Mount Shasta Trail

HARD 82 reviews

Mount Shasta Trail is a 10.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mount Shasta, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September.

DISTANCE
10.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
7,122 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

skiing

snowshoeing

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

An epic two day ascent of a 14,000ft California Volcano. This is the standard route up from Bunny Flats with an overnight at the campsites near Lake Helen. From there you ascend up the face and then through Red Banks to Misery Hill (the crappy false summit) and then to the true summit with a return via a ski descent either left or right of "the heart". Highly suggested to do this trip as a two day climb to get used to the altitude. It's a big one!

backpacking
1 month ago

Absolutely amazing experience. Standard Avalanche Gulch route, rather late in the 2018 season (July 6th-7th). In retrospect, worth doing earlier for more snow on the approach, which was instead a lot of scree.

Additional reason for doing earlier is the hazardous rock fall danger. In fact, rock traveling ‘warp-speed’ split my roommate and I (we were no more than 10’ apart) on the gulch ascent (3am start) from Helen Lake to the Red Banks. Made for an extremely unnerving remaining ~1k’ up past the Heart. Apparently better to get later start (~4am) this late in the season re: rock fall + wind.

After the Red Banks (steep) chimney, and magical sunrise Shasta shadow to the south, Misery Hill was indeed a slog, all scree at this point.

Final push on summit plateau was inspiring, only ~250’ of elevation remaining to the summit. *Make sure to get updated forecast (storms/wind) and worth bringing an anemometer, as we were surprised with near 50 mph winds while summiting (8:15am). Ideally less than ~40mph at the top, as we barely felt comfortable getting to the register.

All in all, an incredible introduction to mountaineering. We went unguided after much research and planning, but benefited from linking up with 2 other small groups. Fun Glissade on the way down. Total RT time from Helen up and back was ~8 hours, but included some leisurely breaks. Crampons and axe almost certainly required.

While others are a priority now, definitely would revisit Shasta in the future, potentially on more technical routes with some more experience. 9/10, only due to rockfall moment and the scree.

hiking
1 month ago

Climbed yesterday ... It looks like 2 day climbs are popular on weekends (camp on Saturday, summit on Sunday) but a lot of people who summited on Saturday chose a one day option.

As opposed to regular hiking, this route requires you to use crampons, ice axe and helmet.

Glissading is the best way to get down!

hiking
2 months ago

Climbed this bad boy overnight on May 27th to the 28th. Started at Bunny Flats at about 11:15pm, which was actually a bit too early, wish I would have started a bit later. I hit Lake Helen at about 1:45am but wasn't exactly sure the path I should follow up through Red Banks, so I kinda just found a place to lay down until campers started to wake up. Began the ascent through Red Banks at about 2:30am and my god it was tough, just seemingly endless. Made it to thumb rock right as the sun was rising, and it was sa-weet. Everything after that was tough, but no where near as hard as the section from Helen through Red Banks. Summited around 7am and was back at my car by noon.

A few points that I will explain that I was wondering before my hike. Things were very steep through Red Banks but never steep to the point that I felt unsafe; if you have crampons and an ice axe it's totally fine. You don't actually see the summit until you're basically there, so never assume that what you're looking at is the final prize. Hiking through the night was actually super ideal, great full moon made it so that I didn't have to use my headlamp, and was nice to have hard ice during the hike.

Everything was awesome, I highly recommend. I also beer bonged a bud light at the top, and surprisingly, helped ease my nerves on the descent.

hiking
2 months ago

Did it on 5/25/18 - took Avalanche Gulch. Started exactly at midnight (parking lot - Bunny Flats), and reached the summit at 9:34am. Crampons and ice axe used from Horse Camp all the way to the summit. Only eight people summited on this day. Around 10am, the storm came in - cold (19 degrees on the summit), complete whiteout, snow, rain (lower elevation) - no wind. Unable to see anything on the way down all the way to Horse Camp - had to follow own steps from the ascent.

