wild flowers


nature trips

trail running






dog friendly

dogs on leash

kid friendly

horseback riding




no dogs


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.

This was an adventure! I took my kids, ages 8 and 9, and I was a little stressed out about the trains. There are many areas where it is narrow and not a lot of room on the sides of the tracks, and I worried about getting stuck in that section if a train rolled through. You're stuck basically walking either on the tracks, or on the rock, which is actually tricky to walk on and found it was worth the stress to just walk on the tracks. Stay on the EAST side of the tracks on the way in and out; the west side is really narrow and you'd basically be pinned against a rock face if a train came through. We had one train go by, but we had basically found a nice wide spot to sit and enjoy some snacks and wait for one so we knew we'd likely be clear the rest of the way there. The train ended up stopping, actually, and we continued on while it was stopped and moved aside once it started moving. The falls themselves were magical and absolutely gorgeous. My kids enjoyed the adventure. We parked on Dunsmuir Avenue and walked down through Shasta Retreat, and had no problems at all. We always eat at Yak's after a hike in the area because they have delicious food!

I give it 5 stars but I got lost on my first attempt. I started at the south gate trailhead and completely missed the right when you reach the forest. I followed rock carins for a ways down the slope and realized there was no trail there after reaching the valley at the bottom. I did come across a really cool slime mold along the way. I went back the next day and started from the panther meadow trailhead and completed the hike and tried to make obvious trail makers hopefully to prevent anyone else from missing the turn. The hike was absolutely beautiful.

Nice hike but may be challenging for younger children because of length and some steep terrain. Beautiful scenery and a well marked trail. I would like to hike this again in the spring when wildflowers are in bloom.

14 days ago

Beautiful hike with great views of the lake. Mild changes in elevation. Starting on the more northern route, the trail is much more shaded, and as the trail turns south it opens up with beautiful views. The trail follows the road back up to the parking area marked on the map. Great afternoon hike.

21 days ago

Perfect amount of hiking and scenery. Loved this hike!

Went in September 2018. Lots of honeybees- better than mosquitoes I guess. Used it as a base camp and hiked to 4 lakes loop. Not an easy feat even without all of our gear. The trouts were very small in lake, but I believe it had just been stocked in August.

With the trails just reopened according to PCTA after months of wildfires in the region, it was an amazing day.
Of course it is September, so the falls aren’t falling, but I can see why this stretch of the PCT would be so popular for day hikes. Took my dogs, kept them leashed and they were happy.
Note: first 7/10 mi is pretty much straight up and rocky in places, and the last stretch before you get to the falls (when there is water) is also a nice elevation but it is all worth it.
Do check the PCTA site to make sure it’s open.
Can’t wait to do that after some rains or in the spring.
Also: excellent cell service in this stretch

1 month ago

I attempted this climb several years ago in January/February time frame. It was my first mountaineering trip, and definitely a memorable experience. I went with four guys, one got strep throat, one got a bad knee, and then the two of us that were remaining got stuck in a wicked snow storm. Ended up digging a snow cave up near Helen Lake, and turned around the next day. Hope to return some day and reach the summit.

Awesome hike from castle lake to heart lake! very scenic, would probably be better on a week day at sunrise. It was a little crowded during the week.

This was my first summit! a beautiful and exhilarating hike.

This was a short and beautiful hike. The drive to the trail head is pleasant and not the least bit difficult.

Great short trail. Phenomenal views looking from the top to see Castle Lake & Mt Shasta. Not great. Phenomenal.

There were an inordinate number of meat bees and wasps on this trail. Recommend an Epi-Pen.

1 month ago

Easy through lower Deadfall Lakes then more of a moderate climb to upper Deadfall Lakes and beyond to the switchback trail leading to Mt. Eddy. Great hike with lots of views along the way. Perfect view of Mt Shasta from the summit, but very rocky and not very comfortable to sit but you can make it work (lots of small rocks). Great hike that is well worth the effort. Up and back via the PCT trail took about 5.5 hours with a nice lunch break at the summit. Highly recommend.

Beautiful hike from Horse Camp on the stone path. Once that ended the trek had lots of loose rocks and scree made it tough going for a while made it about 10k up right below Lake Helen. . We lucked out because it was a clear day but due to the fires most of the remaining days we were there the smoke prevented seeing the views. Hats off the the fire departments from all over risking their lives.

We took the wrong trail, poorly marked, and ended up on a ridge hike to the top. Above the tree line the rock is unstable, and is mountaineering, not a hike as I’d promised my hiking buddy. Very tough. I’m in marathon shape but this is a very difficult unstable mountain. Grant, the scenery was so beautiful and my partner had a great attitude.

Beautiful, refreshing trail. Wild experience.

