The author McKenna Mobley, hiking on the summit of Mount Shasta, one of the best things to do in Mount Shasta

21 Best Things to Do in Mount Shasta (in 2023)

There are plenty of fun things to do in Mount Shasta, California. Despite being a small mountain town, you’ll find exhilarating mountain climbing adventures, gorgeous alpine lakes, excellent cafes & coffee shops, and so much more. Really, Mount Shasta packs a punch in the activities department.

As a California local and an avid mountain peak chaser, I’ve been on road trips to Mount Shasta multiple times. I’ve successfully summited the 14,180-foot mountain and have spent idyl days writing at Mount Shasta cafes.

In this article, I’ll fill you in on some of the best things to do in this California mountain town. Saddle up and get ready for an adventure!

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21 Best Things to Do in Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta

The highest mountain in Mt. Shasta beckons mountaineers, campers, and skiers alike.

View of the hikers on the ascent of Mount Shasta
My friends on the ascent of Shasta
View of the hikers taking a break on Mount Shasta
Taking a break before the final push to the summit

📍 Google Maps | Phone:  (530) 926-4511 | Mount Shasta Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Climbing Mount Shasta is a challenging stratovolcano hike with a 7,200-foot ascent to the summit. I recommend trekking up the alpine peak in winter, but only for travelers with experience using crampons and an ice axe. Mount Shasta is climbable in the summer as well but be ready for a steep hike and lots of scree. It’s a challenging endeavor, to say the least.

I summited Mount Shasta via the Avalanche Gulch Route in a single day. I highly recommend camping overnight on the mountain to break up the steep ascent and avoid over-exerting yourself (I may have gotten sick on the climb but I’ll spare you the details). 

👉 Pro Tip: Here is the exact ice axe and crampons I used to climb to the Mount Shasta summit.

Castle Crags State Park

One of the best places to rock climb in the greater Mount Shasta area.

View of the peaks of Mount Shasta from the woods in Castle Crags State Park
The dense scenery of the state park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 235-2684 | Castle Crags State Park Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: $8 parking

Castle Crag State Park is one of the best places to rock climb in California with a multitude of granite spires, sheer cliff walls, and domes. The climbs range from 20 feet to over 900 feet and include scrambles and proper climbs. There are options for both novice climbers and experts alike.

For hikers, the park has over 28 miles of trails with Crags Trail being the most challenging. Crags Trail will give you sweeping forested views as you hike 2,000 feet upwards to the base of Castle Dome. You’ll also get a great view of Mount Shasta in the near distance.

Additionally, there are 76 campsites in the park for those staying overnight.

Shasta-Trinity National Forest

Hundreds of alpine hiking trails await in this Cascade Mountain forest.

View of the peaks of Mount Shasta from the rainforest of Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Mt. Shasta pokes through the national forest tree tops

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 226-2500 | Shasta-Trinity National Forest Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is California’s largest national forest. The national forest covers almost 900,000 hectares including the Trinity Alps, glaciated lakes that are perfect for trout fishing and white water rafting, and hundreds of hiking trails.

Mount Shasta is the crown jewel here, the namesake mountain that looms over the whole town. You’ll likely spend some time in this national forest when visiting Mount Shasta, so be sure to check out the campgrounds or dispersed camping in the area. Dispersed camping in Mount Shasta usually allows campers to stay for 14-30 consecutive days.

👉 Read Next: Where to Stay in Mount Shasta

Mt. Shasta Ski Park

Exercise your love of winter sports at the Mt. Shasta ski resort, one of the best all-natural resorts in the area.

Exterior view of the Mount Shasta Visitor Center
Mount Shasta Visitor Center

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 926-8600 | Mt. Shasta Ski Park Website | Hours: 7:30 am-5 pm | Entrance: $399 season pass, adults, $169 season pass, juniors

Mount Shasta Ski Park is one of the best ski resorts in California. It’s perfect for novice skiers who aren’t yet ready to take on backcountry skiing on Mount Shasta.

An all-day holiday lift ticket for adults is $99, and $74 for a half-day. Shasta in the winter is an ideal time to visit, not just for skiing but to experience cheaper hotel prices and fewer crowds as well.

There are also plenty of summer activities at Mount Shasta Ski Park, including disc golf, chairlift rides, and mountain biking.

Shasta Lake

Indulge in water sports at this glacier-fed lake in Mount Shasta.

