For our third and last hike in the Mount Shasta area, we needed something scenic but not hard. No big elevation gains or ceaseless ups and downs. While exploring our options, we came across the loop trail around Lake Siskiyou (“Lake Sis”), which is just west of Mount Shasta. At just under 7 miles (11 km), with no appreciable changes in elevation, it was ideal for our purposes (and our diminished leg muscles). The LovedOne had determined (after extensive calculations) that, if we got started early enough and hiked energetically enough, we could reach Ashland in time for lunch at Caldera Brewing. Another pure genius moment on The LovedOne’s part. 😁
And so we set off clock-wise from the Box Canyon Trailhead at 0700 for our spin around the lake, which was very peaceful and beautiful this early in the morning. Not very crowded either. From the trailhead, we crossed the Box Canyon Dam and took the Cable Beach alternate to maximize our view of the lake. There’s one spot along here where you get this iconic view of Mount Shasta with the lake in the foreground – it’s a spectacular sight when the mountain is snow covered. Today there was just smoke haze and the wrong sun angle. 😯
The trail makes a sharp bend to cross Scott Camp Creek, which is actually confined in a huge culvert at this point. The pool looks like an inviting place to chill on a hot day – if you can get past having a giant metal pipe staring at you. 🤔
Past Scott Camp Creek, we continued on through a campground area with a store (Brews & Bait!), a boat launch, and a handy restroom. After the boat ramp we were back in the wilderness again, heading toward the seasonal crossing of the Sacramento River – the primary water source for this lake. The temporary bridges are removed at the end of the summer season and, in a wet year (which we could certainly use!), the loop trail is impassable at this point.
Past the seasonal crossing , we ambled down the north side of the lake, past a meadow restoration project, to the Wagon Creek Bridge. This 260-foot (80 m) long arch bridge makes it possible to complete the loop without getting entangled in tricky terrain or private property. Plus it’s a very beautiful structure – one subject to several iconic views of its own.
After crossing the bridge, we missed the turn for the Chalet alternate trail (more views of the lake) and went straight back to the trailhead instead. Our bad. 😥 But we did make it to Caldera in time for lunch and rehydration! 😄 This loop is just what we needed – a good leg stretch with nice scenery and views. It seems very popular with mountain bikers.RETURN TO FRONT PAGE