For a downloadable PDF version of this guide CLICK HERE! 

 

Reservoir Canyon Trail is a great half day hike for anyone in the San Luis Obispo area.  The hike takes roughly three hours to complete and begins just outside of the city. From the top, you will be rewarded with incredible views of SLO, the hilly landscape that surrounds it, and the coastline.

 

ADVENTURE STATISTICS

Time Required:2.5 – 4 Hours

Location: Just east of San Luis Obispo

Distance: 5.3 miles (8.5km) round trip

Highest Elevation: 1700ft (520m)

Elevation Gain: 1358ft (414m)

Difficulty: 5/10 – Steep switchbacks

Season: Year Round

Additional Requirements: N/A

 

Reservoir Canyon Trail Summit - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 1: Anderson at the summit

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From San Luis Obispo: Jump on the 101 North for a couple miles and take a right on Reservoir Canyon Road. This road is not very well marked and T’s up with the freeway so keep your eyes peeled.  A half mile down this road you will get to the parking lot and trailhead.

 

WHAT TO BRING

  • Comfortable Footwear:Hiking shoes.Make sure your shoes are broken in prior to tackling this hike to prevent unexpected blisters. You could get away with running shoes but having extra grip on the rock surfaces will definitely come in handy!
  • Water:This hike has lots of elevation gain in a short period of time. Be sure to bring enough water for 4 hours of physical exertion.
  • Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy along the hike.  Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
  • Weather appropriate clothing:You will be exposed to the elements throughout this hike. Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
  • Sunscreen:If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
  • Insect Repellent:Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking experience.
  • Camera:There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
  • This Guide:Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike

 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably.  Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:

  • Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
  • Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
  • Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
  • Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.

To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca

 

HIKING DIRECTIONS

Summary: The starting point for this hike is just off of Reservoir Canyon Road.  From there we recommend taking a quick detour to a small waterfall and cave before following the main trail to the summit.

 

Reservoir Canyon Trail Adventure Map - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 2: Reservoir Canyon Trail Adventure Map

 

Step-By-Step Guide:

From the parking lot (Route marker #1 on the map), the trail heads south in line with the road. A short way down the trail you will come to a fork. The path to the left is reservoir canyon trail, but it’s worth your time to go right and check out a nice 30-foot waterfall and cave (Route marker #2 on the map). After checking out the waterfall, head back to the main trail to continue the hike.

 

Reservoir Canyon Trail Waterfall - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 3: The Waterfall
Reservoir Canyon Trail Cave - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 4: Anderson entering the cave

 

The first mile of Reservoir Canyon Trail is quite level, heavily trafficked and easy to follow. The trees provide nice shade to keep you cool on a hot day. The trail follows a nearby creek and eventually crosses it via a large wooden bridge. About half a mile after crossing the bridge the trail begins to gain elevation and the challenging part of the hike begins. Over the next mile and a half, you will gain 1100 feet in elevation ascending steep switchbacks while being exposed to the hot California sun.

 

Reservoir Canyon Trail Bridge - Calfornia - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 5: The wooden bridge
Reservoir Canyon Trail - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 6: Ascending the switchbacks

 

About half way up the hill, you’ll come across some scrap metal sculptures and swing that hangs from a large eucalyptus tree (Route marker #3 on the map). Enjoy a restful swing, and catch your breath before continuing on as the trail gets steeper.

 

Reservoir Canyon Trail Swing Set - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 7: The swing set
Reservoir Canyon Trail Scrap Metal Structure - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 8: Scrap metal sculptures

 

At the summit you’ll find a stone memorial sculpture and a wooden bench to soak in the views (Route marker #4 on the map). San Luis Obispo surrounds the base of the hill and to the south you can see the Pismo sand dunes on the coast. Enjoy the summit views and when you feel rested and energized, follow the same trail back to the hikes starting point.

 

Reservoir Canyon Trail Summit - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 9: The view from the summit!

 

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

Thank you for choosing Epic Trip Adventures as your guide.  We are committed to continually updating our guides to be as relevant and accurate as possible. If you have feedback to improve this guide please leave it in the comments below.