Panoramic view of the empty Shasta Lake on a sunny day
An empty Shasta Lake on a sunny day

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 530-275-7400 | Shasta Lake Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Shasta Lake is the biggest man-made water reservoir in California and is a popular destination for water sports. Spending a day here gives travelers incredible views of the 14,000-foot peak of Mount Shasta in the background.

Shasta Lake, one of the best California lakes, is also perfect for boating and jet skiing. No boat? No problem! Rent one right on the banks of the lake and enjoy a summer afternoon on the water.

Heart Lake Trail

An easy 3-mile out-and-back trek that takes hikers to a beautiful high-altitude lake.

Aerial view of the heart shaped lake surrounded by the rainforest with the Mount Shasta in the background
Do you see the heart?

📍 Google Maps | Heart Lake Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Lake Shasta’s Heart Lake via Castle Lake trail is a 3-mile out-and-back hike with 800 feet of elevation gain. This trail offers hikers scenic views around the forest town and ends at Heart Lake – a beautiful alpine lake. 

The trail is relatively off the beaten path as well. I’ve hiked this trail once and only ran into one other person the whole day. 

Dogs are welcome on the hike but beware of wildlife like black bears and mountain lions.

Horse Camp

A 720-acre campground reached by an 8,000-foot climb to the base of Mount Shasta.

Overlooking view of the campers at the Horse Camp in Mount Shasta
A view of Horse Camp as I descended from the Avalanche Gulch chute

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 926-4511 | Horse Camp Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Horse Camp is a campground on Mount Shasta that is reached by a 3.2-mile out-and-back hike. The Sierra Club, a regional non-profit, owns the campground. It’s a popular jumping-off point for other hikes in the area like Mt. Shasta, Lake Helen, or the Hidden Valley Route.

Even if you don’t plan on going further than the campground, hiking to Horse Camp is one of the best ways to experience the grandeur of Mount Shasta without having to expend too much energy. You’ll also find the Shasta Alpine Lodge at the campground.

In order to reach the camp you’ll have to carry all of your hiking and camping essentials for the night.

Mossbrae Falls

A multi-layered waterfall reached by a 3-mile out-and-back trail.

Picturesque view of the multi-waterfall surrounded by greenery and huge rocks at the bottom in Mossbrae Falls
The mysterious multi-waterfall

📍 Google Maps | Hours: sunrise-sunset 

Mossbrae Falls is a fun 3.0-mile out-and-back hike suited for visitors of all fitness levels. Technically just over the town line in Dunsmuir, the spring-fed waterfall consists of multiple layers of water crashing down. The surrounding area is lush and mossy.

Getting to the falls is a bit tricky, however. Make sure you don’t walk through the Mt. Shasta Retreat cabin site or along the Union Pacific Railroad to avoid a trespassing violation. Park on the north side of Dunsmuir Avenue and walk on the public streets.

Downtown Mount Shasta

Support local small businesses in Downtown Shasta and check current weather conditions on the mountain from the local gear shop.

Storefront view of The Fifth Season in Mt. Shasta
The Fifth Season, the best gear shop in Mt. Shasta

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 926-4865 | Mount Shasta Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Downtown Mount Shasta is a great destination for shopping, coffee, and meeting other Mt. Shasta visitors. Visiting will make you understand why Mount Shasta is an essential stop on any California road trip.

Prior to tackling any Mount Shasta hikes or climbs, I recommend stopping in at The Fifth Season Shop. This downtown gear shop has up-to-date information about the snow conditions on Mount Shasta, which is helpful for visitors who hope to climb the peak. They also offer guided ascents.

I also recommend Berryvale Grocery Natural Market where you’ll find everything from organic cacao to all-natural lip balm, local wine, and other snacks.

Mount Shasta City Park

Relax in the middle of town and drink from fresh spring water refilling stations.

A spring water at the Mount Shasta City Park
Free Mt. Shasta spring water

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 926-2494 | Mount Shasta City Park Website | Hours: 7 am-9 pm | Entrance: Free

The 26 acres of Mount Shasta City Park offer plenty of opportunities for recreation in the middle of town. Trails through the park cross the Sacramento River and the spring water filling station helps you save money on bottled water while in town.

Mount Shasta City Parks also has a playground for kids, picnic tables, and public buildings for use.

Seven Suns Coffee & Cafe

Grab a cup of coffee at Mount Shasta’s favorite cafe.

