A bit about Mt. Shasta…
Horse camp hike is located in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest exactly where you would think – on Mt Shasta. The region is a sight unlike any other place in all of California. The summit and the surrounding territory has its own Alpine climate – some of the most pristine nature, clean air and views worthy of Instagram. Here’s a link of US Dept of Agriculture site with tons of useful information about the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
Before we set out to hike the mountain, check out Lake Siskiyou hike where you will trully get the best view of Mt. Shasta, we got the tip from one of the locals!
Here’s a quote from their website
Mt. Shasta is a popular destination for a wide spectrum of visitors. Some come for the challenge of climbing to the mountain’s summit, some are spiritual seekers drawn to the mountain, and some come for the floral displays of meadows or sweeping panoramas of vista points. This web site will provide the potential visitor with basic information about recreational opportunities, facilities, areas of interest, and other things to know before planning their visit.
Easily accessible all year around it’s a playground for kids and adults alike. This post is focused on a short but sweet hike to the Horse camp – ultimately perfect for hiking with kids (we saw about a dozen other families scaling the distance with infants and toddlers). This trail is a part of the ascent trail to the top of the mountain through the Avalanche Gulch.
Where to stay around Shasta
An ideal location to rent a hotel room would be the closest locacl town of Mt. Shasta or the town of McCloud, both are within stone throws of the mountain. Do expect the prices to be almost double the average of the nearby Redding or Red Bluff. A very unusual yet intriguing is an authentic hotel – McCloud Mercantile hotel.
Bunny Flat Trail head to Horse camp
We chose an easily accessible trail from the Bunny Flat Trail head located off of Everitt Memorial Hwy. Just make sure to arrive early since it is a very popular hike, we had to wait about 30 minutes for someone to leave to take their spot.
Bunny Flats is also a starting point for mountaineers to summit Mt. Shasta through the Avalanche Gulch. Thus expect lots of cars and attempt to either come early or later in the afternoon (once the first wave of day hikers comes back).
We came after 1:00 pm and had to wait approximately 30-40 minutes for a parking spot. Once we ported into one of the vacated spaces all the fun has begun! The trail almost immediately splits into two, roughly 200 yards from the trail head at the Bunny Flats.
Horse camp hike route – make a left turn !
As you begin the ascent, one path will be going to the right – the Bunny Flat Trail and the second path going to the left – to the summit through Avalanche Gulch (with a stop at Horse Camp).
We specifically choose to hike the one on the left to the Horse Camp – which is the base camp for the mountaineers attempting to ascend Mount Shasta. It was a fairly straight forward hike with a steep inclination.
On the way up we saw many families with little kids walking to the Horse camp, at least a dozen. Some children were walking their own , others, mostly infants and toddlers were carried by parents. I carried little bear in an ErgoBaby carrier – which was ideal.
There’s a very cool mountain lodge located at the Horse Camp with few activities inside of the building. Also a great place to replenish your water supplies. Relax, stretch out and take in all the surrounding scenery.
We had a good time hiking this trail and the destination point was gratifying. I also got to talk to the mountaineers, many of whom apparently were inexperienced, Mt. Shasta ascent being their first.
We learned about the gear necessary to climb the treacherous icy trail which includes crampons, ice ax and the helmet. Additionally you will need all the necessities required for backpacking since you will have to make at least two camps on the way up with first one at the Horse camp.
California through my lens take on Mt. Shasta
I highly recommend reading Josh’s well written and informative post about the climb. In the post he describes the necessary gear, preparations and many other aspects essential to navigate the Avalanche Gulch route.
Josh also has a bunch of cool videos from up top.
More ideas on things to do in Redding, Mt Shasta and Lassen Volcanic park with kids are in our Little California Book
If you happend to drive out so far up north, make sure to visit Mt. Lassen National Park, which actually is a Volcano! Make sure to stop by the McArthur-Burney falls, McCloud Falls and the Subway Lava Cave.