Snow is falling in Siskiyou! And as Siskiyou’s iconic Mount Shasta welcomes an average of 80 inches of powdery snow every year (without the Tahoe crowds!) it truly is one of the best winter destinations in California. Mount Shasta Ski Park is opening this week, and it’s worth mentioning that skiing and snowboarding on Shasta’s slopes are just a taste of the winter fun to be had here. ‘Tis the season!
Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding & Tubing
The Mount Shasta Ski Park boasts 425 skiable acres, 32 trails, 1390 vertical feet, 3 triple chairs and one surface lift, 20% beginner, 55% intermediate, 25% advanced. Night skiing on 14 trails have become a must do at the ski park. It’s also becoming known as one of the best off-trail riding areas in the West, complete with fun and unique opportunities for snow tubing and half-pipes, with a challenging natural and manmade Terrain Park, as well as a beginner Terrain Park on the Marmot Ridge trail.
Cross Country Skiing & Boarding
Cross-country skiers will find excellent conditions in the higher elevations throughout Siskiyou County, but Mount Shasta has excellent access via Everitt Memorial Highway, which is plowed in the winter all the way to 7000 feet. This leads to two of the most popular backcountry access areas on Mount Shasta: Sand Flat Trailhead and Bunny Flat Trailhead. For a more civilized experience, there is also the Mount Shasta Nordic Center, with 15 miles worth of groomed trails.
Backcountry Skiing & Snowboarding
Experienced backcountry skiers will find Mt. Shasta an exceptional adventure. The trailhead at Bunny Flat offers easy access to the high backcountry and Mount Shasta’s slopes. Several other surrounding mountains also afford similar solitary adventures, including the ever-popular Eddys and the more remote Scott Mountain. You can also ski to a backcountry cabin for the night – check in with the Mt. Shasta Ski Park for more information.
Casual sledding is an important mainstay of local winter fun – just make sure to stay on public land and bring your own sled or rent one beforehand (some gear rental options below). But two of the most popular established sled spots are Snowman’s Hill at the summit of Hwy 89 between Mount Shasta and McCloud, and Bunny Flat at the top of Everitt Memorial Hwy.
Snowmobiling the backcountry in Siskiyou is a thrill ride through some of the most pristine and wild winter scenery in Northern California. There are four interconnected snowmobile parks in Siskiyou County, all with warming huts, restrooms, loading ramps and parking areas, and 260 miles of groomed and well-maintained trails (not to mention countless other unmarked, natural trails for more adventurous riders). At the Deer Mountain Snowmobile Park off Highway 97 you’ll find Fun Factory Rentals offering snowmobile rentals and tours, including full moon rides, skiing and snowboarding. Access to the three other snowmobile parks can be found at Pilgrim Creek off of Highway 89, The Medicine Lake Highlands in East Siskiyou and the Doorknob Snowmobile Park off of Forest Road 49, one and a half miles south of Lava Beds National Monument.. Note: If you’re riding your own snowmobile, you will need a permit and a helmet.
Snowshoeing is a growing winter sport. The best places for snowshoeing are at Bunny Flat on Mt. Shasta, and around Castle Lake in the Eddys west of I-5. There’s also the Mount Shasta Nordic Center that offers a 7.5 mile trail network of snowshoe-packed trails that is also open to skiers – and dogs! See below for some of the places you can rent snowshoes and lightweight gear.
Ice Skating & Hockey
Siskiyou even has its own ice rink – in fact it has the largest outdoor ice rink on the west coast that comes with breathtaking panoramic views of Mount Shasta, the Eddys and Black Butte. Located in Shastice Park behind Mount Shasta High School, it’s open November through March. On Saturday and Sunday you can even join a pick up game of ice hockey. Skate rental and hot drinks available on-site.
Ice Fishing & Steelhead
High elevation mountain lakes and cold temps make for incredible ice fishing in Siskiyou. Some of the more popular standouts are Castle Lake in Mount Shasta and Kangaroo Lake past Callahan. But numerous spots like Juanita Lake in the eastern half of the county has the added bonus of some of the best winter bird-watching in the country. If you want the rush without the ice, test your luck with the hard-fighting Steelheads on the Klamath River along Highway 96 where 10-pound fish are landed every winter.
Build A Snow Kitchen
And, if winter sports just aren’t your thing, build yourself a little snow kitchen with a campfire in the snow, some hot chocolate and s’mores and enjoy Siskiyou’s winter glory!
Some local places to rent or buy gear and inquire about tours:
The Fifth Season – Mt. Shasta
Sportsmen’s Den – Mt. Shasta
Shasta Vortex Adventures – Mt. Shasta
McCloud Outdoors & Gear Exchange – McCloud
Marble Mountain Ranch (Steelhead) – Happy Camp