Sisson-Callahan Trail upper portion

Length: 10.4 miles round trip

High Point: 8020 feet

Elevation Gain: 2750 feet

Difficulty: moderate to strenuous

When to Hike: late June to mid-October

Controlling Agency: Mount Shasta Ranger Station, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, 204 West Alma, Mount Shasta, CA 96067. (530) 926-4511. www.fs.fed.us/r5/shastatrinity

Special Features: meadows; wildflowers; solitude; views of metamorphic ridges and peaks

Directions to the Trailhead: Take the Central Mount Shasta exit off I-5 and drive west. Turn south on Old Stage Road and then bear right onto W. A. Barr Road. Cross the dam at Lake Siskiyou at 2.6 miles and follow the paved road (now Road 26). At 5.3 miles you’ll cross the South Fork Sacramento River. Turn right .1 mile farther onto Road 41N53. Go right at a major road fork .2 mile farther. Continue on the main dirt road another 4.7 miles (total of 4.9 miles from paved Road 26) and park on the right side of the road just before reaching a cement culvert and the North Fork Sacramento River.

Description and Comments: The lower reaches of this trail are snow free sooner than the mountains at the higher elevations, so it makes a good warm-up hike for excursions you want to do later in the summer. The historic path, part of a route from the mid-1800s that once connected the Mount Shasta region with Callahan to the northwest, for the most part travels near the North Fork Sacramento River. It allows you to climb Mount Eddy and continue on to the Deadfall Lakes. (See separate entry.)

Go to the upstream and near side of the culvert to find the trail. Notice the National Recreational Trail emblem on a post. Similar posts, along with tree blazes and surveyor tape, will guide you along the route.

The path travels near the south bank of the North Fork Sacramento River for the first 2.6 miles, taking you through meadows and moist areas, and showing you colorful wildflower displays. At 2.6 miles you cross the stream (look for a post on the other side) and walk through a meadow and a lodgepole pine forest.

Enter a red fir and western white pine forest and then go right at 3.7 miles at a trail fork with a very faint path. You now climb steeply to reach the gap below Mount Eddy at 5.2 miles. From here you can continue another .8 mile on the trail to the right to Eddy’s summit, or you can head straight and down to explore the Deadfall Lakes. (See separate entry.)

Maps: USGS 7.5″ Mount Eddy. Click for Mt. Eddy area map at topozone.com