6 months ago

Summitted this majestic mtn several years ago and have ascended other 14-ers since. This is still my favorite AND one of the more challenging to safely climb!

Our ascent was on the Summer Solstice 6/21 with a Full Moon, bright starry night, clear blue skies, tandem moonset/sunrise and a heavy snowfall 3 days earlier... Couldn't ask for any better conditions than that! The icing on top was the exhilerating glissade ride down that cut several hours off our descent...

We rewarded ourselves the next day with soothing massages, mineral soaks & cold creek dips at Stewart Springs followed by a hearty dinner at Mt Sasta Resort to replenish the approx. 10,000 calories we'd burned!

7 months ago

Made the trip down from Portland for a solo NYE summit. Unbelievable. Be extra cautious on the descent, especially through Red Banks.

hiking
7 months ago

Breathtaking hike and views. I was able to get above tree line with heavy duty yak-tracks. The ones with teeth, not just a cord. But I felt uneasy once it got steep without an ice axe to rescue me if I fell and made the slide for life.
Bottom line: It’s an absolute must do, if you’re in the area. The first part is fairly easy. Just make sure you have some sort of traction device. The snow was packed and therefore, icy. The crowds thinned to four of us once past the first 1/2mile...as is normal for wilderness hikes. And as an introvert looking for solitude, I’m thankful for that.

hiking
11 months ago

Climbed Shasta in June of '17 as my first '14er. Started around 4:30 AM and reached the summit around 10:30 AM. I was in the middle of a cycling tour from Portland to SanFrancisco, so I was in solid shape at the time. From what I understand, most 1 day summit attempts should be started around 1 AM. 2017 was also a heavy snow year, so it was a bit easier in late June that it may have otherwise been. Beautiful views throughout the climb, and I can't wait to get back out to Shasta.

hiking
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

climbed 2 weekends ago (07/15-07/16) along the west face route. started from bunny flats and camped at hidden valley Saturday (~3 mi and 2,000 ft elevation gain, took us approx. 6 hrs). started our climb up the west face ~1 am Sunday. we left most of our gear (tents, sleeping bags, snowshoes which we never used) back at basecamp and only brought crampons, ice picks, and helmets, along with food, water and extra jackets which also didn't need. reached the saddle point (top of west face) ~8 am and then reached the summit ~10 am. there was one other group climbing ahead of us, other than that didn't see anyone, was amazing. conditions were perfect, clear skies, low winds. glissade back to hidden valley (~4,000 ft in 30 min) around noon was incredible. then packed up our stuff and made our way back to the bunny flats trailhead. trail between hidden valley and horse camp is not very pleasant, hard to find and slippery talus/scree most of the way, but worthwhile.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Summited 7/14/18.

Ascent to Lake Helen the day previous. Certainly didnt hurt acclimatization. Late evening nap from 9PM till 3AM then the summit push. Took our time to Red Banks and then enjoyed the walk up Misery Hill to the Palisades.

To enjoy a quieter, safer and more rewarding summit I would advise avoiding weekends and holidays.

hiking
Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fun time had by all. 9 hours of uphill snow and scree from horse camp to the summer, 3 hours of (mostly glissading) downhill. Would probably be quicker earlier in the season; snow was very soft once sun came up.

hiking
Thursday, July 20, 2017

Beautiful but do not underestimate this mountain. Didn't reach the top this time due to a fallen soldier but will return

Monday, July 10, 2017

Steep hike to the top. Very challenging but rewarding!