We also want to hear about your Reservoir Canyon adventures.  If you have stories, pictures or even a link to your own adventure video please share them below!

 

Have fun out there!

– ETA

 

For a downloadable PDF version of this guide CLICK HERE! 

 

Mauna Kea is one of two major volcanos on the Big Island of Hawaii. Standing 13,800 ft above sea level makes Mauna Kea the highest peak in all of Hawaii. The neighboring volcano, Mona Loa, is just south of Mauna Kea and can be seen from the peak. Mauna Kea hosts the world’s largest astronomical observatory, with telescopes operated from many countries. The lack of light pollution on the Big Island makes this location ideal for observing the faintest galaxies at the edge of the observable universe. For casual star gazers like us, it is an awesome spot to try and find our favorite constellations. Summiting Mauna Kea is an experience you cannot pass up while in Hawaii.

 

 

ADVENTURE STATISTICS

Time Required: 5 Hours

Location: 63 miles inland from Kona

Distance: 8.7 miles from Visitor Station to the summit.

Highest Elevation: 13,800ft (4200m)

Elevation Gain: 4600ft from the Visitor Station

Difficulty: 1/10

Season: Year Round

Additional Requirements: 4WD Vehicle

 

Mauna Kea - Hawaii Big Island - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 1: Mauna Kea Summit

 

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From Kailua-Kona: Take Highway 190 north from Kona.  At Mile Marker 14 turn east onto the new Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Hwy 200).  Follow this until Mile Marker 28 and then turn left onto Mauna Kea Access Road. The Visitor Station is about 6 miles up the road on the right side. From Kona, the drive to the Visitor Station takes about 1-1/2 hours.

From Hilo: Take the Puainako Extension (Hwy 2000) east and merge onto Saddle Road (Hwy 200).  At Mile Marker 8 Highway 200 transitions seamlessly into the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Hwy 200). Just before Mile Marker 28, turn right onto Mauna Kea Access Road. The Visitor Station is about 6 miles up the road on the right side. The drive from Hilo to the Visitor Station takes approximately 1 hour.

 

WHAT TO BRING

  • Comfortable Footwear:Bring runners so you can walk around once you reach the summit. There won’t be a lot of places to go, but it’s always nice to have comfy feet.
  • Water:Always important to bring water
  • Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy at the summit.  Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
  • Weather appropriate clothing:Bring warm clothes! Even though you can’t imagine being cold while in Hawaii it is usually only a few degrees above freezing at the summit. High winds are very common as well which makes it feel that much colder. Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
  • Camera:There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
  • This Guide:Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike

 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Altitude: Be mindful that there is some serious elevation gain to reach the summit. At the top of Mauna Kea there is 40 percent less oxygen than at sea level. Even the smallest amount of physical exertion will leave you gasping for air and potentially feeling a little dizzy or nauseous. If you feel out of breath or dizzy, sit down and take a break.  Do not plan on summiting Mauna Kea within 24 hours after a scuba diving adventure.

 

Time of Day: We recommend arriving at the summit shortly before sunset.  It is very cold at the top so you will not want to spend too much time there.  Arriving just before sunset allows you to see the views during the day, enjoy the sunset and then check out the incredible stars from the Visitor Station after driving down from the summit.

 

Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably. Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:

  • Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
  • Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
  • Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
  • Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.

To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca

 

DIRECTIONS TO THE SUMMIT

200 yards past the Visitor Station the paved road ends. From the end of the paved road follow the gravel road as it gains elevation. After 5 miles on the gravel road the final 3.5 miles of the road to the summit are paved.

Driving up Mauna Kea - Hawaii Big Island - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 2: Driving to the summit
Driving up Mauna Kea - Hawaii Big Island - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 3: Driving to the summit

 

If you don’t have a 4WD vehicle, you should not attempt to drive to the top. If you do have a 4WD vehicle, be sure to use your low gears on the way down.

