Sunset view of Mount Shasta from the divide between the Trinity River and the Shasta River.
Last night I took my family up onto the Pacific Crest Trail for one last hike in the high country before the snow comes. With rain (and high elevation snow) in the forecast one week from now, it seems unlikely I will get my whole family out on a hike in the mountains again. The shorter days meant that we had the opportunity to get out and up in the Trinity Divide for a reasonably timed sunset. We headed to the Parks Creek Trailhead and hit the trail in the midst of the low-angle afternoon sunlight. It was glorious. With gobs of rocks to climb and far-reaching views, it is a wonderful section of trail and one that is easy to do for families with younger children. You really can’t go wrong here.
The sun was setting as we reached our destination, which was a low saddle just off the trail where fantastic vistas open up to the east, west and north. From here you can see much of the Trinity Alps, Mount Shasta, most of the Shasta Valley and deep into Oregon, crowned by the heights of Mount McLoughlin, southern Oregon’s highest peak. It is a fantastic vista and shockingly easy to get to. It really is one of the best kid-friendly hikes in the high country around Mount Shasta.
We made it from our house to our vista point and back to our house in about 4 hours. This included a leisurely hiking pace and time to climb on rocks and watch the sunset. That kind of turn around time is one of the great things about the Mount Shasta area. Whether you live here or are just visiting, you can enjoy spectacular little outings with minimal time investment but offering the kind of scenery that makes lifelong memories.
While not our last hike of the year, it is more than likely to be the last time my wife and I get all three of our kids on the trail higher up in the mountains. If this proves to be the case, it was a great way to finish the alpine hiking season.
Also, I just want to commend all those involved in bringing about the installation of the new bathrooms at the Parks Creek Trailhead. The rock work is an especially nice touch. Much needed and well done!