When can you first hike the trails Mount Shasta trails and Lassen Volcanic National Park trails this spring?
Answer: it depends.
Hiking Trails and Snow Levels
I received an e-mail today from a gentleman living in the upper Midwest who is planning on spending two weeks this summer hiking the trails in the Mount Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park areas with his wife and kids. He even bought my 75 Hikes book, which means he’s actually serious.
His main question was about timing and crowds.
Here’s my reply:
Thanks for buying the book!
There are a few trails near Mount Shasta that would for sure be snow-free by mid-June (mostly below 6000 feet), but your best bet would be to come in the middle of July. That way most of the snow should be gone and wildflowers will be peaking, especially at the higher elevations. Make sure you do the hike to Deadfall Lakes. The flowers along the trail to Middle Deadfall Lake are profuse and justly famous. And the trails around here are never all that crowded, except for the most popular ones in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
The key issue is will most of the snow be gone by mid-June. That depends on how much snow we get in the high mountains through about the end of May, and also on how warm April, May, and June are, and we just don’t know that.
It shouldn’t be too crowded for camping in either the Lassen Volcanic National Park or Mount Shasta areas, and there’s lots of forest where you can do open camping away from the crowds.
Note that it’s best to fly into the Sacramento airport rather than Oakland or San Francisco.
Snow-Free Hiking Trails in Mount Shasta and Lassen Park: the Date Varies…
from year to year. Some years people can backpack the high country in late May; in other years it’s July.
Be sure to check my extensive post on March to June backpacking trips in Northern California if you want to backpack before the high country melts out.