This trail has great scenery - Thick forrest, meadows, creeks, craggily rocks. There are creeks available for water regularly along the trail. There is one area where you climb rock stairs upward for what seems like forever. If you have chicken legs like I do, it may destroy them :)

About 2 miles in, my buddy & I were hit with an intermittent hail storm. We continued forward due to how much we were enjoying the trail. The intermittent hail turned to intermittent snow, but we pushed on knowing the storm would pass. The storm did not pass & we were not prepared for snow - we turned back at the peak above deer lake, deciding not to stay the night & trying to desperately make it back before dark. (BTW - my fitbit showed us at 6+ miles at that point).

So about halfway back to the trailhead, we were heading through a sloped area, watching our footing & taking as we go. I looked up & there is a black bear in the middle of the trail about 60 feet in front of us. We hit our treking poles together, blew our whistles, & ad libbed some "go away bear lyrics". Success - our song was bad enough that the bear left. We made it back just in time to not need our flashlights.

Nice trail good for a day hike

Beautiful hike with an amazing private campsite for us and our dogs. Pretty awesome

2 months ago

This is a great trail that is many people do as a short backpacking trip. You camp at Deer Lake and then hike around the Four Lakes Loop on the next day. On the third day, you hike back out to your car. It's a great short backpacking trip with some awesome scenery. Here is a report I wrote with pics and maps that describes the route in detail: https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/four-lakes-loop/

2 months ago

This trail is best hiked as an overnight backpacking trip! Doing it as a day hike would make for a very long day with lots of climbing. It's a great backpacking trip if you hike out to one of the lakes in the Four Lakes Loop and set up camp there for two nights. On the 2nd day of you trip, you can do a day hike around the loop and maybe climb up to the top of Siligo Peak. On the 3rd day, you can hike back out to your car at the trail head. Here is a guide I wrote to backpacking the Four Lakes Loops that includes pics, maps, and other info: https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/four-lakes-loop/

This was a nice easy hike, although we did encounter some mosquitoes in the beginning, so be sure to have some repellent as they seem to be friendly creatures! Some nice views of the lake, and you could see the smoke in the air from the Carr Fire.

I enjoyed the hike this trail provided. Being close to the lake make sure you spray yourself with insect repellent

2 months ago

Beautiful trail from lower to upper falls. Most of the trail is fairly easy, hardest part is from middle falls to upper falls, fairly step switchbacks. Not overly difficult but be prepared with water and a hat during the warmer summer months. All in all though the views are pretty and the trails are mostly flat and easy to walk.

Pretty crazy drive up a steep mountain, and even crazier coming down. Make sure to keep your car in low gear or your brakes will start to burn.

Also, the AllTrails app isn't super accurate to get to the trailhead here. Google maps doesn't realize the road runs all the way up (it's a pretty bumpy old logging road) so it's hard to navigate it with your phone. Best advice would be to drive into Weaverville and follow the signs for the trailhead from there. Just take Weaver Bally Road all the way up to the top.

As for the actual hike, it was pretty nice, but the descent from the ridge to the lake takes longer than it should. Super rocky and some switchbacks. Lake is tiny and not deep, freezes over in winter so the fish can't survive. We fished it for a couple hours and didn't get anything.

2 months ago

Not bad, mainly strenuous on the way back. Bring sturdy hiking shoes, and bug spray.

2 months ago

Had a wonderful 2 night, 3 day stay at Deadfall Lakes, July 22nd to 24th, 2018. As we approached the trail-head, a huge summer shower just passed, and black clouds were drifting by. We judged the rain to be tapering off, and hiked to the larger Deadfall lake from the PCT. About 4 miles in, found a great campsite up from the lake, and settled in for a cloud-to-cloud lightning show that evening. Climbed up Mt. Eddy the next day, with views of Castle Crags, Mt. Shasta and the Trinity Alps in the distance. Very few mosquitoes, a few flies. Lots of through hikers on the PCT.

The lake was not too cool to swim in, just right for a refreshing swim.

Pretty amazing excursion to say the least. The key thing to summit is proper training beforehand. The hard work will pay off!

trail running
2 months ago

Really enjoyed this hike. Easy going in and out. 3 miles will be way. Stayed on the other side of the lake. Enjoyed listening to all the wild life. Jumped in the lake when I woke up to start the day jumped in furring the day to cool off and jumped in the lake before bed to wash off all the dust. Lots of day hiking in the surrounding area. Hiked up to the upper lake below MT Eddy. It was a steep hike up but not too bad. Hiked 6 miles to Porcupine Lake and back totaling a little over 12 miles Loved seeing all of the PCT hikers. Would do this hike again.

Worth the hike! Gorgeous view for Mt. Shasta and lake Castle.

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