There are companies that will pick you up, drive you to the top for sunset, and then drive you back down. If you don’t want to pay for a ride up, and don’t have a 4WD vehicle there may be friendly people willing to let you hop in with them and hitchhike a ride to the top.

Once you arrive at the summit take some time to walk around before finding a good spot to watch the sunset.

After enjoying the sunset begin the drive back down to the Visitor Station. The Visitor Station is a great place to make a pit stop on the way down to check out the stars.  There is also a free star gazing program on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 6:00pm – 10:00pm.

 

Mauna Kea - Hawaii Big Island - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 4: Mauna Kea Summit

 

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

Thank you for choosing Epic Trip Adventures as your guide.  We are committed to continually updating our guides to be as relevant and accurate as possible. If you have feedback to improve this guide please leave it in the comments below.

We also want to hear about your Mauna Kea adventures.  If you have stories, pictures or even a link to your own adventure video please share them below!

 

Have fun out there!

– ETA

 

For a downloadable PDF version of this guide CLICK HERE! 

 

Buffalo Pound Provincial Park is a land of adventure and possibility. Whether your niche is kayaking, hiking, mountain biking or cross country skiing, Buffalo Pound has activities for all ages and personalities. Originally named for its use by First Nations hunting bison, Buffalo Pound is a pleasant place for families to enjoy the outdoors and camp in a friendly atmosphere.

 

ADVENTURE STATISTICS

Location: 20km north of Moose Jaw, SK

Elevation Gain: Max 200m

Difficulty: There are activities of all levels of difficulty

Season: June to September for camping

Additional Requirements: There is a $10 fee per person per day to enter the park.

 

Buffalo Pound - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 1: Buffalo Pound

 

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From Moose Jaw: Head north on Highway 2 for 16km, Turn right onto SK-202-E and then take a quick left to stay on SK-202-E. Follow SK-202-E for another 12.5km. Take a right into the park when you see signs.

 

WHAT TO BRING

  • Comfortable Footwear:Hiking shoes.There are some great hikes in the park, don’t forget some hiking shoes.
  • Mountain Bike: Buffalo Pound is known for is biking trails. Although it is still flat Saskatchewan, there are some fun trails around the area.
  • Water:Water is important for any camping trip
  • Sunscreen:If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
  • Insect Repellent:Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking experience.
  • Camera:There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
  • This Guide:Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike

 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Wood Ticks:In May and June Wood Ticks can be quite prevalent in Buffalo Pound.  Wear long pants when walking through long grass and thoroughly check yourself for ticks after outdoor activities.  Check any pets you brought along as well!

 

Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably. Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:

  • Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
  • Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
  • Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
  • Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.

To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca

 

CAMPING TIPS

  • Check if there is a fire ban. If you can’t have an open fire you may need to adjust your meal plan.
  • Reserve your camping site early as the park can book up. Especially on long weekends.
  • There is firewood available and are washrooms and shower facilities. Although this generally isn’t our style of camping it makes life a lot easier!
  • When checking in ask for a site with some shade. The midday sun can be hot and some of the sites are pretty barren.

 

Camping - Buffalo Pound - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 2: Setting up our hammocks
Buffalo - Buffalo Pound - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 3: The buffalo of Buffalo Pound

 

MOUNTAIN BIKING

  • Choose trails that are appropriate for your skill level. It is no fun getting stuck on a trail that is too difficult
  • Download the app “Trail Forks”, it has great trail maps that link with your GPS so you can easily navigate the park.
  • Bring a backpack with some snacks and water so you don’t have to bike back to your campsite if you get hungry.
  • We biked the majority of the trails in the park and found the trails South East of the park entrance were our favorites. There was a variety of difficulties and the trails were short enough that you could repeat your favorites.
  • All of the trails except for Jackpot can be ridden in either direction. Always be on the lookout for riders approaching head on.

 

Mountain Biking - Buffalo Pound - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 4: Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking - Buffalo Pound - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 5: Mountain Biking

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

Thank you for choosing Epic Trip Adventures as your guide.  We are committed to continually updating our guides to be as relevant and accurate as possible. If you have feedback to improve this guide please leave it in the comments below.

