasta is recommended as it allows you to take three different hikes or journeys in three different areas of the region — and this also gives you ample time to connect spiritually to all parts of the land. During this three-day trip, you’ll also have enough time to check out the small town of Mount Shasta too.
Where to Stay in Mount Shasta
Stay a little while at these top picks of hotels in Mt Shasta:
- Mount Shasta Resort: An all-season resort at the base of the mountain with an on-site golf course and spa, and relaxing views of Lake Siskiyou or the forest.
- Best Western Plus Tree House: Just 10 minutes from the ski park, this hotel is both well located and welcoming with a homey feel.
- Cold Creek Inn: Budget-friendly and pet-friendly. The only hotel in downtown Mount Shasta!