mount shasta at sunrise, snow on top of the mountain, a road is in the foreground

16 of the Absolute Best Things to Do in Mount Shasta

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So you’re heading to Mount Shasta and looking for the best things to do? Look no further!

Nestled in the heart of Northern California, Mount Shasta stands tall and prominent, beckoning travelers seeking adventures and tranquility.

I had plans a few times to visit Shasta, but they were cancelled due to weather or fires. So I was so excited when I finally got to see this mountain in person!

Mount Shasta stands tall as a beacon against the landscape, and makes for one of the most underrated areas in California.

From cascading waterfalls and pristine alpine lakes to mystical legends and charming towns, this picturesque region is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. So let’s jump into the best things to do in Mount Shasta! contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I believe in. Read my disclaimer for more information.

Planning your trip? Use my favorite resources!

Accommodation – to find the best deals on hotels.
FlightsSkyscanner to look for the best prices and deals on flights.
Rental carsDiscoverCars to shop around at multiple car rental agencies.
Travel insurance Safety Wing; keep your trips insured to protect yourself while traveling.
Tours/experiences – Viator or Get Your Guide are excellent sources for tours.

photo from the center of the road with mount shasta rising in the center, mountain is glowing in the early morning light

โœจ 16 of the Best Things to Do in Mount Shasta

1. Watch the Sunrise

I spent my first day in Mount Shasta watching the sunrise from the ‘Mount Shasta Viewpoint’ located off of Highway 97, the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway. The view from here was my favorite in the whole area, and sunrise cast a fantastic alpenglow on the mountain.

There’s a large parking area here so you’re safe and free to explore the area without parking on the side of the road.

photo of a girl posing with mount shasta, early morning light
photo of a girl walking in the grass before mount shasta, early morning light
selfie of a girl with mount shasta in the background

On my trip to Northern California in late September, I basically lived in the Kuhl Prism 1/2 Zip sweater I’m wearing above! It kept me warm, and of course I love that it has pockets. The zippered pockets were perfect for keeping my small film camera in and my phone while hiking around when I was backpacking or camping.

Unlike my Patagonia sweaters that seem to get matted easily, this quality Kuhl sweater still looks brand new a few months later. Plus I love the color combo– I have it in Sagebrush! So if you’re looking for a new sweater to get for your outdoor adventures– I would suggest picking one up. I was kindly gifted this sweater from Kuhl, but all thoughts are my own!

2. Hike the Castle Lake to Heart Lake Trail

A moderate hike takes you from Castle Lake to the beautiful Heart Lake in the Castle Crags wilderness. With a picture perfect view of Shasta in the background, this makes for one of the best things to do in Mount Shasta!

The hike is 3.0 miles round trip with 815 feet of elevation gain. This hike is best done in the summer and early fall months as the trail can be hard to follow in the snow during the winter.

Wear and bring layers on this hike, as you get farther up it can be windier and therefore a bit chillier than the trail head. There is no fee to do this hike.

photo at sunrise of the reflection of mount shasta in heart lake

3. Go Camping

What better way to get in touch with nature than by camping? I backpacked to camp overnight at Heart Lake mentioned above and it was absolutely spectacular!

Note that you cannot camp at Castle Lake, but you can at Heart Lake, since Heart Lake is in the National Forest. This is primitive camping with no amenities, and there are limited campsites at Heart Lake.

For those of you that would prefer not to backpack, there are plenty of camping options around Mount Shasta.

Check out some camping options on Hip Camp, including the Juniper Spur Ranch which has incredible views of Shasta. There are more options through Recreation.Gov for campsites. There is also a KOA located here with RV & tent sites and some lodging options immersed in nature.

photo in early morning light of a girl walking next to her tent, mount shasta in the backgroun
Wearing my favorite Kuhl sweater in Sagebrush!
selfie of a girl drinking coffee, tent in the background camping in front of mount shasta

Looking for more epic places to camp in California? Check out Cathedral Lakes in Yosemite!

4. Go to McCloud Waterfalls

Visit McCloud River’s three waterfalls off Highway 89, just a few miles outside of the town of McCloud, CA near Shasta.

The hike to see all 3 waterfalls is rated as easy and accessible year round. The trail is just about 4 miles round trip with 337 feet of elevation gain.

The trail is paved from the lower falls to the middle falls, and a dirt trail after that to the upper falls. There is no entrance fee to visit these falls!

5. Kayak or Paddleboard at Lake Siskiyou

Head to Lake Siskiyou for not only some of the best views of Mount Shasta, but also for some summer fun.