We also want to hear about your Buffalo Pound adventures.  If you have stories, pictures or even a link to your own adventure video please share them below!

 

Have fun out there!

– ETA

 

For a downloadable PDF version of this guide CLICK HERE! 

 

Building a quinzee is fun, fairly easy, and requires very few tools to complete. Spending a weekend building a quinzee is both an awesome winter adventure and a great way to learn a new outdoor skill. Knowing how to build an emergency quinzee could potentially save your life if you’re ever stranded in a cold weather environment and have lost your way.

 

REQUIRED TOOLS ARE MATERIALS:

  • Shovel
  • Depth gauge – a sturdy stick will work
  • 10-20 1.5 foot long sticks
  • Winter jacket
  • Snow pants
  • Gloves
  • Winter boots
  • Toque
  • Sleeping bag – if you plan on sleeping in the quinzee
  • Sleeping pad
  • Dry clothes to sleep in
  • Snow!

 

Anderson and our Quinzee - Montana - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 1: Anderson and our Quinzee

 

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Step 1: Create a large dome of snow.

The first step when building a quinzee is to determine how much snow you have to work with.  A depth gauge (or sturdy stick) is best to check how deep the snow is in your construction area.  You will need to build a mound of snow 5-7 feet high so the amount of snow in the area may affect the size of quinzee you can construct. When marking out the size of the quinzee the length should be 4 feet longer than the tallest person, and width large enough to fit the amount of people you have, including the wall thickness. The quinzee walls will be approximately 1.5 feet wide.   For two people a circular base with a 10 foot diameter results in a nice spacious quinzee. Once you have marked out the base of the quinzee, shovel snow into a mound 5-7 feet tall. After completing the mound walk on top of the dome to help pack the snow down, this will help provide structural integrity to the walls and roof.

 

Mattson shovelling - Montana - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 2: Mattson shovelling
The completed dome of snow - Montana - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 3: The completed dome of snow

 

Step 2: Insert sticks into quinzee walls.

Take 10-20 1.5 ft. long sticks and insert them into the dome. Evenly space the sticks out every one to two feet. These will act as depth gauges when hollowing out the inside of the quinzee.

 

Quinzee construction diagram - Montana - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 4: Quinzee construction diagram

 

Step 3: Let it sit.

Let the pile of snow sit for 90 minutes to two hours. This will allow the snow to sinter together and solidify, giving the walls more strength.

Step 4: Hollow out the inside.

After letting the dome sit it is time to hollow out the inside. Start by digging out the door on the lowest side of the mound. This will allow the cold air to exit and hopefully prevent heat from escaping. You want the door to be as small as possible to keep the heat in.

Dig out the main area of the quinzee until you can see the sticks poking through. When you find a stick it means the wall in that area is 1.5 feet thick. Keep hollowing out the inside until you have found all of your sticks and the inside of the quinzee has a dome shape. (Having someone outside the quinzee clearing snow away from the entrance as you hollow out the inside saves time and makes construction A LOT easier)

Anderson working on the door - Montana - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 5: Anderson working on the door
Hollowing out the inside of the quinzee - Montana - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 6: Hollowing out the inside of the quinzee

 

Step 5: Create a sleeping platform.

When clearing out the interior keep in mind that cold air sinks and hot air rises. This concept is very relevant and noticeable when in a quinzee. Building a level, elevated sleeping platform with a small trench in the middle will help the cold air flow out the door.

 

Sleeping platform diagram - Montana - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 7: Sleeping platform diagram

Step 6: Create air holes.

Once you’ve built your sleeping platform, remove all the sticks from the roof and walls. These holes will act as ventilation holes to allow fresh oxygen to enter the quinzee and carbon dioxide to escape. This step is very important as it is possible to suffocate in a quinzee if there is not enough air exchange. There should be roughly 10-15 holes with the thickness of a broomstick.

Bonus Step: Add a fireplace.

