Small Town Charm

Let’s Visit Some Local Towns in this Issue: Mt. Shasta…

From indigenous peoples to spiritual-minded seekers to retirees and transplants who just want a slower pace, Mt. Shasta has drawn people to its glacier-covered slopes for generations.

The town of Mount Shasta rose around the time gold was discovered in nearby Yreka in the 1850s, but the area has been inhabited by native peoples for as far back as 7,000 years.

Today, Mt. Shasta is a beacon on the North State horizon and the town of Mount Shasta still beckons people to explore the beauty of the mountain and the surrounding area.

In addition to the 14,162-foot Mt. Shasta towering over the town, its elevation typically means Mount Shasta is cooler than Redding, whose summers can be notoriously sweltering.

That means a short trip up Interstate 5 goes a long way toward not only cooling you down, but also to mentally chill with dozens of fun activities and amazing restaurants while enjoying the small-town feel and charm that makes Mount Shasta a home for many and a destination for all.

One of the town’s biggest draws is the Mount Shasta Resort, where you can stay in luxurious chalets, play 18 holes on its championship golf course, enjoy fine dining at its restaurant and then receive a relaxing spa treatment.

The golf course is a fair, but tough, tour through narrow fairways with picturesque holes dotting the scorecard. But if golf isn’t your bag, let the others hit the links while you pamper yourself at the Sacred Mountain Spa, which offers everything from salon treatments to massages, facials and waxing.

The Highland House Restaurant might have the greatest views of any restaurant north of San Francisco and serves lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. until closing off its delightful menu.

If you feel like getting out on the water, nothing beats Lake Siskiyou. On the west side of Mount Shasta, the lake offers a chance to boat, swim or just relax in the summer sun.

The Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort rents cabins, retro trailers, tents and RV sites, and also has a full-service marina with boat, kayak and paddleboard rentals. And the Splash Zone is a fun-filled water park for young and old alike.

Lake Siskiyou also offers some of the best views of the annual Mount Shasta Fourth of July fireworks.

In addition to Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort, Mount Shasta KOA is a great place to set up camp in order to explore the city and region. With numerous tent, cabin and RV sites, the highly-rated camp off North Mt. Shasta Boulevard is always a good bet.

And while you’re out exploring, hiking, skiing or golfing, you’re sure to work up an appetite. Well, you’re in luck. The number of great dining options include Lily’s on South Mt. Shasta Boulevard, Pipeline Craft Taps and Kitchen, Handsome John’s, Say Cheese Pizza, Alua’s Thrive Bar, Mount Shasta Pastry (which is much more than just pastries) … and of course the original Black Bear Diner.

Just past Lake Siskiyou is another chance to stretch your legs and enjoy the wilderness just minutes from town. Castle Lake and Heart Lake are gems in the Mount Shasta area, each offering their own special pleasures. From paddleboarding on Castle Lake or hiking up to the scenic views of Mt. Shasta from Heart Lake, both are well worth a trip and a picture or three.

Intrepid hikers who don’t necessarily want to go all in and scale Mt. Shasta, but want to feel what it’s like on the mountain can hike in the summer months from Bunny Flat to Horse Camp. The trail is used by summit climbers, but also offers a more-than-challenging one-day trek for those who crave adventure and picturesque views. The terminus at Horse Camp has a cabin owned by the Sierra Club … and always remember to leave no trace.

Of course, one of the town’s main winter attractions is actually just a bit up Highway 89 – the Mt. Shasta Ski Park. With more than 425 acres of skiable terrain and plans for more with the opening of the Gray Butte Lift, the Ski Park offers a big-time ski resort feel in our own backyard.

Mount Shasta is also home to the oldest trout hatchery west of the Mississippi River, and the Sisson Museum sits on the Mount Shasta Fish Hatchery property. The self-guided tours of the hatchery first opened in 1888 and are a fascinating look at how science and biology work together.

In addition to all the fun destinations and activities, Mount Shasta also is home to a pair of amazing city parks – Mount Shasta Park and Shastice Park. From concerts to ice skating to ballfields, the parks are a cultural and gathering hub of the town.

And perhaps one of the best kept secrets of Mount Shasta is its Fourth of July festivities. From a spectacular fireworks display to a good ol’ fashioned July 4th parade through town, the Independence Day celebration hearkens back to a time when life moved a little slower.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a holiday to stroll through Mount Shasta. A walk down Mt. Shasta Boulevard, the town’s main thoroughfare, offers a slower pace and a chance to check out places like the Fifth Season outdoor sports store, The Luminaire & The Alchemist, the Velvet Elephant Art Center or Soul Connections.

In short, there’s a little bit of something for everyone in Mount Shasta. •

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