The Shasta National Forest is a federally designated forest in northern California, USA. It is the largest National Forest in California and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
We have done this loop counterclockwise, and didn't regret it one bit as it has allowed us to completely avoid the crowds even though it was a long weekend.
A word of caution: even though this trail description says the loop is 14.2 miles, in reality it's closer to 17-18.
On the first day we walked 7.5 miles to Bear Basin and camped on an established camping site. The closest human soul was an entire 1 mile away, and we got an amazing experience of being alone in the wilderness.
On the second day it took us another 5 miles to reach the Seven Up Pass. The Seven Up Pass was the most beautiful part of the hike. Wherever you are hiking from, make sure you traverse it! We were originally thinking to connect to the Four Lakes Loop from there, however, that trail involved going down into the Black Deer Valley and coming up on the other side just as much as we have just done out of the Bear Valley, and we didn't feel up to it.
So we had an amazing lunch in an incredible tucked in spot at Seven up Pass and headed down to the Granite Lake. Granite Lake was a zoo - we counted 10 tents visible just from the trail! It really felt like there needed to be an established bathroom there at this point, it was so overcrowded. So we headed down to the car. The second day for us was 11 miles, which is a bit of a stretch with backpacks.
More photos and description can be found here:
Nicole E. on Black Butte
Amazing 360 views!
Nicole E. on Lake Siskiyou Trail
Awesome easy hike around lake sis. Had to get off the trail quite a bit to stay near the water, so it ended up being almost 8 miles for us.
Not so sure this Trail had much to offer. You can get most of these views without any effort on multiple other trails around here. Maybe it's better earlier in the season when it's cooler and there's snow on the ground, but in mid-august it sucked.
Train your face off! I once climbed via Avalanche Gulch using crampons and axe. This was far preferable over my second trip in the late Summer, climbing via Clear Creek. We never hit snow, so the crampons and axe were just extra weight in my pack. The loose skree/sand/gravel made for the ol' one step up-half step back climb. It was kinda miserable.
Stopping to hike around Mt. Shasta wasn’t on my itinerary but I’m glad I did. I started on the Gray Butte trail since this was the only trail I had knowledge of. Nice hike offering some amazing views of Mt. Shasta and the surrounding landscape. A little rocky and steep towards the top of the peak but definitely worth the effort. After working my way back down my curiosity of the South Gate Meadows (another name for this is Squaw Meadows apparently) trail got to me so I took off that way. Not having researched this trail I slowed my pace a little. Some great variations on this hike with a good portion out in the open. Upon arriving at the South Gate Meadows I was introduced to a fast moving stream pushing its way through the land. After looking around I realized I had worked my way around to the far side of Mt. Shasta and another great view. I headed back the way I came and to the Panther Meadows campground. I spent about three hours on roughly six and half miles of trail. Still unfamiliar with these Nor-Cal hikes but I saw enough to convince me to come back.