Though not totally necessary a fire pit can be added inside the quinzee. If you want to add a section for a fire pit, add a little bit of extra snow when building your mound and note where it is using sticks. Once you’ve hollowed out you fireplace area, make a hole at the top of it about the size of your fist to act as a chimney.

 

Quinzee fireplace - Montana - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 8: Quinzee fireplace

Final Step: Get Cozy.

Your quinzee in now complete. Setup your sleeping bags on sleeping pads and use a candle or lantern for light. You can build shelves into the walls or put a bent stick into the roof to hang things from. When you go to sleep, put a backpack or clothes in the entrance to block the door and help keep as much heat in as you can.

 

Important: When building the quinzee you will sweat.  Once you have finished construction change into warm dry clothes to prevent hypothermia.

 

Bedtime in the quinzee - Montana - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 9: Bedtime in the quinzee

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

Thank you for choosing Epic Trip Adventures as your guide.  We are committed to continually updating our guides to be as relevant and accurate as possible. If you have feedback to improve this guide please leave it in the comments below.

We also want to hear about your Quinzee adventures.  If you have stories, pictures or even a link to your own adventure video please share them below!

 

Have fun out there!

– ETA

 

For a downloadable PDF version of this guide CLICK HERE! 

McCloud Falls is a fun place for the whole family and is only 30 minutes east of the town of Mount Shasta. It’s a great daily getaway location for locals, and it’s not too far off the main drag if you’re driving through. McCloud Falls is a short 4 mile hike along the stunning McCloud River. It includes three different waterfalls and there is a campground if you plan to stay for more than a day. If you’re driving south on the I-5, you have to make the stop at McCloud Falls and enjoy the scenery.

ADVENTURE STATISTICS

Time Required: 2 Hours

Location: 25 miles east of Mount Shasta

Distance: 4 miles return trip (can be hiked or driven)

Highest Elevation: 300 feet

Difficulty: 3/10

Season: May to October are ideal, but McCloud Falls can be visited year-round

Additional Requirements: N/A

 

Mattson at Middle Falls - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 1: Mattson at Middle Falls

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From Mt Shasta: Head south on Mt. Shasta Blvd, take a left on CA-89 (Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway) and follow that highway for 15.5 miles. Take a right off that highway onto Fowler’s Public Camp Rd. You will see a sign saying “Fowler/Lower Falls” on the highway. Follow it for about a mile down to the Lower Falls parking lot. There will be signs directing you to the Upper and Middle Falls if you want to drive to them from Lower Falls.

 

WHAT TO BRING

  • Comfortable Footwear: Always nice to have comfortable footwear.
  • Water: In the summer months this area can be very warm. It is important to stay hydrated.
  • Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy along the hike as well as a light lunch for when you arrive at the falls.  Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
  • Weather appropriate clothing: If it’s a hot day, bring a swim suit. If you like cliff jumping, bring some water shoes to break the surface tension of the water. The Middle Falls is a great location for cliff jumping and usually quite popular in the summer.
  • Beer: Beer and a lawn chair. It isn’t uncommon to see people unfold a lawn chair and crack a cold one on the rocks at the Lower Falls. It’s a great place to relax and spend time with friends and family.
  • Sunscreen: If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
  • Insect Repellent: Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking experience.
  • Bear Spray: You are in bear country. Always hike with bear spray that is easily accessible.
  • Camping Gear: If you plan on camping, bring a tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear etc.
  • Camera: There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
  • This Guide: Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike

 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Wildlife: You will be hiking in bear country.  It is always advisable to check in at the local Visitor Information Center to learn of any trail closures due to wildlife.  Carry bear spray in an easily accessible location.  Travel in groups of multiple hikers and make lots of noise to avoid an unexpected encounter.

 

Camping Permits: Fowlers Campground has a ton of very well kept campsites with lots of activities and amenities in the area.  Here is a link if you’d like to book a spot.

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/fowlers-campground/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=149640

 

Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably.  Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:

  • Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
  • Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
  • Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
  • Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.

