Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Mount Shasta, CA

  • Published 2022/02/05

Mount Shasta, also known as Mount Shasta City, is a city in Siskiyou County, California, set at about 3,600 feet above sea level on the flanks of its namesake mountain.

The mountain is one of the southernmost in the Cascade Range and lies within Siskyou County, close to the border of California and Oregon.

Native Americans believed the mountain to be one of the mystical centers of the universe, with a reputation as a gathering spot for spiritual seekers all over the world.

Sitting on the slopes of its namesake, the city of Mount Shasta draws visitors from all over Northern California because of its beautiful mountain terrain, lively neighborhoods, pretty parks, thriving businesses, and fine dining experiences.

It is known to be a treasure of world-class recreation with its well-rounded identity, access to the perks of nine counties within the area, uplifting community spirit, and reputation as one of the cultural hubs of the Shasta Region.

As a city, it is a jewel filled with scenic escapes and tourists’ delights, and its unlimited opportunities only continue to attract visitors.

If you are among the many drawn to the slopes of this mountain town, here is a list of the best things to do in Mount Shasta:

Spend a Day at Mount Shasta City Park

Trees with empty branches framing a walkway in the city park.

frankmlee /

Mount Shasta City Park is located right in the city’s center and provides a beautiful, vast green space to enjoy a day out.

People say that the area is sacred and that its waters, surrounded by trails and majestic trees, have healing powers.

Its Big Springs are also known as the Headwaters of the Sacramento River, where crystal-clear water emerging from the mountain finally sees daylight.

Dried flowers around the city park.

frankmlee /

The headwaters are a big draw for tourists and travelers, who partake in the virgin drinking water in between journeys, meet with each other at the springs, and gaze at the beautiful scenery.

The lands span 26 acres and offer recreational opportunities like biking, picnicking, and hiking.

It is a lovely place to take your family on a sunny day: lay back in the green and grassy area, let your kids loose on the playgrounds, and simply relax in the magical atmosphere.

A wooden bridge on the pathway of the city park.

frankmlee /

Meditate at the Gateway Peace Garden

Mount Shasta is where spiritual seekers congregate, and if you’re in search of such sustenance, try a visit to the Gateway Peace Garden.

This quaint garden opens every day from sunrise to sunset and gives visitors a place for meditation and quiet reflection.

It holds many surprises in its twists and turns: you can wander a labyrinth, reflect at the Mother Mary or Quan Yin meditation gardens, observe lenticular clouds above the nearby mountain, contribute prayer flags, and more.

The creators took much inspiration in the garden’s creation from its landscape of oaks, cedars, and manzanita and the majestic views of the mountain, Mount Shasta, and its surrounding range.

The garden’s message is “world peace through inner peace,” and its mission is the stewarding of a consecrated spot in the heart of nature to carry along the spirit of peace in the lives of those who enter.

See Living Things Growing at Spring Hill Nursery and Gardens

Spring Hill Nursery and Gardens is a growing green wonderland for plant lovers, located at the north end of Mount Shasta.

It was created on two ignored acres back in 1997 and bloomed into a spot of creative expression for people around it.

Here, you will find yourself surrounded by pottery, statuary, plants, and beautiful mature trees, and you can explore pathways containing nursery stock, a cutting garden, and display gardens.

These display gardens include a cutting garden, a conifer garden, and perennial border gardens.

There are displays of trees, shrubs, perennials, flowers, and garden art to show off the different gardening styles.

See growing fruits, shade, and ornamental trees; deciduous and evergreen shrubs; flowering dogwoods, crabapples, cherries, and plums; and all kinds of roses.

Be sure to talk to the avidly knowledgable staff who are only too glad to share their knowledge to help your own garden flourish.

Discover Local Stories at Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum

Exterior of the Mt. Shasta Sission museum with a stop sign on the left side.

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum is a small but dense and educational building that offers a look into the history of Mount Shasta, formerly known as Sisson.