hiking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

Chose to do as a straight shot, no camping. Started at 10 pm on 7/2/17 from Bunny Flat parking lot, temp at departure approx 75 degrees. Snow on trail after 1 mile. Moon was 3/4 and gave good overall light for direction finding once past Horse Camp. Snow past Horse Camp was soft, did not put on crampons until Helen Lake at 2am, probably should have put them on around 1am. Left Helen at 2:30 am with approx 40 other climbers, snow was hard, and uneven with suncups. Ascent to Red Banks took 3 hours, and while not terribly strenuous, a little dangerous because of people ahead slipping, dropping bottles, backpacks etc. witnessed one person fall and slide a hundred feet before he could self arrest. There is danger to oneself too, a slip can easiest result in sliding two thousand feet = death, or feedtube for rest of life. so, if this is your first time on mountain of this size, do yourself and others a big favor, and get educated on crampon, axe skills. Red Banks was a little challenging/technical, important that any climber can route find through them, not just follow others...who knows who they are, or what skills they have. many people were traversing lookers left, ascending rocky chutes, I chose to ascent first chute to left of headwall. At Misery, removed Crampons and went up scree switchbacks, put crampons back on to make final. rested at top for approx 2 hours with lunch. left summit at noon. made car by 3pm, after descending glissade luge below red banks. Ran out of water. Took 3 liters, gave one away for emergency. consumed 2 liters, and needed 4. I only knock of one star because not the most beautiful view from summit...

backpacking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

I started on 6/18/17 at 6:30 am. I would recommend starting earlier to avoid the heat during climbing and to give more time for acclimation. Hike bunny flats and camped just below Helen lake. Since it was a Sunday there were lots of tents from the previous day but at about 5pm I was the sole tent on the mountain.

Conditions were very warm due to a heat wave. Too warm for my liking. Wind was real low at 10-15 MPH. Basically a perfect day.

Made camp, ate and went to bed around 8pm. Woke at 2am, made breakfast then started the climb at 3am. Reached Helen lake around 4am. That's where the steepest climb began. Slow and steady wins the race. Started with about 15 others ahead of me but ended up 4th to summit at around 7:45.

Going down was easy but take care not to relax too much. Most people get injured on the descent. Glissading was fun once the snow softened up.

Be sure to cover your head. I got sunburnt on my scalp from not wearing a hat all day at base camp. Also burned the corners of my eye balls so either use full wrap sunglasses or buy the leather side shields to protect from glare. Apply sunscreen every hour or so.

For elevation sickness I popped 600 mg of ibuprofen before I started hiking and every time I started to get a headache. Drink plenty of water and eat a good amount of carbs. Got a mild headache when I first reached base camp and when I started to descend from summit. Ibuprofen saved me! The headache is caused by inflammation in the brain.

I brought about a gallon of water and melted snow to get about a gallon more. Make sure you bring enough fuel and protect your stove from wind so you aren't wasting it when in use.

I'd do it again. Make sure you train though this is very intense physically.

backpacking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

I started on 6/18/17 at 6:30 am. I would recommend starting earlier to avoid the heat during climbing and to give more time for acclimation. Hike bunny flats and camped just below Helen lake. Since it was a Sunday there were lots of tents from the previous day but at about 5pm I was the sole tent on the mountain.

Conditions were very warm due to a heat wave. Too warm for my liking. Wind was real low at 10-15 MPH. Basically a perfect day.

Made camp, ate and went to bed around 8pm. Woke at 2am, made breakfast then started the climb at 3am. Reached Helen lake around 4am. That's where the steepest climb began. Slow and steady wins the race. Started with about 15 others ahead of me but ended up 4th to summit at around 7:45.

Going down was easy but take care not to relax too much. Most people get injured on the descent. Glissading was fun once the snow softened up.

Be sure to cover your head. I got sunburnt on my scalp from not wearing a hat all day at base camp. Also burned the corners of my eye balls so either use full wrap sunglasses or buy the leather side shields to protect from glare. Apply sunscreen every hour or so.

For elevation sickness I popped 600 mg of ibuprofen before I started hiking and every time I started to get a headache. Drink plenty of water and eat a good amount of carbs. Got a mild headache when I first reached base camp and when I started to descend from summit. Ibuprofen saved me! The headache is caused by inflammation in the brain.

I brought about a gallon of water and melted snow to get about a gallon more. Make sure you bring enough fuel and protect your stove from wind so you aren't wasting it when in use.

I'd do it again. Make sure you train though this is very intense physically.