To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca

 

HIKING DIRECTIONS

Summary: McCloud falls is a very straightforward hike easy enough for anyone to enjoy. Our guide outlines the hike starting from Lower Falls, and continuing to both Middle and Upper Falls.  Alternatively, there are roads with parking lots at each falls, so another option is to drive to each of the falls separately.

 

McCloud Falls Adventure Map - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 2: McCloud Falls Adventure Map

 

 

Step-By-Step Guide:

This hike is very easy, straightforward and can be done by almost all skill level of hiker. Starting at the Lower Falls (Route marker #1 on the map), follow the paved trail up along the river. You will pass the Fowler’s Campground Area and the paved trail will end and turn into a dirt trail.  The distance between the Lower and Middle Falls is roughly one mile. Depending on your adventurousness/skill level, you could also rock hop your way along the river from the Lower Falls to the Middle Falls.

Lower Falls - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 3: Lower Falls

In our opinion, the Middle Falls (Route marker #2 on the map) is the most exciting of the three. At about 50 feet high and twice that in width, Middle Falls is the biggest by far. This is a great location for a swim on a hot day, or to go cliff jumping if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush. Always make sure to check the depth of the water before cliff jumping! In the winter months it is too cold to swim but the falls are still very worth checking out.  Middle Falls can be viewed from the lookout point up top, or you can make your way down a steep trail to view the falls closer up. Both areas provide spectacular vantage points.

Middle Falls - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 4: Middle Falls
Bird's-eye View of Middle Falls - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 5: Bird’s-eye View of Middle Falls

Upper Falls can be reached by following the railing from the lookout point at Middle Falls. Along the way you will hike through some trees and be treated to views of the McCloud River Canyon below.  As you hike, look back towards the Northwest and you may be able to catch a glimpse of Mount Shasta poking through the trees.  After about 10-15 minutes, you will come to the Upper Falls pouring out of a narrow gorge into a pool below (Route marker #3 on the map). The pool is surrounded by immense rock walls on either side. The Upper Falls and river gorge can also be viewed from above as you continue following the trail.

Upper Falls - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 6: Upper Falls

This is a very straightforward hike easy enough for anyone to enjoy. There is also the option to drive to and from each of the falls, and there are wheelchair accessible paths from each parking lot to the waterfall lookout points. In the summer months the falls can be busy and it can be difficult to find parking.  This makes making the hike between the falls the more attractive option.

Whichever way you choose to experience McCloud Falls, we hope you enjoy it, and we hope this guide helps you along the way!

 

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

Thank you for choosing Epic Trip Adventures as your guide.  We are committed to continually updating our guides to be as relevant and accurate as possible. If you have feedback to improve this guide please leave it in the comments below.

We also want to hear about your McCloud Falls adventures.  If you have stories, pictures or even a link to your own adventure video please share them below!

 

Have fun out there!

– ETA

 

For a downloadable PDF version of this guide CLICK HERE! 

The city of Mount Shasta is located in Northern California at the base of one of the largest volcanoes in the state. Mount Shasta is a must visit location in California with endless outdoor activities including hiking, biking, fishing, and camping.

 

ADVENTURE STATISTICS

Location: 62 miles north of Redding, CA

Highest Elevation: Mount Shasta’s elevation is 14,179 feet

Difficulty: Varied depending on the adventure activities you choose!

Season: June to mid-October as there is snow in the winter

Additional Requirements: Bikes are nice to have when exploring Siskiyou Lake.

 

Mount Shasta - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 1: Mount Shasta

 

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

To Mount Shasta Hiking Trails from the I-5 South: Take exit 740 onto Mount Shasta Blvd to enter the city of Mount Shasta. Then turn left onto Ski Village Drive and take a quick right to stay on Ski Village Drive. In 0.8 miles turn left onto Everitt Memorial Hwy and follow that road to the hiking trailhead of your choice.

To Lake Siskiyou from the I-5 South: Take exit 738 as you drive through the town of Mount Shasta and turn right onto W Lake Street. Turn left at S Old Stage Road and follow the road as it makes a slight right onto W A Barr Road. After about 2 miles you cross the Wagon Creek Bridge and will find a parking lot on the lake side.

