Trail association, forest service plan 46-mile expansion near Mount Shasta

Shareen Strauss
Special to the Mount Shasta Herald
Looking down over Heart Lake with Mount Shasta in the distance. This trail is one of 10 hikes in the Mount Shasta Trail Association's  "Challenge."

The Mount Shasta Trail Association and the US Forest Service are in the process of adding 46 miles to the popular Gateway Trail system on National Forest Service land adjacent to Mount Shasta.

Funding for the expansion came from a Prop 68 grant for building new trails. 

The existing trail network includes 11 miles of non-motorized, multi-use trails for hiking, trail running, biking and equestrian use. 

Current efforts include adding routes extending higher up the slopes of Mt. Shasta. These will include a connection to the Mt. Shasta Ski Park, the Nordic Center and the south end of the city.

The system will have many incredible vistas and a wide variety of terrain for every type of trail enthusiast, planners said. The availability of these new trails will benefit locals who love the outdoors, and will attract numerous visitors who will support the economy of Siskiyou County.

This year, the trail association rerouted and clearly defined the trail, and placed identification signs along it between Heart Lake and Castle Lake. Popular as a swimming and hiking destination, Castle Lake has pristine deep waters, majestic rock formations and scenic trails to several other lakes, including Heart Lake with its spectacular views.

The trail association also placed interpretive signage along the Lake Siskiyou Trail. There are now five kiosks with maps that show hikers their location on the trail.

Also part of the project, the Wilderness Land Trust, a nonprofit conservation organization, recently acquired and transferred a privately-owned parcel to the Forest Service to preserve it in perpetuity.

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The trail association worked for more than 20 years to establish a safe and legal path to Mossbrae Falls. It established an official trailhead at Hedge Creek Falls. Current goals include constructing a pedestrian suspension bridge across the Sacramento River where the Hedge Creek trail ends. The association made progress with the preliminary acceptance of the engineering plans, and is working with Union Pacific and the City of Dunsmuir to accomplish this goal.

For more information about trails, the 2022 Mount Shasta Trail Challenge or Giving Tuesday donations to the Mount Shasta Trail Association, go to https://bit.ly/3DuhjAG.