Mount Shasta, 63 miles north of Redding and a constant presence on the Shasta Cascade horizon, is considered by many to be one of the world’s most spiritual “power spots.” Even if you’re not into New Age thinking, you and your furry friend will find higher purpose by spending a day or two in and around Mount Shasta City, a walkable town of 3,500 people with dog-friendly shops and cafes lining main street.
It’s hard not to feel something special in the shadow of Mount Shasta’s volcanic peak. The headwaters of the 300-mile Sacramento River gush from a lava tube originating deep within the mountain, and before heading out to explore, you and your pup might want to visit the spot where the icy torrent surfaces in Mount Shasta City Park.
Even in a dry year, water is a key element to a successful vacation in the Shasta-Cascade region. Lake Siskiyou is one spot to put on your list. Take in the spectacular views of Mount Shasta from the seven-mile Lake Siskiyou Trail, a beautiful, gentle path circling the lake.
Castle Lake is another of the region’s scenic highlights, while a section of the trout-rich McCloud River with three waterfalls and great fishing just 10 miles from town.
However you plan your time, be sure to include a trip up the Everitt Memorial Highway, a paved road winding 14 miles up the flanks of Mount Shasta for unforgettable hiking trails and views.
As the road climbs from Mount Shasta City (elevation 3,500 feet), the vistas to each side become more and more astounding. To the left, Shasta’s icy summit sparkles between stands of conifers and glacier-scoured landscapes. To the right, a succession of mist-filled valleys recedes to infinity. The road ends at the now closed Ski Bowl winter recreation area at 8,000 feet.
Dogs are allowed anywhere on the network of trails within the Old Ski Bowl ridge line, where even in high summer you can usually walk to the snow. Rover has to be leashed at the Bunny Flat and Panther Meadows rest areas, and the only extended dog-friendly hike is the Gray Butte Trail, a 3.4-mile round trip out of Panther Meadows. This very special path, accessible June into October, crosses a sacred Native American site and takes in otherworldly stands of old-growth fir and mountain hemlocks to reach a saddle with expansive views. At an altitude of 9,129 feet, you’ll both be panting, but oh so glad you came.
Check in with the Mount Shasta Trails Association for other dog friendly hikes in the Mount Shasta region.