Cool Things about the Mount Shasta Area
Mount Shasta is known for its beauty and it’s outdoors opportunities for hikers, bikers and skiers. But Shasta and surrounding area gives us so much more, with mountains and valleys rich in history, full of seasonal adventures, scenic water falls, old highways and even a few crags. Let’s begin with some relevant history and popular lore unknown to many people.
History of Mt Shasta Ski Bowl & Park
The first ski lift on Mt. Shasta began in 1959 with the creation of the Mount Shasta Ski Bowl, located at the end of Everitt Memorial Highway. The old Ski Bowl is fondly remembered as it was situated at an elevation of 7800 ft, and the first lift carried skiers from 7,850 feet to over 9,200 feet for a downhill run of 6,400 feet. The current Ski Park lodge is about 5445 feet, 2300 feet lower than the old Ski Bowl.
As an 8 year old, I recall going skiing at the old Ski Bowl for the first time at my Dad’s insistence. The wind was howling and the snow grazed my numb cheeks. My bright yellow coat, long johns and jeans were not adequate to stave off the cold. I held onto the rope tow for dear life and got half way up the bunny hill most of the time before planting myself in the snow again and again. I clearly recall standing in the middle of the hill perplexed in a blizzard and thinking, ‘people really like this?’
Because the old Ski Bowl was situated above the tree line at an elevation where snow was plentiful, it was routinely plagued with whiteouts, avalanches and road closures. In 1978, the Ski Bowl was struck by a huge avalanche that destroyed the main chair lift which put an end to the Ski Bowl.
In 1985, a group of local businessmen formed Wintun Development Company with the express purpose of re-establishing skiing on Mt. Shasta. In the summer of 1985 construction began and the Mt. Shasta Ski Park opened December 14, 1985.
Fun Fact: Did you know the Guinness Book of World Records reports Mount Shasta received the most snowfall ever in a single snowstorm: 189 inches (15 ¾ feet), February 13th to the 19th, 1959.
Popular Lore: Can You See Her?
As you drive up I-5 you will be wowed when you see Mt. Shasta for the first time, or for the hundredth time! As you are driving north on I-5 and looking at the mountain, you might see the Lady of the Mountain, her hair flowing gently back against the mountain to the east, and her beautiful face towards the heavens appearing on top of the mountain. Two large glaciers form her body profile on the westerly side. I drove up to the Mountain for nearly 20 years before discovering the Lady of the Mountain. For many people, she remains a mystery.
Winter Fun on Mt Shasta
Mount Shasta Ski Park was built in 1985, and it is the newest winter resort in California and one of the newest in the entire United States.
Mount Shasta Ski Park is a winter wonderland for boarders, alpine and cross county skiers alike. You will see stickers on the chairlift as you make your ascent that say, “I Love It Here”. That pretty much says it all. Not too big, not too small, it’s just right! The Ski Park hosts weekly races for California High Schools Ski teams, and has ski demo days throughout the ski season. Don’t miss the end of season party, Pond Skim, that is usually held in April. Check out www.skipark.com for more information on the terrain parks, ski run and other details of the park.
Summer Fun - Mountain Biking on Mt Shasta
With the exception of the year known as "no snow" year 2013-14, every Saturday in the summer Mount Shasta Ski Park features ski lift mountain biking. You can ride up the Douglass Chair and shoot down the Mountain on the 1200ft descent back to the lodge, or take advantage of the 10 miles of other trails including two, 700 ft. descent trails from the Marmot lift.
For a tamer activity, you can ride up and down the chair to enjoy the views, or choose to get off at the top and take a moderate hike down the slopes.
The Park sponsors mountain bike clinics, and hosts the Volcano Mud Downhill and Dual Slalom Race, a day packed with mountain bike downhill action. The Volcano Mud Run, is a dirty foot race all in fun. Both races are in July. www.skipark.com/the-mountain/volcano.
The Saga of Hedge Creek Falls
Hedge Creek Falls were in direct line of the construction of Interstate 5, and the Interstate was diverted in order to save the Falls. Therefore, the Falls are known as, the ‘million dollar waterfall’, referring to the cost to re-route I-5.
Curiously enough, though Boles was known for never leaving a trace of evidence, he left poems at his 4th and 5th robbery. He signed his poems ”Black Bart P o 8”, a name that mystified law men, and made him a legend in western history. The poems are below:
"I've labored long and hard for bread,
For honor and for riches
But on my corns too long you've tread,
You fine-haired sons-of-bitches.
Black Bart, the P o 8"
The 5th robbery:
"Here I lay me down to sleep
To wait the coming morrow,
Perhaps success, perhaps defeat
And everlasting sorrow.
Yet come what will, I'll try it once,
My conditions can't be worse,
'Tis money in my purse.
Black Bart, the P o 8"
Getting to Hedge Creek Falls
The Falls are located just north of Dunsmuir off of I-5, on exit 732. Turn right on Siskiyou Ave, Right on Mott Rd. and look for the little park and gravel parking lot (across the street from each other).
Once you cross the road from the parking area and enter the petite park, you will see the trail head. It’s a short trail with a bit of elevation, but an easy enough walk for most people. The Falls are at the bottom of the canyon and fall about 30 feet, making for a spectacular display, especially in the spring when the rivers and streams are running strong.
If you continue on the trail up the other side of the canyon, you will find a scenic observation area that overlooks the upper Sacramento River. The round trip is about a half mile and takes less than a half an hour.
Hiking the Crags
For more information on hiking trails and the Park in general contact Shasta Trinity National Forest Station in Mt. Shasta or McCloud:
Everitt Memorial Highway - The Old Ski Highway on Mt Shasta
Everitt Memorial Highway is a scenic drive everyone should take while visiting Mount Shasta. You start out on Lake Street in town and head northwest. You will be drawn toward the Mountain and the beautiful scenery as you make your way up to the site of the old Ski Bowl,14 miles from town. Take a coat or sweatshirt because you are headed up to almost 8000 feet in elevation, and it can get unexpectedly cold. When you reach the old Ski Bowl parking lot you cannot go any further, and you have arrived at the highest point you can drive to on Mount Shasta.
Everitt Memorial Highway was named in memory of John Samuel Everitt, a Shasta National Forest Supervisor. Mr. Everitt died in 1934 fighting the Bear Springs fire.