It is a primarily volunteer-run museum whose contributions allow it to share the region’s social, natural, and cultural history.

Its mission is to help illuminate the past, present, and future of the Mount Shasta mountain region, and it produces exhibits on the science and history of the entire area.

Mt. Shasta artwork showing the mount shasta.

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here, there are exhibits on the various industries that have shouldered the region, the native cultures of the area, and the storied times of the city.

There are also big exhibit halls on volcanoes in the Mount Shasta mountain area, the local meteorological phenomenon of lenticular clouds, and the spiritual and supernatural mythologies about the mountain.

The museum also keeps the spark of the community alive by hosting quilt exhibits, art shows, lectures, meetings, History Nights, and music, drama, and dance performances.

A red vehicle display inside the sisson museum.

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stroll along Downtown Mount Shasta

The streets of Mount Shasta will draw you in with their bustle of activity and spiritual vibes.

Uncover local charm in the shops, groceries, restaurants, and galleries lining this district, enhanced by majestic views of the mountain.

Seek crystals at the mystic shops downtown. such as Crystal Matrix Gallery or Crystal Room, Crystal Tones.

Find contemporary art and Asian pieces at Mei Drucker Art Gallery or fiber weavings, paintings, and photography at The Gallery In Mount Shasta.

Shop for boots and outdoor gear at The Fifth Season; apparel, jewelry, and accessories at Directions; or custom graphic prints at Sundial Prints.

Order quality meats and deli sandwiches at Mount Shasta Supermarket And Deli or alternative health foods at Evolution.

And to fuel up, grab a bite to eat, with delicious breakfast at Seven Suns Coffee And Cafe, gastronomic delights at Pipeline Craft Taps & Kitchen, and classic Italian at Mike & Tony’s Restaurant.

Be Spiritually Nourished at Shasta Abbey

Shasta Abbey is a Buddhist monastery in the Soto Zen or Serene Reflection Meditation tradition.

It was founded in 1970 as a training ground for Buddhist monks, both male and female, and as a practice place for laypeople.

The monastery offers retreats, teaching, ceremonies, spiritual counseling, and the chance to train within a monastic schedule for those who wish to seek it out.

They teach meditation as a method of harmonization with the self for the source of love, compassion, and wisdom.

Every year, they have retreats focusing on the fundamentals of Buddhism, Sutras, Buddhist scriptures, and ventures that arise from contemporary practice.

Introductory retreats are just that: an introduction to the Serene Reflection practice, meditation instruction and practice, and talks about the Buddhist concept of Dharma.

The place gives tours by appointment where you see the guest house, the Buddha Hall, the Stupa, and the grounds, and can raise any questions about the monastery.

Reflect and Meditate at Mount Shasta Retreats

Mount Shasta Retreats promises to help you seek peace, connection, and purpose on your journey.

Retreat guide, Andrew Oser, helps people from different walks of life discover and reconnect with themselves; recharge their spirits, bodies, and minds; and move into confidence and clarity, all with the help of a deep connection to his beloved mountain.

According to the philosophy of Mount Shasta Retreats, the mountain is a magical place where you can connect with your inner essence and remember your purpose in life.

Oser will take you to sacred sites on the mountain to feel its presence and power, where you can receive the gifts it holds for you.

Serving as a life coach, he helps people let go of their former fears and limitations and open themselves up to the love and wisdom found within.

You will come away with a better sense of ease and flow in life and a rejuvenating spirit to help you thrive.

Hike Up Black Butte

Autumn trees surrounding the highway near the black butte volcano.

Gibson Outdoor Photo /

Black Butte is a significant landmark, even from the vantage point of the city.

It’s a distinct conical peak that you can see from any street in the city and an important marker when passing along Interstate 5.

Many a hiker have challenged themselves to make it to the summit of Black Butte, the largest of Mount Shasta’s satellite volcanic peaks

Cloud of smoke coming out of the black butte volcano peak.

