Mt. Shasta: Short Trail Hikes

Summertime around the Big Mountain means marvelous meandering opportunities aplenty.

IF YOU'VE EVER GIVEN A PAL DIRECTIONS, you might have relied upon some attention-attracting marker or feature, the kind of "huge knobby rock" or "blue fence post with a red scarf attached" along the way that can't possibly be missed. If that's your go-to style of directions-giving, you may have longed, at some point, to reference one of the most prominent features in this state, or any other state or place, as a meet-up point for you and your friends: Mt. Shasta. It's a Cascade-colossal, sky-touching treasure that can be seen from points all around, and even if you feel like you're getting closer, closer, closer to its massive base and lower slopes, chances are you're still a good distance away. But you can still connect with this great Northern California mountain, in a summertime way, via a not-too-long hike along a nearby trail. "Not-too-long hike" is, of course, a subjective thing, and each hiker will need to decide if the trail in question, and its length, fits what they're up for on that particular date. But there are a number of trails in the mountain region, and they just happen to be open from...

JUNE TO OCTOBER: There is, you betcha, an asterisk with this — "depending on snow and weather conditions" — so check, of course, before you go. Will you see animals? Oh, hello: You could spy an eagle, a black bear, or numerous other critters who call the region home. Will you be able to find a hike that's under an hour? There are two listed under "Short Hikes" on the Visit Mt. Shasta page, including a ramble that's 20 minutes (and both are marked "Easy"). Nope, you won't be scaling Shasta during your brief hike, but you will be soaking in the volcano's eternal, quiet, ever-epic grandeur. Wait, make that a dormant volcano, of course, though we're not taking back "ever-epic" or changing it in any manner. In an age where "epic" and "awesome" frequently get trotted out for smaller events and sights, Mt. Shasta has more than earned, over the eons, both powerful descriptives. So here's to you, awesome, epic Big Mountain, and here's to you, hikers who want to get closer to its magic, be it a 20-minute easy ramble or something rather longer.

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