Visiting Mount Shasta? Here are five things you shouldn't miss

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Herald
Mt. Shasta as seen from the Bunny Flat trailhead on May 10, 2018.

Mount Shasta is a popular destination for tourists who want to experience the natural, rugged beauty of the area – as well as those who come for spiritual awakening.

No matter the reason you're in Mount Shasta, here are five things you won't want to miss while you're in town.

Everitt Memorial Highway

This is an absolute must-do. Make your way up the winding 14-mile Everitt Memorial Highway to reach Bunny Flat at an elevation of 6,950 feet. The view of Mt. Shasta is stunning from this vantage point and Bunny Flat is the jumping off point for intrepid climbers and outdoor adventurers.

Between Nov. 1 and July 1, you can drive even further to the end of Everitt Memorial Highway to reach the Old Ski Bowl at 7,840 feet on Mt. Shasta's south side. Bring a picnic – and a camera – and enjoy a rocky view like no other from above the tree line.

The journey to the top of Everitt Memorial, without stops, is about a half hour, making this trip an easy way to experience the unique beauty of the second-highest peak in the Cascades, and the fifth-highest mountain in California.

Castle Lake near Mount Shasta

Castle Lake

Tucked into the forest is the pristine glacial Castle Lake, which is as pretty as a postcard in both summer and winter months.

Featuring granite cliffs and clear water, Castle Lake is one of the most popular attractions in the Mt. Shasta area. People can enjoy hiking, swimming, fishing, and flat-water kayaking at the lake. A short and easy shoreline trail follows its west side, or embark on a slightly more challenging adventure and hike to Heart Lake. Recently upgraded by volunteers with the Mt. Shasta Trail Association, the moderate 2.2 mile roundtrip hike features views of Black Butte, Mt. Shasta, and Mt. McLoughlin.

In the winter, Castle Lake freezes over and is appropriate for ice skating and ice fishing. It's a magical place that should not be missed.

A Siskiyou County ordinance bans jumping off the Wagon Creek Bridge over Lake Siskiyou.

Wagon Creek Bridge on Lake Siskiyou

Lake Siskiyou is known for its brilliant reflections of Mt. Shasta, especially on calm mornings, and there's an easy seven-mile walking trail that circumnavigates the lake. But if you only have time for a quick visit, don't miss Wagon Creek Bridge, which is accessible from Mt. Shasta Resort and North Shore Road.

Built in 2010, this stunning arch bridge stretches 262 feet over the lake. It's a perfect spot for photos, so take a moment to snap a few before gazing downward onto the lake to watch boaters or waterfowl playing in its waters. 

Crystal Scarlett, who works at Soul Connections in Mount Shasta, has been working with crystals for a decade.

Crystal stores

A new age mecca, Mount Shasta is home to several shops that specialize in crystals, where you can find anything from 25 cent pieces of agate to $25,000 amethyst geodes as tall as you are.

People have treasured crystals, stones and gems for thousands of years. Some collect crystals simply because they're beautiful while others believe they have healing properties. 

Whether you believe it's all hooey or have a piece of rose quartz tucked in your pocket right now, no trip to Mount Shasta would be complete without popping in a crystal store or two. 

Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum

Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum

For a small town like Mount Shasta, Sisson Museum is modern and constantly updated to ensure there's something for everyone.

Featuring three large exhibit halls and an events room for special activities and displays, visitors can learn the geologic history of Mt. Shasta and fascinating facts about how the area was formed. Take a walk through the history of the town, and kids will enjoy impressive, interactive activities.

Bring a few quarters along, too. When the Mount Shasta Fish Hatchery is open, you can put them in a machine to purchase pellets which can be fed to the fish. Kids love to see the fish jump and swirl through the troughs at the oldest trout hatchery west of the Mississippi.

Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum is located at 1 N. Old Stage Rd., 530-926-5508. Entrance is $1 per person.

Skye Kinkade is the editor of the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News. She is a fourth generation, lifelong Siskiyou County resident.