Stephen Moehle /

The hike is a popular trail that maintains a reliable grade throughout and has incredible views of Mount Shasta surroundings all the way up.

Black Butte is composed of rocky slabs posing a challenge to hikers, with a large rugged and rocky canyon.

You may be surprised by the vegetation here: a forest of incense cedar, ponderosa pine, and Douglas Fir.

In less than 3 miles, you will ascend above 1800 feet, and it takes a 5-mile round trip to make it up to the summit.

Blue, purple and pink sunset with the silhouette of black butte.

Alberto Armas /

Enjoy the Outdoors at Shastice Park

Another place to enjoy some fun in the sun is Shastice Park.

It is located on the northeast side of Mount Shasta, backdropped by a stunning view of the mountain.

It consists of 38 acres, with 14 developed acres to enjoy community attractions and lawn activities.

It is an extensive recreational facility that features a multi-purpose field complex, a lighted softball field, pickleball courts, tennis courts, large picnic areas, a spacious playground, and a skate park.

When winter comes, it opens up the outdoor Siskiyou Ice Rink, which is the pride of Mount Shasta.

Leashed dogs are welcome here, and it also contains an off-leash dog park.

You can also chance upon a section of forest with dirt paths passing for a hiking adventure, go on a mountain biking trip on the grounds, or simply enjoy the mountain scenery and watch meteor showers in the fields.

Buy Fresh Goods at Berryvale Grocery

Berryvale Grocery is a locally and family-owned natural foods grocery store and café located in Mount Shasta.

Its stated mission is to nourish the world through food, knowledge, and community, and it strives to be the best natural foods grocery it can be.

At this store, buy goods to nourish you on your vacation, such as vitamins, fresh organic produce, and healthy ready-made meals.

Their produce department is either organic or local farms transitioning to organic and local products such as meats, chocolates, and honey.

Other offerings include wellness and beauty products and a café with grills, coffee, smoothies, and fresh vegetable juice.

Reenergize yourself with drinks at the café, and find something for everyone at their very well-stocked market.

Stop by Berryvale Grocery and be nourished by fresh and healthy options that you don’t often encounter in the mainstream.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Camping at Castle Crags State Park

Castle Crags state park welcoming sign with tall green trees at the side.

Nathan Jongewaard, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Castle Crags State Park is among Califonia’s best state parks and is situated 15 minutes south of the city of Mount Shasta.

It is a location of immense beauty, where you can be stunned by the view of a crown of 6,000-feet pinnacles, the titular Castle Crags on the border

It has one of the best campgrounds around, with 76 developed campsites equipped with a food locker, a fire ring, a picnic table, shower amenities, and drinking water.

An old wooden footbridge inside the castle crags state park.

docentjoyce, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy casual strolls and invigorating treks or fish along the Sacramento River that flows through the park.

There are energetic recreations at the State Park, with its 28 miles of winding trails, including the challenging Crags Trail that leads to a strenuous hike and breathtaking views at Castle Dome.

Try hiking the popular trailhead, Vista Point, to see dramatic views of the Crags, Mount Shasta, and nearby Grays Rocks.

Rocky mountain trail on castle crags.

Michal Balada /

Admire the Loveliness of McCloud Falls

Portrait photo of the mccloud falls with green trees behind.

Gary Gilardi /

There are many waterfalls in the Mount Shasta region, and McCloud Falls, located 25 minutes from the city, is the most famous since it features 3 beautiful waterfalls in a single trip.

The McCloud River feeds these waterfalls and also beautifully displays the geological eruption history of Mount Shasta.

One can visit the 3 waterfalls on a 3.9-mile trail with 354 feet of elevation gain for the whole hike.

Heavy water flow falling down the mccloud falls.

Kathryn Shanti Ariel /

The Lower Falls can be viewed from an overlook with railings, a 12-15 foot drop into a deep emerald green pool.