Monday, January 30, 2017

We hiked this route last September. We start 1am midnight. We got all our gear ready. It was only half mile & will be in the summit, but we had to turn around due to weather was in favor for us that day, wind & clouds was getting crazy. We checked the weather before we go but we just never know, it's changes every second specially you are in the highest altitude. Better be safe than sorry! . Worse hike I've ever been. Better Train yourself & plan before u do this hike. Definitely going back to reach the summit. View is amazing when u reach to the top!

hiking
Sunday, August 14, 2016

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.

backpacking
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Great climb, technical

hiking
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

We set off to conquer the summit in mid june. Apparently the best month to have a successful summit. Surprisingly the weather Gods were not in our favor. The night before we got dumped 15+ inches of snow. Warm weather with fresh snow created perfect conditions for avalanches. We were lucky enough to see multiple ones. Considering the danger, all guides, from all companies, decided to not attempt the summit. All in all we concluded that the beauty and energy of the place were all that mattered. In the end this is why we go up mountains. The journey is the destination has never rung so true.

backpacking
Saturday, June 25, 2016

Very hard. But so beautiful. Made it to the red banks but the winds were too high to go further. Check the wind at the summit before you go.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Great

hiking
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Super challenging.
One time experience.
NOT sure if I want to do it again.

hiking
Monday, June 22, 2015

It was awesome! Didn't make the top due to lots of snow fall (attempted spring break of 2014) but will try again some day soon :).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reached Shasta summit in June of 2014. Alltrails did not successfully track. Day camped by Bunny Flat trailhead but wasn't able to nap due to excitement and started hiking by 9pm. Snow had melted mostly before Horse Camp. A snow covered short detour along the gulch was gone after snow melted in less than a month. Hiking up Avalanche Gulch required crampons. Reached Lake Helen by midnight where most the campers were still asleep. Moonlight assisted the path up toward the Red Banks but as soon as moon set, a mislead "The Heart" to the left hit a dead end chute. It was 2am when a string of lights began from camp Lake Helen. The snow climb hit 45-50 degrees with need of ice axe. Series of up climb passing Misery Hill only to find out more climbing ahead to an uninteresting rock tip to the summit. Descending was all about glissading but glad did not have to backpack up in the first place. Had meal at Black Bear Diner, which is the first, right in Mt. Shasta.

hiking
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Late into summer and Clear Creek or Mt. Shasta has no snow - barring the hard ice near the summit. We took the Clear Creek trail after being informed that the Hotlum - Bolam glacier route was closed due to icy conditions and the crevasses had opened up. There were rock falls too. Well our choice was scree or no climb. We climbed and it was fun. We started early for our summit attempt around 7:45 PM and after some nice and easy rests made it to the summit earlier than sunrise. The way down on scree was fun, scary and tiring. The team was back down well ahead and I ambled my way down. I definitely recommend that you get some good skills on scree before attempting this one.

The track I am uploading is from a fellow climber.

hiking
Tuesday, June 03, 2014

This is definitely a bucket list mountain to climb. Four of us went up the Avalanche Gulch trail from Helen Lake in early June. Good snow all the way to the top, but make sure you know how to self-arrest. Two of us (at different times) slipped coming back down through the Red Banks and had to self-arrest. We were all able to glissade most of the way from the Red Banks back down to Helen Lake.

hiking
Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Went up in mid September thru the Clear Creek TH. Camped above the spring and started up the Mud Creek Ridge. Winds were very gusty (60-70mph). Imade it above Mud Creek Falls before turning back (my partner made it to Konwakiton where gusts were 80+). Returned to campsite and watched one of those most incredible storms ever dance over the top. We awoke to white-out and had to give up trying for the summit. This was my first try at a mountain with elevation but I will be back!

hiking
Friday, September 20, 2013

Awesome hike. I went in early sept. up the east side. Hiked to about 8500 ft camped out and made the summit push at 345am. Reached the peak by noon even after a one hour thunderstorm delay where we had to take shelter against some rocks. Poles highly recommended for this time of year. The terrain is tough going. However this can be had by all levels of aspiring climbers. Enjoy!

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