Mount Shasta Meadows

Mt. Shasta from South Gate Meadows

  • Easy (to Panther Spring)
  • 1 mile round trip
  • 280 feet elevation gain
  • Open mid-July through October

  • Moderate (to South Gate Meadows)
  • 5.4-mile loop
  • 1000 feet elevation gain

“Lonely as God, and white as a winter moon, Mount Shasta starts up sudden and solitary from the heart of the great black forests of Northern California.” So wrote 19th-century poet Joaquin Miller, the first of many white visitors to leave his heart on this 14,162-foot peak. Naturalist John Muir later spread the mountain’s fame with reports of his many climbs, including one harrowing trip when he was trapped overnight on the summit in a blizzard without a sleeping bag. Muir survived only by rolling all night in a sulphurous hot springs puddle.

Shasta has long inspired religious awe. The local Wintu tribe, to whom the peak was taboo above timberline, believed it to be the great white wigwam of a spirit who began creating the world from this point, and whose cooking fire sometimes wafts smoke from the summit. Those who smile at the old Indian myth should consider that a Rosicrucian author in 1931 claimed the mountain is inhabited by Lemurians, beings from the lost continent of Mu who hollowed out Mt. Shasta with supersonic bells. Later a Chicago paperhanger named Guy W. Ballard launched the I AM Foundation, based on his revelations at Mt. Shasta from Saint Germain, a spiritual presence from the court of King Louis XIV.

To hike through this mountain’s strangely inspirational meadows for yourself, drive Interstate 5 south …

In the Mt. Shasta Wilderness itself, camping is banned within 100 feet of water or trails, maximum group size is ten, and dogs are not allowed.

To start the hike, …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon.