The Shasta Cascade region’s name comes from a monumental mountain (Mount Shasta, at 14,179 feet, one of the highest peaks in the country) and the Cascade mountain range that begins where the Sierra Nevada peters out, just north of Lake Almanor in Plumas County. The mountain, 75 miles north of Redding, is considered by many to be one of the world’s most spiritual “power spots,” but even if you’re not into New Age philosophy, you owe it to yourself to bask in its bewitching presence.
You and you furry friend will enjoy spending a day or two in and around Mount Shasta City, a small, walkable town with dog-friendly shops and sidewalk cafes in the shadow of the volcanic peak. The headwaters of the Sacramento River gush from a lava tube originating deep within the mountain and surfacing right in town at Mount Shasta City Park. Shastice Park, in the northeast part of the city, is the best photo location in town if what you want is a shot with Shasta’s white cone in the background.
Autumn—just before the snow flies—is the optimal time to drive as far up the mountain as you can. The Everitt Memorial Highway, a paved, two-lane road winding 14 miles up Shasta’s flank, offers vistas that get more and more astounding at every turn. To the left, Shasta’s icy summit sparkles with snow, while to the right, a succession of mist-filled valleys recedes to infinity. The road ends at the Old Ski Bowl winter recreation area at 8,000 feet, where you’ll find picnic tables from which to admire the views.
Daisy will have to be leashed at the Bunny Flat and Panther Meadows rest areas on the way up and is welcome to accompany you (leashed) on the Gray Butte Trail, a 3.5-mile round trip out of Panther Meadows. This very special path crosses a sacred Native American site and takes in magnificent stands of old-growth fir and mountain hemlocks to reach a saddle with panoramic 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 Trail Association for other dog-friendly hikes in the area.
Photo Credit: @mikilitong.gala