The rain may not be the most comfortable of conditions to hike in but it is not without its benefits. Trails are often lonely and the wildlife is emerging as the precipitation abates. The beauty of breaking clouds swirling around high peaks is often breathtaking and the general sense of a reawakening is at once peaceful and invigorating. However, one benefit of the rain possibly outweighs all the others. The water from the sky swells the creeks and rivers and endows small streams with powerful new life. For waterfall hunters of fans of running water in general, this can be a magical time to explore the mountains around Mount Shasta.
The best place to do this is the Castle Crags. The granite towers of the Crags have countless canyons, gullies and cracks that funnel water into streams both large and small. Since the granite is not very permeable it does not absorb the water to release it at a later date. The water simply runs off the hard rock and ends up in beautiful Castle Creek. The compact shape of the Crags means that the creeks have small watersheds as well. A few springs sustain some of the larger creeks but most are best experienced after a good rain. Yet, while the geology of the Castle Crags means the creeks may have short life spans, it also means that they are a joy to see. The hard granite shapes into troughs, bowls and chutes, funneling the water over sheer granite cliffs and forming small waterfalls. In the creek beds, the granite boulders make continue this pattern on a smaller scale. All of it combines to make a delightfully musical spectacle. The Castle Crags boast obvious highlights of this phenomenon like Root Creek Falls and Burstarse Falls. However, those willing to explore some of the creeks not well-known for waterfalls will find that the granite and water still yield beautiful cascades.
When the rains come, stay dry, then head out to the Castle Crags and explore some of the unappreciated creeks that grace that magnificent cluster of towers!