While the fall color in Mount Shasta is not as grand as the east coast or parts of the Rocky Mountains, it is still very dramatic. Indeed, this is one of the most beautiful time s of the year up here in the North State. The color is not found high on Mount Shasta or amongst the tall peaks of the Trinity Divide. Instead, it is focused in the lower elevation areas, including the Strawberry Valley and the along the southern fringe of the Shasta Valley near Weed. The best places to enjoy the fall color from the trail are along the region’s creeks and rivers. Here the riparian environment is loaded with a variety of trees and shrubs that have wonderful displays of color in the fall. The trails are focused around the McCloud and Sacramento Rivers, though there are a few paths on other creeks that feed into the rivers as well.
Even though the spring thaw is perhaps the most dramatic and awe-inspiring time to visit the rivers, fall is no doubt the prettiest time of the year. Their water level is lower, but the rivers have a friendly and intimate sense about them and the power of the surging spring water is replaced by the palette of colors that surround the waters. The delicate leaves, slowly falling from the trees compliment the running rivers. In some ways, given the profusion of conifers throughout the area, the quality of the fall color can often come as a surprise. The McCloud and Sacramento Rivers enjoy great displays of the autumn spectacle and the fall is one of the best opportunities to appreciate these great rivers from the trail. Yet it must be mentioned that the best color may actually belong to the Klamath River at the north end of the Shasta Valley. There are no trails along this river but those motivated to see the large river in its incredible canyon and dazzling color will not be disappointed.