Dog Trail Clean-Up and Maintenance this Saturday, October 2 2010

Late-breaking news. You can help the River Exchange do some needed cleaning and trail maintenance on the Dog Trail, which accesses the Pacific Crest Trail from the south side of Castle Crags near Castle Creek.

Here are the details:

The River Exchange is reaching out for help from the community for a Dog Trail Clean-Up and Maintenance Day on Saturday, October 2nd at 9:00 a.m. The Dog Trail is a popular access trail to the Pacific Crest Trail in the Castle Crags Wilderness Area. Helpers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to participate in performing some much-needed maintenance on Dog Trail, with direction from local U.S. Forest Service Recreation Officer, Kai Allen.

Volunteers are being asked to lend a hand to clean up the Dog Trail trailhead parking area, perform basic trail maintenance and to place new signs marking the Wilderness Boundary. The need for this work was identified by the survey team who inventoried the recreation impacts in Castle Crags Wilderness Area this summer. The survey was funded by a National Forest Foundation -Wilderness Stewardship Challenge grant awarded to The River Exchange to partner with the U.S. Forest Service.

A limited number of volunteers will be able to participate in this event, so prospective volunteers are asked to contact The River Exchange to register. Volunteers are asked to wear sturdy boots, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and work gloves. Volunteers should also bring a lunch, water and sunscreen. Garbage bags and all of the required work tools will be provided by The River Exchange and the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

For more information and to register for the Dog Trailhead Clean-up Day, contact The River Exchange at 235-2012 or at

The River Exchange is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting healthy watersheds through education, stewardship, restoration and community involvement.

Robin Singler,

Administrative Director

The River Exchange

Hike to Castle Spire and Heart lake on Saturday, September 11

The Mt Shasta Trail Association has added another dimension to the Heart Lake hiked planned for September 11th as it was described in last week’s Mt Shasta Herald. While one group will explore the Heart Lake area as originally planned, another group will continue on and go for a more challenging hike/rock scramble up to the base of “Castle Spire,” the prominent thumb-shaped rock the is visible on the horizon to the southwest from Mt. Shasta.

Castle Spire is located atop the western end of granite Castle Crags formation. The route goes near Heart Lake, then turns and goes over the ridge and down to the PCT. When the PCT crosses the steep scree field of broken granite rocks, the group will turn east for a 1/2 mile upward rock scramble that leads to the base of the Spire. Participants will have a chance to peek through the little known “Castle Keyhole” arched rock, and the views in all directions from the base of the Spire will be magnificent! The group will not climb Castle Spire.

Participants for the Castle Spire hike need to be in excellent physical condition and have good agility. The round trip hike from the parking lot at Castle Lake is about five miles and is composed of periodic steep up and down sections both on and off trail. All participants should pack a lunch, camera, and lots of water. During the return hike the group will stop for a refreshing dip in either Heart or Castle Lake. Naturalist Mark Gibson (926-5966) will lead this hike.

The shorter, less demanding hike to Heart Lake is 2.2 miles round trip. This little alpine pond shaped like a heart, has shallow waters warmed by the sun. The pond leads to a small ledge and beyond to a plummeting valley that rises up to 14,162 foot Mt. Shasta. The views are eye popping and jaw dropping. This moderate, sometimes strenuous hike has a 600 foot elevation gain but is well worth the effort. An interesting note: the saddle above Castle Lake is in the area of the Indian battle with the US Calvary where Joaquin Miller, Poet of the Sierras, was wounded by an arrow that pierced his throat in June 0f 1855. Miller was a dubious historian so the facts are in issue. Call Joan Roemer (926-0647) for more info.

There is no charge for participation in these hikes.

Participants should meet at 9AM Saturday, September 11, in the fish hatchery parking lot to form carpools. The fish hatchery is located a quarter-mile west of the main Mount Shasta I-5 exit (the middle of the three) on the way to Lake Siskiyou.

Fire Restrictions Now in Effect…

The Shasta-Trinity National Forest just put fire restrictions in place that affect all the trails on forest property, including around Mount Shasta.

Here are pertinent details:

Fire officials from the Shasta-Trinity National Forest announced that fire restrictions begin at mid-night August 11, 2010 within the forest except for the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

Fire restrictions include:

* No campfires or charcoal fires except inside established campfire sites. California Campfire Permits are required to build a fire within Forest Service developed recreation sites and designated fire safe sites. A list of designated fire safe sites is available at

* Campfires will not be allowed in the Yolla Bolla-Middle Eel, Chanchellula, Castle Crags or Mount Shasta Wildernesses.

* Smoking will be confined to enclosed vehicles or buildings, developed recreation sites and other designated fire-safe sites.

* Use of internal combustion engines is prohibited, except on roads and designated trails. All engines must be equipped with spark-arresting devices.

* Welding or operating acetylene or other torch device with an open flame is prohibited.

Castle Dome Hike in Castle Crags State Park

This Saturday, June 12, join the Mount Shasta Trail Association on this strenuous and sometimes steep 5.5 mile roundtrip hike to the sky scraping granite spires called the Castle Crags. The elevation gain is 2200 feet. We will first walk through the forest to Indian Springs and then hike out in the open, amid the granite slabs and pinnacles where the postcard views of Mt. Shasta and the Crags become more and more spectacular.

Castle Crags are actually part of the Klamath Mountains, not the Cascade Range, and are much older. They were formed by granitic magma slowly cooling underground (as a “pluton”) and subsequently becoming exposed at the surface through uplifting and erosion. This is the same way that the granites of Yosemite formed. In fact, the Klamath Mountains broke off from the Sierra Nevada about 60 million years ago. Mount Shasta, in contrast, was formed by relatively recent surface eruptions (within the last several million years), and its rock is andesite (a type of basalt).

We will meet at the Fish Hatchery (central Mount Shasta exit and then west, away from Mount Shasta) at 9 am and carpool to Castle Crags State Park. Bring lunch and water. We will return about 4:30 pm.

For further information contact Joan Roemer at 926-0647.

John Soares at age 30 hiking toward Castle Dome. (Photo by Rick Ramos)
John Soares at age 30 hiking toward Castle Dome. (Photo by Rick Ramos)

Root Creek Falls Hike Report

The May 8th Mount Shasta Trail Association hike to Root Creek Falls in Castle Crags was a huge success with over 30 people participating.

Thanks to everyone who made the trek that day, and keep watching here, in the Mount Shasta newspaper, and your inbox (if you’re a member) for details of upcoming hikes.

If you went, you saw this. If you didn’t, here’s what you missed.

Root Creek Falls and Castle Crags. (Photo by Joan Roemer)
Root Creek Falls and Castle Crags. (Photo by Jon Mikel Walton)