Exterior view of the Seven Suns Coffee & Cafe
Seven Suns Coffee facade

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 926-9701 | Seven Suns Coffee Website | Hours: 6 am-2 pm | Entrance: Free

Seven Suns Coffee & Cafe is a relaxed coffee shop and cafe in Mount Shasta offering exemplary coffee and food. All-day breakfast items include the breakfast bagel sandwich and the Meat Lover’s Burrito, while cobb salad, nachos, and garden wraps are available for lunch.

When the weather is nice, I recommend grabbing a seat in their outdoor section to soak in the fresh air.

Dunsmuir Farmers Market

Shop for local produce from small-scale farmers at the Dunsmuir and Shasta Farmers Markets.

View of the banners of the farmers market in Mount Shasta
A Shasta banner advertising the farmers market

📍 Google Maps | Dunsmuir Farmers Market Website | Hours: Thursday 4-7 pm| Entrance: Free

The Dunsmuir Farmers Market is located just outside of Mount Shasta and takes place every Thursday from 4-7 pm. Some of the items on offer include local fresh produce, preserves, and baking. 

While Mount Shasta does have its own farmers market, taking a trip to the Dunsmuir market allows you to expand your horizons and experience a new Shasta Trinity National Forest town. Due to extreme weather conditions and heavy snow in the Shasta region, the Dunsuir market takes place from June to October only. 

Pluto’s Cave

Explore underground lava tubes right outside Mount Shasta.

A hiker inside the Pluto’s Cave
A photo from inside the daunting cave with a person in blue for scale

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 842-6131 | Pluto’s Cave Website | Hours: 6 am-8 pm daily | Entrance: Free

Pluto’s Cave is located on the northern outskirts of Mount Shasta in the Klamath National Forest. One of the spookiest things to do in town, this cave features ancient basaltic lava rock and a 1.5-mile round-trip hiking trail. Of course, the trail can be made longer depending on how deep you wish to go into the cave.

I would advise all prospective visitors to bring a headlamp or flashlight, as there are bats in the cave. 

👉 Pro Tip: I personally use the Petzl Actik Core Headlamp, which has an option for AA batteries but also comes with a rechargeable battery to ensure extra protection during the adventure. 

Black Butte Trail

Hike to the top of a mountain, surrounded by 360-degree views of Mount Shasta.

Signage of Black Butte Trail in the middle of the forest
The hike trail marker in the national forest makes sure you’re on the right track

📍 Google Maps | Black Butte Trail Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Black Butte Trail is a 2.5-mile trail from the trailhead to the summit and is the perfect way to soar to new heights in Mt. Shasta. Gaping views can be seen from the 6,325-foot summit, including Mount Shasta city and the Sacramento River to the south.

However, despite being a relatively short trail, it is rather difficult. The steep ascent is rocky and there is no water available along the trail. Black Butte Trail is one of the best things to do in Mount Shasta for visitors looking for a challenging, but bearable, workout. 

📚 Related Reading: Best Hikes in California

Lava Beds National Monument

A Californian monument featuring multiple lava tubes and volcanic landscapes.

View of the opening of the cave from below the ground in Lava Beds National Monument
The illuminated exit poses a striking contrast to the pitch-black lava tube caves below.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 667-8100 | Lava Beds National Monument Website | Hours: 10 am-4 pm daily | Entrance: $25 per vehicle 

Lava Beds National Monument is located on the northeastern edge of Medicine Lake Volcano and is comprised of many volcanic landscapes. In fact, this monument features the largest area in the Cascade Mountain Range that is covered by a volcano.

Caving is one of the most popular activities at Lava Beds National Monument. Volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created over 800 caves dotting the rugged landscape over the last half-million years. Caving permits are free, but must be picked up at the Visitor Center before you enter a cave.

Lake Siskiyou

Go hiking or plan a camping trip at Lake Siskiyou in Mount Shasta.

Scenic view of Lake Siskiyou surrounded by the rainforest and the blooming flowers in spring
Lake Siskiyou in the springtime

📍 Google Maps | Lake Siskiyou Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: $3 per person

The Lake Siskiyou reservoir is only 2.3 miles from Mt. Shasta and is one of the coolest things to do in Northern California for panoramic views.

There is ample camping around Lake Siskiyou, including Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort. The resort itself offers accommodations, boat rentals, and plenty of other amenities. 

Additionally, visitors can enjoy a multi-use trail around the perimeter of the lake, lined with picnic tables with views of the domineering Shasta summit.

