Magazine article Sunset

Go CLIMB A MOUNTAIN

Magazine article Sunset

Go CLIMB A MOUNTAIN

Article excerpt

While California is known for the Sierra Nevada mountain range, it is the volcanic Cascade Range in the northern part of the state that provides much of the spark, so to speak. Mt. Shasta, the majestic peak nestled off of Interstate 5 about an hour north of Redding, is perfect for year-round recreation. Snow covered most of the year, Mt. Shasta is a winter haven for snow ski enthusiasts who don't want the crowds of Lake Tahoe.

The summer months, however, are a perfect time to hike or backpack up the mountain. There is no trail to the summit, but by midsummer you can find paths carved out by earlier hikers, particularly along the popular Avalanche Gulch Route. Once the snow melts--usually by late July--you'll discover that a trail really does exist up to approximately 9,500 feet.

As the hike to Mt. Shasta's summit usually takes a few days, experienced backpackers often prefer to stay at one of the campgrounds on the mountain, such as at Lake Helen or the Upper Ski Bowl. Call the Mt. Shasta Ranger Station at (530) 926-4511 for more information. Less adventurous hikers may enjoy a day hike on the mountain, then retire to a houseboat on glittering Lake Shasta, 40 miles south. For more information, contact Seven Crown Resorts Houseboat vacations at (800) 752-9669 (www.sevencrown.com).

Mountain biking is also a great way to see some of the hidden wilderness of California, as its mountain ranges are full of easy, moderate, and challenging trails. The Lake Tahoe area is an ideal location for solo rides or group fun. Some of the best rides are in Paige Meadows/Ward Canyon, accessible by several routes south of Tahoe City, on the lake's north shore; the strenuous Flume Trail/Tahoe Rim Trail loop, located off of Highway 28 near the Nevada State Park; and Pioneer Trail, west of Truckee. For more information, visit www.Timstahoeadventures.com.

Of course, the most famous spot in California for outdoor recreation is Yosemite National Park, located south of Lake Tahoe in the Sierras. Whether it's strolling through the giant sequoias in the Mariposa Grove or taking a more strenuous hike to the base of Half Dome--and even climbing the cable to its summit--you'll never quit marveling at all the wild and natural beauty. …

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