In the Shadow of Mt. Shasta
Photography & Words: Trevor Lyden / Riders: Austin Hemperley, Clairen Stone & Drew Barber
If you’ve ever driven through Northern California, then there’s a good chance you’ve noticed Mt. Shasta towering over the landscape. The 14,180-foot peak can be seen from miles away and is a stunning sight compared to the area’s relatively flat surroundings. Sitting at the base of the mountain is a small town bearing the same name, with a population of just over 3,300. The town of Mount Shasta is in the southern section of Siskiyou - a county with 44,000 residents spread across 4 million acres. It's one of the most diverse and wild in the state of California, with 2.5 million explorable acres of rangeland and woodland. Siskiyou is known for its wild rivers, lush green forests, and the ease of access to the outdoors. Many people consider the recreation highlight of the area to be Mt. Shasta Ski Park, which has been operating since 1985 and provides skiers and boarders 425 acres of ridable terrain.
While Siskiyou has successfully solidified itself as a winter sports destination, it’s also a fantastic four-season area with plenty to do when there isn't snow on the ski runs. Recently, mountain biking in Siskiyou has been a growing attraction. While riding the Mount Shasta area has been popular amongst the locals for a number of years, it has flown relatively under the radar. Within the last few years, there has been a significant improvement to local trails around Mount Shasta, Yreka, Happy Camp, McCloud, Dunsmuir, Scott Valley, and all four corners of Siskiyou County. In addition to a human-powered trail system, Mt. Shasta Ski Park has recently opened their doors for lift-accessed mountain biking. The ski park has two lifts running with access to almost a dozen mountain bike trails of various difficulties. The park truly offers something for every rider, and has long XC loops, an irrigated flow/jump trail, and a rough and rowdy downhill course. Every season riders gather at the park to participate in the various events and races that are locally hosted.
If lift access trails aren’t your thing, MSMBA (Mount Shasta Mountain Bike Association) has been putting countless hours into the trail system down in town. The trails range from smooth beginner friendly singletrack to technical aggressive all-mountain. The Gateway Trail, which MSMBA describes as “a 10-mile multi-use cross country trail network with constant elevation changes, flowing turns, and short sections of steep descents or climbs” is one of the most popular in the area and is only a stone’s throw from downtown Mount Shasta. While on your way back to town, you can stop off at the Shastice Bike Park, which features dirt jump lines, wooden features, and a concrete skatepark. Other trails in the immediate area include the Sisson-Callahan, which follows the North Fork of the Sacramento River, and the Lake Siskiyou Loop, which takes riders on a circumnavigation of the deep blue lake.
A mere 40 minutes north on 1-5 takes you to the small town of Yreka. This picturesque location is home to Greenhorn Park, a sizeable multi-use area which offers hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Each year the Jefferson Mountain Bike Association hosts the Humbug Hurry Up, an annual bike race which brings riders from all over the United States.
Another riding area which is located approximately 30 minutes from Mt. Shasta are the trails of Kidder Creek, a youth summer camp nestled in the mountains of Northern California. The camp staff have been constantly improving their local trails over the past few summers and have created an impressive riding area. In addition to mountain bike camps, Kidder Creek also offers a wide variety of outdoor recreation and equestrian adventures. Branching out from central Siskiyou County takes you to other trail systems like Happy Camp in the west and the Goosenest Trails near extinct volcanoes in the east.
In addition to mountain biking, Siskiyou offers a wide array of outdoor activities. There are many spectacular road and gravel rides, and they even have a few century rides for those of you looking to feel that road cycling burn. If you're looking to spend some time out of the saddle, you can visit the many lakes, waterfalls or caves in the area. When it’s finally time to dry out your helmets and refill your tanks, Siskiyou County has no shortage of delicious eateries, take-out stands, a number of local breweries, a distillery and is even home to the best bottled water on earth, Castle Rock that’s bottled right at the source.Mt. Shasta Mountain Biking Trails
Pinkbike would like to thank:Discover SiskiyouMt. Shasta Ski ParkMt. Shasta Bike AssociationJefferson Mountain Bike AssociationKidder Creek CampCastle Rock WaterEtna Brewing
Presented by Discover Siskiyou.
To learn more about biking in Siskiyou or to book a trip visit, Discover Siskiyou