South Gate Trail via Gray Butte and The Gate Trail

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Mount Shasta Wilderness

Gray Butte and South Gate Trail is a 4.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mount Shasta, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from July until October.

Distance: 4.4 miles Elevation Gain: 764 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

views

wild flowers

scramble

no dogs

As of August 2019, hikers report the road still closed at Bunny Flat. You may walk up the road to the trailhead.

hiking
off trail
rocky
7 months ago

Grey butte and South Gate trail leading to Mount Shasta’s close up view was moderate and comparably easy, but still need to be well fit for climbing to the top of hills. The opposite side of the trail was HELL. I don’t recommend taking it as it’s off trail and you can get easily lost! Very steep and must climb many picks including red sand and rocky hills, it’s very dangerous. Don’t take this loop trail!!!

hiking
7 months ago

As previously mentioned, STAY ON THE TRAIL, to include dogs and children. They are trying to rehabilitate this alpine meadow that is hardy in that it can deal with extreme winter, but fragile in that it can’t handle being trampled by hordes of people and animals. I think this AllTrails map is incorrect and reflects paths that no longer exist due to the rehab project... adapt by following the signs and staying on trail.

hiking
8 months ago

I joined just to beg people- do not step foot off the trail. If you have a dog, do not let them off leash and step off the trail either. Ideal is to keep your dog either directly ahead or directly behind when in panther meadows, not by your side since the trail thru the meadows is so small. Panther meadows is an ancient and sacred place to the winnemem wintu- if you find the spring please do not touch it or disturb the silt the water bubbles up through. Do not drink from it, winnemem wintu people dont even let their children touch that water or even visit the meadow, it is so sacred. Please be respectful. Remember that some of those tiny itty bitty flowers in the meadow take 60 years to bloom. Many of the plants and herbs are medicinal and after so many hippies ravaging the area since the 70s, the meadow is finally getting some rest and coming back. It used to be filled with wildflowers. I say if gate is closed at bunny flats, give the meadows a rest and find another trail that isnt so culturally sensitive. Let panther meadows rest as much as possible and visit her another time. It an extremely delicate alpine meadow and unlike many alpine meadows in the world, with a very sensitive habitat. Please do not ever step off the trail, wade in the meadow streams, let your dog trample the vegetation, nothing. I learned this the hard way and had old winnemem wintu grandmas nearly in tears telling me all this, and about how the rangers try their best but are spread too thin to properly protect the ecosystem of the meadows. There's usually a camp ecologist that will talk to you but I think he needs to be more aggressive telling people rules of the meadows he never seemed to want to talk to anybody. If bunny flats gate is closed he might not even be there. Please let the meadows rest if you can stand revisiting another year. Thank you for reading god bless

hiking
9 months ago

A must do IMHO. Views and more views. We went clockwise on the loop. Here is where I have an issue. The first 2/10 of the loop going in that direction IS NOT an official trail. In fact there is small sign indicating such. At this spot if you just stay left, the trail will go to the road and you can hike up the road (adding about 1/2 mile) to the next trail head and get back on the trail. I would do this trail again and again. IMHO it is on the easier side of moderate, and just views everywhere. LOVED it! I just have a problem trampling on vegetation by taking short cuts. Oh, very sun exposed so sun protection is a must.

hiking
rocky
scramble
9 months ago

Hiked the Southgate Meadows trail today (8/18/19) - the road is 100 % open all the way to the end - stunning day, stunning hike - went from the upper end of the road to Southgate Meadows and back, but hiked up the creek /falls at Southgate Meadows until the creek water disappeared into the rocks - it was awesome- if u go, make it a priority to walk up the trail along the falls until the water disappears into the rocks - rather incredible - u will not be disappointed- and of course, bring plenty of water and snacks - take your time and enjoy the experience

hiking
9 months ago

Road was open to trailhead. Hiked up to Gray Butte. Gorgeous views, slightly warm mid-day.

hiking
9 months ago

Rated 5 stars because of the views. Mt. Shasta in if it’s self is awesome. Panther Meadow trail is a short but nice moderate trail with views that go on for miles. When I was here 1st week of Aug. 2019 the road from Bunny Meadows to Old Ski Bowl OSB was close so I walk the road for the 1st 2.5. The road is suppose to open next week. If you like views of mountain ranges make the hike/drive to OSR tail head.

hiking
9 months ago

Road still closed at Bunny Flat as of 8/3/19, but you can walk up the road to get to the trailhead. Gray Butte and Panther meadows are actually 2 different trails. I found articles online that say Gray Butte is the only one that allows dogs (on leash), however from the signs posted, it appears that on-leash dogs are also allowed on Panther Meadows. It was about 15 degrees cooler here than the base of the mountain.

hiking
snow
10 months ago

July 5 2019 update: road still closed after bunny flat trailhead. You can still walk a couple of miles to panther meadows but I was told that it is covered in snow right now. Rangers suggest you to hike upto horsecamp instead, which is actually very beautiful in my opinion. (Lots of snow on the top) (Giving 5 stars as alltrails wouldn’t let me post an update without reviewing it!!)

hiking
Fri May 24 2019

May 24th 2019. Snow closure. Be aware that the road is still closed at the 7,000ft marker, well short of the trailhead. Our guesstimate is that the snow won’t be cleared until sometime in July. When we plan to return.

hiking
Mon Oct 15 2018

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.

Mon Aug 20 2018

Nice trail good for a day hike

hiking
Wed Jun 20 2018

Went to hike the Grey Butte and Panther Meadows Trail in June 2018. Google Maps sent us on the wrong road and we ended up on a logging road of pretty off-road-like conditions. Do not use the entrance via the Shasta Ski Park HWY. Take A-10 from Mt.Shasta City. This road was closed about 2 1/2 miles before the trail entry. The hike was beautiful leading through green meadows with spring water run off, trees and climbing up above the tree-line including a breathtaking view of Mt.Shasta and the surrounding distant mountains. The terrain looked almost out of this world with patches of snow and beautiful wild flowers. The trail’s signage is not the best, you have to look for rock markers to help you find the trail on occasion. We saw only three pairs of hikers on this loop on a Tuesday afternoon.

hiking
Sun Oct 22 2017

I can tell you the map they show here is not a trail after an hour of searching for the trail I realized there is none this must’ve been cross country climbing…

hiking
Thu Sep 28 2017

Almost alone on the hike. Wonderful weather. And the views are breathtaking.

hiking
Sun Sep 03 2017

Amazing hike. Have to admit - wasnt looking forward to this hike. Worried that the smoke from the fires would ruin it when actually the hike was above the smoke. Easy to find trailhead. Panther Meadows - really nice in the morning. Grey Butte was also really nice - gradual elevation gain and the views of Shasta were amazing. Back to Southgate - really interesting - almost a desert feel. Back to Panther Meadow. Dont skip this hike

hiking
Sun Aug 07 2016

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.

hiking
Mon Aug 01 2016

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.

hiking
Thu Sep 24 2015

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.

hiking
Tue Nov 12 2013

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.

hiking
Mon Nov 11 2013

View from Gray Butte trail was spectacular! And dog friendly! Woot!

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

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