Panther Meadows, Southgate Meadows and Gray Butte is a 5.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mt Shasta, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from July until October.
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.
The Panther meadows are beautiful and extremely easy to hike. After that you are left with a whole nothing to do. I ended up by hiking towards the summit and reached the snow (maybe by green butte?) Only on my way down I realized there was a trail coming from the last (highest) car parking.
We did the loop in august, left from panther meadows campground and went up and in, its about 2.6 miles to squaw meadows, we hung out there and then looped back to the old ski bowl via the upper trail. came in at a little over 5 miles with the walk back down from the bowl. The view there and through the barren moon scape on the side of Mt Shasta was great. The rest of the trail is mostly wooded so more pine trees! you can camp at the meadows for the backpackers out there.
When we went, we only went from Panther meadows (campground) to the gray butte out and back trail. This was a fairly short hike, I would say 5-6km max and very easy for beginners and intermediates. It has a wonderful view of mt Shasta when you reach the top. I give it a 3 stars because it is an average trail with a great view at the end.
View from Gray Butte trail was spectacular! And dog friendly! Woot!