'Trail challenge' encourages local hiking

Skye Kinkade

Building on the success of last year’s celebration announcing Mount Shasta as the first ever Pacific Crest Trail Town, Mt. Shasta Trail Partners is launching a challenge designed to get locals and tourists out on area trails.

The Mt. Shasta Trail Challenge kicks off at the Fourth of July celebration, when passports will be available at a booth in downtown Mount Shasta.

Those who complete six of the 12 hikes listed on the passport before Dec. 31 can claim a Trail Challenge hat or visor when they turn in their completed passports at the visitor centers in Mount Shasta, Dunsmuir, Weed or McCloud. Those who complete all 12 trails (a blackout passport) will be entered into a drawing to win a bigger prize.

Former Mount Shasta Mayor and member of the Mt. Shasta Trail Partners Kathy Morter said last year’s downtown event – which celebrated the purchase of land along the PCT and the 50th anniversary of the National Scenic Trails Act – was a lot of fun, but “parroted” the Science Festival and the Fourth of July celebration.

“We wanted to do something different, something that really met our goals and engaged people to get out there on the trails,” said Morter.

The Mt. Shasta Trail Challenge is the result of the redesign. The challenge is something people can do on their own time and is geared to both tourists and those who call the Mt. Shasta area home.

The goal of the program is to share the beauty and diversity of Siskiyou County with those who are inspired to get out and enjoy the vast trail system surrounding Mt. Shasta.

The vision of Mt. Shasta Trail Partners is to “put in place the elements to help develop the region surrounding Mt. Shasta as a premiere trail user destination and thereby augment the local economy.”

Hikers, bikers, runners, skiers or equestrian riders can participate in the challenge.

Hikes range from easy to difficult and range in length from a half mile to 10 miles. All can be hiked and some can be biked or completed on horseback. They include the Castle Dome Trail off of Castle Creek Road in Castella; the Hedge Creek Trail just off of Interstate 5 near Dunsmuir; Gray Butte Trail off of Everitt Memorial Highway in Mount Shasta; Horse Camp Trail on the slopes of Mt. Shasta; the Gateway Trail off of Everitt Memorial Highway; the Lake Siskiyou Loop trail in Mount Shasta; Spring Hill Trail in Mount Shasta; the Parks Creek PCT to Mt. Eddy Trail near Weed; Cabin Creek (Squaw Valley Creek) Trail in McCloud; Sisson Callahan via Deadfall Meadows Trail near Weed; the McCloud River Falls Trail; and The Bear Trail in Weed, that wraps around the College of the Siskiyous campus.

If you complete one of the hikes, be sure to share it on Instagram with the tag @discoversiskiyou for a chance for your photos to be featured on the official Instagram of Siskiyou.

A challenge for 2020 is already planned to kick off next spring.

For more details about the challenge, or to download a passport, go to mtshastatrailchallenge.com