Shasta Sisson Museum

Learn more about the ecological and Indigenous past of Mount Shasta at this interesting museum.

View of the snow covered peaks of Mount Shasta from the downtown
Walking around Mount Shasta with views of the peak in the background

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 926-5508 | Shasta Sisson Museum Website | Hours: 10 am-4 pm daily | Entrance: Free

The exhibits at the Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum highlight the adversity of summiting Shasta throughout the years, as well as the ecological history and Indigenous culture of the area. Common rotating and permanent exhibits include ones on local ecology, local weather phenomena, and the region’s railroad system.

For added fun, be sure to check out the museum’s event calendar. There are presentations, tours, and more.

Panther Meadows

Hike a short trail to this high-altitude campground right on Mount Shasta.

View of Panther Meadows and stratovolcano from the trail
A view of Panther Meadows from the trail with the stratovolcano dominating the background

📍 Google Maps | Panther Meadows Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Panther Meadows Campground is an alpine campground situated at 7,500 feet with tables, fire rings, and a vault toilet. Hiking to this campground is a great way to experience the majestic Mt. Shasta without having to put in too much hard work.

Panther Meadows Campground is completely free to the public and is first-come, first-serve. The trail to reach the site is only 1.4 miles and is one of the best things to do in Mount Shasta for spectacular views. 

Hedge Creek Falls

An easily accessible waterfall with a hidden cave behind it.

View of the forested falls of Hedge Creek Falls in Winter
A view of the forested falls during the winter

📍 Google Maps | Hedge Creek Falls Website | Hours: 24 hours | Entrance: Free

Hedge Creek Falls is a waterfall in the town of Dunsmuir with refreshingly cool waters. To reach the falls there is a 0.6-mile trail that is suited for hikers of all fitness levels. Comparably, Hedge Creek Falls is easier to access than other Mt. Shasta waterfalls. 

I highly recommend walking behind the crashing falls to explore the cave behind the cascade. You will get wet, however, so I only advise doing this in the summer so you don’t catch a chill. 

Outdoor Siskiyou Ice Rink

Ring in the holiday season with an ice skating adventure in the middle of the Cascade Mountains.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 926-1715 | Siskiyou Ice Rink Website | Hours: Seasonal 

The outdoor Siskiyou Ice Rink is an entirely outdoor ice skating facility that’s open from roughly November through February. The rink itself is the only National Hockey League-sized outdoor rink in California and is 85 feet wide by 200 feet long.

Entering the rink means purchasing a day pass, but ask about season passes and family passes if you see yourself visiting Mt. Shasta multiple times during the winter.

Shasta State Historic Park

Explore the remnants of old Shasta’s mining headquarters from the Gold Rush era.

Exterior view of an old building at the historical town in Shasta State Historic Park
A few old-timey buildings from the old Gold Rush town

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (530) 243-8194 | Shasta State Historic Park Website | Hours: 10 am-5 pm daily, Closed Monday-Wednesday | Entrance: Free

Mt. Shasta State Historic Park is home to abandoned California Gold Rush-era buildings that educate visitors on the history of the Mt. Shasta area. Paying a visit is perfect for families interested in history and abandoned settlements.

In particular, pay a visit to The County Courthouse. This building has been entirely restored as it would have looked in 1861, and is filled with historical exhibits and California artwork.

FAQs About What to Do in Mount Shasta

What are the best things to do in one day in Mount Shasta?

The best things to do in Mount Shasta are hiking to either Horse Camp or Panther Meadows. This way, you will experience the highest and most intense mountain in the Shasta Trinity National Forest

What are the best things to do in Mount Shasta with kids?

Hiking to Heart Lake via Castle Lake, going for a swim in Shasta Lake, and camping on Lake Siskiyou are the best things to do in Mount Shasta with kids.

How many days do you need in Mt. Shasta?

2-3 days is an ideal amount of time to visit Mount Shasta, especially if you plan on camping. Long hikes and camping overnight are the biggest attractions of the mountain town, making 2-3 days an ideal amount of time to explore Mt. Shasta. 

Why visit Mount Shasta?

Mount Shasta is an outdoor recreation haven. From high-altitude mountain climbing to camping, lake activities, rock climbing, and fun mountain biking trails Mt. Shasta has something for every outdoor adventurer. 


You made it to the end of my guide to the best things to do in Mount Shasta! Up next, check out this ultimate list of places to visit in California.

Enjoy the mountains!

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