Memorial Day through Labor Day, Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort is open and rents out kayaks and stand up paddle boards to get out on the water.

Onsite at the camp resort there is also a snack stand and restaurant & bar, and plenty of space to lay out a towel and soak up the sun or take a dip in the lake.

You can still visit the lake during the off season like I did to enjoy views of Shasta.

๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ There is a $3 day use fee for each visitor over the age of 11 that is paid at the entrance upon arrival.

photo of the lake sisikyou beach with mount shasta in the back

6. Explore Castle Crags State Park

One of the best hikes in Castle Crags State Park is to Castle Dome. The trail is strenuous, but very rewarding with views of the granite crag spires and Mount Shasta.

The hike is steep, at just over 5 miles round trip with about 2,000 feet of elevation gain. There is also some scrambling at the end of the hike which provides an extra challenge!

See more hikes in the state park here. Note that dogs are not allowed on trails here.

7. Take a Scenic Drive

Give your legs break from hiking and exploring waterfalls & lakes to go for a scenic drive.

On three sides of Mount Shasta there are highways with beautiful views of the mountain. My personal favorite was off of Highway 97, which is listed above at #1.

You can also drive to the Bunny Flat trail head where hikers looking to climb Shasta will begin their ascent. But the drive to the trail head is very scenic, overlooking the valley and heading straight up the mountain!

Another great view is along Highway 89, pictured below.

photo on the side of the road, driving towards mount shasta

8. Hike to Faery Falls

A hidden gem a bit off the radar, the hike to Faery Falls is 1.5 miles round trip with 255 feet of elevation gain and rated as moderate.

You have to drive down a bumpy dirt road, and the trail requires a bit of route finding- but the payoff to the waterfall is worth it! The trail is dog friendly, and should take 1-2 hours to complete.

9. Go Mountain Biking

If you’re into mountain biking, or would like to give it a try, you’re in luck because Mount Shasta has multiple trails close by.

Head to the Mount Shasta Bike Park, or take an afternoon to bike the Gateway Trail Loop. The Lake Sisikiyou Loop Trail circumnavigates the lake with stunning views of Shasta along the way.

two bikers on bush lined path

10. Hit the Slopes or Go Snowshoeing in the Wtiner

If you plan to visit Shasta in the winter and are looking for things to do, head to Mt. Shasta Ski Park. Here you can ski, snowboard, and go snow tubing. There are plentiful dining options here too while you’re hitting the slopes.

Many of the hikes mentioned above such as Faery Falls, Heart Lake, and McCloud Falls are great trails to snowshoe in the winter. The Spring Hill Trail is also a popular snowshoeing trail with great views of Shasta.

green pine trees near snow covered mountain

11. Go Fishing

Some of the lakes and rivers around Shasta are actually world renowned for their trout! The Shasta, Trinity, and Lewiston Lakes have rainbow and brown trout and small mouth bass. And the McCloud, Trinity, and Upper Sacramento Rivers are known for trout as well.

Note that you do have to have a California Fishing License to fish in all of these areas. Read more about that on Wildlife.Ca.Gov and where to pick one up.

12. Get up Close to Shasta from Bunny Flat

The Bunny Flat trail head is the closest you can get to Mount Shasta’s summit- it’s the same trail head that hikers ascending Shasta will begin their climb!

But even if you’re not looking to climb the mountain, I highly recommend driving up to Bunny Flat since it’s a beautiful drive and will give you a different perspective of the mountain.

If you’d like to do a day hike here, Bunny Flat to Panther Meadow makes the perfect way to spend a few hours. It is best to do the hike in the warmer months of May- October and be sure to leave the pups at home since dogs aren’t allowed.

The Bunny Flat to Panther Meadow hike is rated as moderate and is 7 miles round trip with 1,354 feet of elevation gain.

photo of the bunny flats trailhead that is at the base of mount shasta

13. Climb Black Butte

If you’re looking for more hikes to do with stunning views of Mount Shasta, add Black Butte to your list. This hike is considered hard and is 5 miles round trip with 1,811 feet of elevation gain.

You’ll climb Black Butte and be rewarded with the view of Mount Shasta right in front of you with nothing blocking the path!

The trail is dog friendly, just be mindful of rattlesnakes- especially in the spring and summer months!

14. Go to Nearby Burney Falls

A visit to Burney Falls is another must do in the Shasta area.

As someone who has seen many waterfalls all over the country, Burney Falls was very impressive and extremely beautiful! It is something worth going a bit out of the way for if you have to.

You can view the falls in a paved area straight off the parking area, but they are best observed by hiking down to the base. It is 1/2 a mile down to the falls with a loss of about 160 feet.

๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ There is a 10$ day use fee to enjoy the falls. You can also camp overnight here for 35$ per night. Dogs are allowed in parking lots & campgrounds, but not on trails.

photo of burney falls in the mount shasta area, the falls are large and they cascade into a large pool of blue water

15. Take a Road Trip to Mount Lassen

If you have an extra day to spare when visiting Mount Shasta and are up for a little road trip- drive over to Mount Lassen National Park!

It will take about 1 1/2 hours one way to drive to Mount Lassen, and it is a super diverse national park. There are alpine lakes, sulfur hot springs, and many forms of volcanoes in the park. Plus Mount Lassen itself is a beauty, and you can climb it if you’re up for a challenge.

The best things to see in a day on your visit to Mount Lassen includes: Manzanita Lake, Sulfur Works, Helen Lake, and hike the Cinder Cone & Fantastic Lava Bed trail.

It is best to visit this park in the summer months since it will be snow free and the most accessible to reach trails.

photo of mount lassen in front of a lake, still on an early morning.

16. Learn About the Spiritual History of Shasta

Something you may not know before visiting Mount Shasta is that there is a lot of spiritual significance and beliefs about the mountain.

And the spiritual sanctity of the mountain is not a new age thought; some Native Americans have long believed it be the ‘center of the universe’. Some even believe that is the home of the ‘Creator’.

Since there are so many legends about the mountain, it draws many spiritual seekers. Some look for the ‘sacred spring’ they believe to be there, or the ‘crystal city’.

Going through the local towns around the mountain, you’ll see many crystal & gem shops, metaphysical bookstores, and tours that lead one through guided meditation and retreats.

So.. when you embark on your visit, you’ll have to ask yourself if you too feel the energy from the sacred mountain!

photo from the castle lake to heart lake trail, lush greenery in the foreground and mount shasta in the back

๐Ÿ› Where to Stay in Mount Shasta

The best location to stay is in fact the town of Mt. Shasta, CA. You’ll be in quick driving distance to all the best viewpoints and trail heads around the mountain.

Redding, CA is a one hour drive from Shasta and is a large town with many stores, amenities, and hotels available.

McCloud, CA is a great area to stay in if you plan on visiting both Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen as it is on the way to the national park!

๐Ÿ‘‰ Best Western Plus Tree House. A beautiful and well appointed chain hotel near the center of Mt. Shasta town. It features an indoor pool and onsite restaurant and bar with a cozy fireplace.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Inn at Mount Shasta. Highly rated, updated and modern, the Inn at Mount Shasta is a great option for budget travelers like myself!

๐Ÿ‘‰ McCloud Mercantile Hotel. This historic and unique hotel located in McCloud, CA includes breakfast and is exceptionally rated.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Americana Modern Hotel. This hotel is a great option in Redding one hour South of Shasta. It is highly rated, updated and modern, while still fitting those with lower budgets.

โ“Mount Shasta Things to Do FAQs

Still have more questions about visiting Mount Shasta or the best things to do while there? Let’s try to answer ’em!

Is Mount Shasta worth it?

YES! A visit to Mount Shasta is so worth it. Like I mentioned earlier, I tried to visit Shasta many times before but plans would get cancelled due to weather or fires.

Once I was able to see the mountain in person, I was in awe! Plus the various hikes, viewpoints, and waterfalls make the trip to Mount Shasta even more worth it.

What is Mount Shasta famous for?

Mount Shasta is known for being a prominent landmark in Northern California at over 14,000 feet. It is an adventure hub for those seeking nature and the outdoors.

Mount Shasta is also famous for the many spiritual legends surrounding the mountain and referred to by some as ‘the center of the universe’ and ‘the root chakra’.

Can you drive up Mt Shasta?

You cannot drive all the way up to the peak of Mt Shasta. The highest you can drive on the mountain is to the Bunny Flat trail head located at 6,950 feet.

photo of water boiling and steam rising while making coffee from the tent, mount shasta in the background in the morning light

โ›ฐ๏ธ Wrap-Up: 15 of the Best Things to Do in Mount Shasta

In conclusion, Mount Shasta offers a plethora of things to do that cater to a wide range of interests.

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast seeking thrilling adventures or someone looking to relax amidst stunning natural beauty, this majestic mountain has it all.

From hiking through pristine wilderness and exploring hidden waterfalls to skiing down powdery slopes and immersing yourself in spiritual retreats, Mount Shasta truly is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

So, pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey to this enchanting destination โ€“ where extraordinary experiences await at every turn.

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