Mount Shasta City
Located 50 miles north of Redding, 290 miles north of San Francisco, and 360 mi. south of Portland, Oregon.
Mount Shasta City is the portal to a 14,161-foot-tall volcanic mountain that last erupted in 1786, Mount Shasta holds five glaciers and is where the Sacramento River originates. It is climbed in summer and skied in winter. Poet Joaquin Miller, who considered it the most beautiful mountain in the West, described it as “lonely as God and white as a winter moon.” New Agers rank it up there with Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, apparently because of its unusual energy fields, and it is considered one of the world’s seven sacred mountains. Peculiar stories, involving UFOs and Bigfoot, abound in this area.
Mount Shasta City attractions
Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery
1 N. Old Stage Rd., 1/4 mi. W of I-5. Free.
Opened in 1888, this is the oldest operating fish hatchery west of the Mississippi. Narrow rectangular ponds hold rainbow and brown trout raised to stock mountain fishing streams, rivers, and lakes. After the eggs hatch in early spring, more than 3 million fry can be observed. Eagles and ospreys are sometimes spotted here trying to catch fish. Fish food dispensers are available, and a large grassy picnic area with tables provides a view of Mt. Shasta.
Next door, the century-old Mount Shasta Museum holds a working seismograph. Other exhibits explain the history of the town and the local Native Americans, the geology of Mt. Shasta and its glaciers, and also the history of climbing the mountain. By donation.
Mount Shasta City restaurants
Black Bear Diner
401 W. Lake St.
The first link in what has become a chain throughout the West, this diner is built on the site of former wild strawberry patches that once were frequented by both black bears and people. The menu is expansive, and the reputation is for large portions of freshly prepared diner food, served fast and at a reasonable price. Breakfast is available all day, as is black”beary” cobbler. Popular items include chicken pot pie, meat loaf, pot roast, peach cobbler, and the Mt. Shasta lava cake. A long counter with swivel stools is great for singles, and some booths boast a view of the mountain.
Along Lake St.; take Central Mt. Shasta exit.
Even with the various logo signs fighting it out amidst the trees, the close-up view of Mount Shasta here is weepingly beautiful. On a clear day the mysterious mountain dominates the scene, and on a cloudy day it plays peek-a-boo–tantalizing the imagination. Alas, it seems the locals take this awesome sight for granted, so in the Burger King they often leave empty for us the corner tables boasting a million-dollar view.
Mount Shast City hotels
900 N. Mt. Shasta Blvd.
In addition to offering majestic Mt. Shasta as a backdrop, this picturesque campground has a swimming pool, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and a game room.
Drive along Mt. Shasta Boulevard.
(www.berkeleyandbeyond2.com; copyright Carole Terwilliger Meyers)