Woof it up with these scenic Shasta Cascade excursions

By: DogTrekker Staff
waterfall in Shasta
Photo by Dave Kendrick.

If you crave a change of scenery, you’ll get it many times over in the eight-county Shasta Cascade region. The lightly traveled North State is a treasure trove of mountainous scenery, history and small towns that charm. What’s not to like?  A paws-up warning: Dog access is restricted, to various degrees, at the places set forth below. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a woofing good time with your four-legged companion, even where leashes are required. Here we go with some suggestions.

Mount Shasta: Northern California’s most prominent landmark is a 14,179-foot-high snow cone visible, on a clear day, from more than 100 miles away. Pick a crystalline day to drive up the Everitt Memorial Highway to approximately 8,200 feet elevation, with knockout views and multiple (leashed) hiking opportunities along the way. About an hour from Redding.

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park: If you’re an angler or a waterfall fanatic, you know what awaits at this beautiful preserve 65 miles northeast of Redding. Check it out for yourself, nuff said!

Castle Crags State Park: Although this spectacular preserve doesn’t allow dogs outside of picnic areas and paved roads, dogs are a way of life in surrounding Siskiyou County. You’ll get a great taste of waterfalls and wilderness along the aptly named Dog Trail in the adjacent Castle Crags Wilderness Area.

Lassen Volcanic National Park: As in most national parks, dogs aren’t allowed on unpaved trails. But Lassen, known for its wealth of geothermal features, is a good drive-through preserve, with gorgeous scenery and plenty of places to pull over for a picnic. The 30-mile scenic auto-tour route on Highway 89 through the park’s central portion is closed in winter but might open early this year due to low snow-pack. Check the website before you go and read up on the many points of interest (including smoking fumaroles and meadows filled with wildflowers) along the way. You can enter from the north (from Redding) or the south (via Red Bluff); plan for a full day and choose whichever route is most convenient. If you go north to south, stop at Pine Shack Frosty in the town of Chester; it’s one of those vintage burger-and-shake joints that will make memories.

Scenic Byways: The Shasta Cascade region is not short on scenery, and there’s no better way to savor it than to follow a designated scenic byway. You can’t go wrong driving a segment of the 500-mile Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway All American Road (one of only 31 All American Roads in the County) winding through the Cascade Range. Other byways are themed to various aspects of the region’s geology and human history. The Feather River Scenic Byway, for example, traces the route of an early railroad through a rugged river canyon, while the Bigfoot Scenic Byway follows untamed rivers through the heart of wild country where folklore has it that a half-human creature known as Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, roams. The Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association can fill you in through a free visitors guide, and you’ll find many suggestions on places to eat, sleep and play on Dogtrekker.com.


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