 

WHAT TO BRING

  • Comfortable Footwear: Hiking shoes or winter boots in case there is snow on the mountain.
  • Water: Always smart to bring water when you are hiking.
  • Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy along the hike as well as a light lunch for when you arrive at the falls.  Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
  • Weather appropriate clothing: Depending on the time of year, you may want shorts and a T-shirt or some winter clothing. Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
  • Mountain Bikes: If you have a bike, the trail around Lake Siskiyou is a pleasant pedal with exceptional views of Mount Shasta in the distance.
  • Sunscreen: If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
  • Insect Repellent: Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking experience.
  • Bear Spray: You are in bear country. Always hike with bear spray that is easily accessible.
  • Camera: There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
  • This Guide: Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike

 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Wildlife: You will be hiking in bear country.  It is always advisable to check in at the local Visitor Information Center to learn of any trail closures due to wildlife.  Carry bear spray in an easily accessible location.  Travel in groups of multiple hikers and make lots of noise to avoid an unexpected encounter.

Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably.  Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:

  • Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
  • Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
  • Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
  • Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.

To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca

 

HIKING DIRECTIONS

Summary: Mount Shasta is an area with many opportunities for adventure. We were only able to spend one day in Mount Shasta but you could easily fill a few days there. We have attached a link below that includes a thorough description of all of the available hikes and other activities to do in the area.

https://visitmtshasta.com/activities/hiking-backpacking/

 

The remainder of this guide describes our day at Mount Shasta and the recommendations we have, for the activities we did.

Mount Shasta Adventure Map - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 2: Mount Shasta Adventure Map

 

 

One day in Mount Shasta:

Our initial goal was to summit Mount Shasta but due to the time of year, and the amount of snow, this was not a possibility.  Instead we decided to head for a leisurely bike ride around Lake Siskiyou before driving up Mount Shasta as far as the winter roads would allow.

Some of the best views of Mount Shasta come from the southwest shore of Lake Siskiyou. We left the city of Mount Shasta (Route marker #1 on the map) and parked in a parking lot on the southeast edge of the lake (Route marker #2 on the map). There is a well maintained 7 mile trail that runs through the trees and loops around the lake. The trail has minimal elevation gain and can be walked or biked.  In the winter, if there is snow, the trail is used for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. As you travel around the lake there are breaks in the trees that provide stunning views of Mount Shasta in the distance.

Biking around Lake Siskiyou - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 3: Biking around Lake Siskiyou
Mount Shasta from Lake Siskiyou - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 4: Mount Shasta from Lake Siskiyou

After soaking in the views from the lake we drove back through the city and up the mountain for a short hike off the Bunny Flat Trailhead (Route marker #3 on the map). The roads up to Bunny Flats are plowed year round and in the winter this is as high as you can reach by vehicle. We did our trip in November and there was a fresh 8-10 inches of snow at the Bunny Flats parking lot!

The Bunny Flat Trailhead is at 6950 feet and there is hours of hiking that begin from this point. Our hike was only about an hour due to the amount of snow, but the views were incredible. We lucked out and had a very clear day with blue skies and the sun shining.

Anderson on Mount Shasta - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 5: Anderson on Mount Shasta
Mattson hiking through the snow - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 4: Mattson hiking through the snow

Mount Shasta is an area filled with adventure opportunities and beautiful scenery.  It is a bit off the beaten track but totally worth spending a few days in!

 

Anderson hanging out at Lake Siskiyou - California - Epic Trip Adventures
Image 7: Anderson hanging out at Lake Siskiyou

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

Thank you for choosing Epic Trip Adventures as your guide.  We are committed to continually updating our guides to be as relevant and accurate as possible. If you have feedback to improve this guide please leave it in the comments below.

We also want to hear about your Mount Shasta adventures.  If you have stories, pictures or even a link to your own adventure video please share them below!

 

Have fun out there!

– ETA