As the second tallest mountain in California and visible from 100 miles in just about every direction, Mt. Shasta is the crown jewel of Siskiyou. The mountain beckons from all angles, creating a real desire to see it all. This desire to go all the way around Mt. Shasta can be satisfied on a couple of different route options. But here’s one of our favorites to take you “around the mountain”!
Start in Mt. Shasta or McCloud
Since this drive makes a loop, you can technically start it anywhere along the trail and then continue in a counter-clockwise direction to make the most of the views along the way. But, from Mt. Shasta or McCloud (both towns worthy of a stop and stay in their own right!) head out to Pilgrim Creek Road. Also known as Forest Route 13, you want to take this all the way to Military Pass Road (aka Forest Route 19) and follow it when it veers to the left. (You also might want to enjoy a quick detour to scenic McCloud Falls just six miles east of McCloud.)
Military Pass Road will eventually turn into Deer Mountain Road, which ends at US Highway 97. At 97, you turn left to head south to return to Yreka, Weed, Mt. Shasta, or McCloud and complete your trip around the mountain. There are fantastic glimpses of the mountain the whole way, with particularly stunning views of Shasta on the return section north of Weed.
Near Weed, there are several diversions and pitstops along the way. Favorites include Pluto’s Cave or the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden.
You’ll also want to take your time on this route around the mountain. Some of it is comprised of forest roads, so while you typically won’t need 4WD, be prepared to drive slowly. You may encounter logging trucks, wildlife and road hazards and you’ll want to make sure you leave with a full tank of gas, food and water. Shutterbugs will absolutely want a camera!