The Middle Falls can be seen from the trail or behind a railing, about 50 feet tall with an impressively wide drop.

The Upper Falls can be seen from an overlook trail, a chute waterfall with cascades, plunging dramatically down 30 feet into a pool.

All three waterfall trails are unique and well worth hiking among trees, blooming wildflowers, and close-up trails or lookouts high on cliffs.

Water flowing at the mccloud falls and rocky trails.

Akira Nakatani /

Go Skiing at Mount Shasta Ski Park

Aerial view of Mt. Shasta ski park with tall pine trees scattered around.

Mike Albright Photography /

If you’re looking for a change of scenery, hit the slopes at Mount Shasta Ski Park, found 20 minutes from the city, a popular basecamp destination for both winter and summer getaways.

There are 32 trails and 425 acres for downhill explorers to find at the ski park, which has exciting, diverse terrain features.

The ski area lies 6 miles south of the mountain’s summit, straddling volcanic buttes on its lower southern flanks.

Mt Shasta ski park base with people wearing jackets.

Jsayre64, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are three triples chairlifts running to the top of Douglas Butte, Coyote Butte, and Marmot Ridge, and two magic carpet lifts, one for tubing and one for snowboarding and learning to ski.

Skiiers will encounter banked turns, small rollers, small rails and boxes, a rail garden, a wall ride, and a staircase.

The park’s winter operations cover tubing, lessons, events, rentals, a backcountry cabin program, skiing, and snowboarding.

Its summer operations include mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides, and disc golfing.

Aerial view of Mt. Shasta ski park with the land blanketed with snow.

Jsayre64, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have an Adventure at Shasta Trinity National Forest

Majestic view of the Burney falls inside the national forest.

Stephen Moehle /

Shasta-Trinity National Forest is California’s largest national forest and can be explored 36 minutes from the city that it surrounds.

The forest covers over 2.2 million acres and five wilderness areas and is a veritable playground for outdoor adventures: hiking, camping, fishing, and in the winter, skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing.

Trek to wild waterfalls, rivers, and lakes and inhale the unique scent of forest wildflowers while keeping an eye out for deer, bears, bald eagles, and mountain lions.

Tall, green trees in front of a mountain silhouette inside the national forest.

Nerickson-Photos /

Strap on your helmet, embark along one of the forest’s excellent biking trails, and feel the adrenaline rush as you bike from forest to lakeshore and back.

Take your crew to rent a boat, paddleboard, or kayak and be stunned by the view of snow-covered mountain peaks, turquoise waters, and the sunset.

And pitch your tent right in the mountainous terrain, feeling like a real ranger as you stargaze in the great outdoors.

Explore the Underground at Pluto’s Cave

The sunlight coming inside a hole of Pluto's cave.

Volodymyr Osypov /

Mount Shasta, the mountain, is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1786, and there are still lava caves on the landscape.

One of these accessible lava tube systems is Pluto’s Cave, which can be explored 36 minutes from the city and extends more than a mile underground.

It is a classic lava tube formed by molten lava passing through older, hardened lava to create a tunnel.

Rocky interior of Pluto's cave.

Dave Bunnell, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The cave trail descends into craggy piles, steep drops, and sandy floors, and you will be hiking and climbing into the lava tube and seeing points where the roof has collapsed.

At the final part of the trail, the cave extends over a mile underground and in darkness: make sure you take along snacks, water, and headlamps if you plan to go that far.

It is a darkly intriguing journey, and as you emerge back, you will see an inspiring view of portions of the cave and Mount Shasta on the horizon.

Final Thoughts

At the city of Mount Shasta, outdoor escapades and spiritual nourishment are never far from each other.

If you are convinced to give this unique location a shot, bring along this list so you won’t miss the best things to do.

In the shadow of a famous mountain, this city makes for a true merge of adventure and soul-seeking for any visitor.

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