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Snow melting in the spring at Shasta Lake


Scenic Drives  · Shasta Lake Area

Shasta Lake Area

Mt. Shasta reins over north central California, rising 14,162’ to a double-peaked summit. This scenic drive includes Mt. Shasta and the area south to Shasta Lake. Mt. Shasta is volcanic but geologists think is comes to life only every 500 years or so. Hikers, climbers, skiers and photographers are drawn to Mt. Shasta each year.  
Whether it is house-boating, touring, birding, hiking, fishing, camping or stargazing, visitors find many reasons explore the areas around manmade Shasta Lake and the Trinity National Forest. The landscape to the north is dominated by snow-capped Mt. Shasta.

Shasta Lake Area Scenic Drives

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From I-5, nearing Redding, don’t miss the new Sundial Bridge, an engineering marvel drawing curious bridge design enthusiasts. Head north to Lake Shasta where many families spend a week or two each year in cabins or on houseboats enjoying the forested banks and cool waters of the reservoir.  
Back on I-5, stop at Castle Crag’s State Park to view or hike through these dramatic granite crags. Afterwards, head towards Mt. Shasta, the mountain peak that dominates the entire region – take the road to the top for the view and the trails.  
SIDETRIP: Take Highway 89 to McCloud, a historic mill town, and the McCloud River Loop, a short nature drive.

From Mt. Shasta, head north on I-5 to Weed, turning off at Edgewater to loop south in the Klamath National Forest to Highway 3, a gorgeous stretch of road all the way to Clair Eagle Lake and the Trinity Alps. The route is so beautiful, it is named - officially, it is the Trinity Heritage National Scenic Byway).  

Just before Weaverville, stop at the Joss House to see the oldest Chinese temple in California and then head into town to spend some time wandering this beautifully isolated place. Autumn is especially nice – lots of fall colors.

SIDETRIP: At Hwy 299, head towards Junction City to follow the Trinity River as it winds through forests on the way to the ocean.

At 299, head east towards Whiskeytown Lake or a stop at Shasta Historic State Park.

SIDETRIP: From I-5, near Red Bluff, take Highway 36 to the east towards Paynes Creek for excellent seasonal bird watching.


©Mark Gibson
Lake Shasta offers many watersports, including seacycling in the summer.

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