The hike up the Old Ski Bowl on Mount Shasta takes you all the way to the cross-country route to Green Butte. You’ll get good exercise from the steep climb, and you’ll have wide-ranging views.
Stephanie and I had another Cascade volcano adventure on Friday, this time closer to home. Last weekend we visited the Ridge Lakes climbed Lassen Peak in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Hiking Trails in Mount Shasta’s Old Ski Bowl
This time we explored the dirt roads and steep trails of the Old Ski Bowl on Mount Shasta’s south face. We started at the upper parking lot and began a steep and steady climb below Green Butte. In this picture you see Stephanie making her way up the Old Ski Bowl, with Shastarama Point and Sargent’s Ridge to her right, and higher reaches of Mount Shasta far above her.
Glaciers carved this huge depression out of Mount Shasta’s flank. Skiing enthusiasts were ecstatic when the Old Ski Bowl was in operation, but in January 1978 a snow avalanche from Green Butte swept down and destroyed the Green Butte chairlift. In January 1997, another snow avalanche began near Shastarama Point and tore 2.5 miles downhill. Of course, there’s no snow in this photo. The mountain is as bare as I’ve ever seen it, and long-timers around here say it’s been a long time since it looked this way. Oddly enough, even though we’ve had several drought years, Mount Shasta’s glaciers are getting bigger, in stark contrast to the vast majority of the other glaciers in the world, nearly all of which are shrinking due to global warming.
Mount Shasta is a Composite Cone (Stratovolcano)
Mount Shasta is a composite cone (stratovolcano) of the Cascade Range. Like all composite cones, it’s a crumbly pile of rocks that drops boulders and pebbles downhill at an alarming rate. There’s lots of rock, shattered and otherwise, cloaking the mountain’s flanks. Some of this is the work of long-gone glaciers, but some of it is rockfall. I’m always a bit on edge when I’m on Shasta.
Main Trail Ends Below Green Butte
We finished our trek at about the 9,600-foot level below Green Butte, exhilarated by the sharp ascent and the views. Smoke from the various wildfires burning to the west and southwest prevented the clear views of Castle Crags, McCloud, and the Lassen Volcanic National Park region, but we were content with our accomplishment.
Read about the recent Mount Shasta elevation increase here. Old Ski Bowl trails are the subject of Hike 45 in my book Day Hiking: Mount Shasta, Lassen & Trinity Alps Regions.
Have you hiked the network of trails in the Old Ski Bowl? Thoughts? Questions?