South Gate Meadows on Mount Shasta.
When thinking of the Mount Shasta area, we often focus on some of the more obvious features like mountains and rivers and lakes. This is natural, given the cornucopia of these incredible locations we are blessed with. However, many of the best spots in the area are a little more subtle, though just as beautiful. The meadows of the Mount Shasta region are as diverse as the mountains and make awesome destinations for some of the most beautiful hikes. They are the perfect combination of delicate beauty, refreshingly vibrant and, given the lack of obstructions, boast some of the best views around. It is critical to note, however, that these are delicate landscapes and should be treated with respect. If you visit any of these spots, be sure to practice Leave No Trace principles, especially walking and camping on durable surfaces. Doing so will help ensure the continued beauty of these small slices of paradise!
Lush flowers fill Deadfall Meadow.
Mount Eddy is one of the dominant features of the Mount Shasta area. The peak looms over the surrounding landscape in dramatic fashion and if not for the presence of Mount Shasta, it would be a far more famous mountain than it is. Aside from its height and prominence, it has many other great attractions that include fascinating geology, gorgeous alpine lakes and the verdant Deadfall Meadows. Stretching out in a crescent for almost two miles between the Deadfall Lakes and the confluence with High Camp Creek, the meadows present some of the best wildflower displays in the region. Nearly choked with flowers in season, it is a glorious sight to behold. Rather than a single meadow, it encompasses a patchwork of grassy areas connected by Deadfall Creek and the outlet creek from Lower Deadfall Lake. The rugged cliffs of Mount Eddy tower above and completing the beautiful scene.
The Grey Rocks rise above Tamarack Meadow
Tamarack Ridge rises beyond the meadow.
“Tamarack Meadow” is an obscure meadow located at the south end of the Trinity Divide, near gorgeous Tamarack Lake. The name is unofficial, as few people make it here and most that do push right past the small vale en route to the Twin Lakes and Tamarack Lake. However, those that pause here will find one of the most spectacular skylines of any meadow in the region. To the north, the dark crags of the Grey Rocks line the horizon while to the south the bright cliffs of Tamarack Ridge rise beautifully above the lodgepole forest. Vernal pools are found throughout the meadow. Early in the summer this small patch of earth is absolute paradise.
Robbers Meadow in the Scott Mountains.
One of the larger meadows in the Scott Mountains, Robbers Meadow was once on the route of the original Sisson-Callahan Trail. Thought that section of the trail has fallen into disrepair, the meadow now lies below the Pacific Crest Trail and does see a small trickle of visitors hiking along that route. It is among the more remote meadows in the area but isolation only adds to its charm. Much of the forest around the meadow is sparse due to the harsh soils common that result from the serpentine and peridotite, both common in the Scott Mountains. Remnants of the Sisson-Callahan Trail can still be found around the meadow and some route finding will lead to a small but beautiful tarn.
Cascades and wildflowers in South Gate Meadow.
The foremost meadow of the Mount Shasta area, superlatives run dry describing this lush jewel. Located on the south side of the mountain, it is reached via an easy but spectacular trail. Separated into upper and lower sections by a beautiful cascade, this meadow beckons hikers to explore. There are many places of staggering beauty just beyond the meadow, for those that want to explore. The lowest part of the meadow has a fantastic view of Sargents Ridge and the Konwakiton Glacier.
A spectacular view of Mount Shasta from Mud Creek Meadow.
The easiest meadow to reach in the Mount Shasta area is one of the least appreciated. However, this vast clearing in the woods features a drop-dead view of Mount Shasta that is perfect for sunrises. This spot is tough to top.
This list was very difficult to compile, given how many awesome meadows there are in the area. I think I may have to follow up with a Part II!