Great inner work is done in the Sacred Mountain Region that may not manifest itself in the physical for years to come.

Mount Shasta Meditation Walks

Mt. Shasta Painting
"Cliffs at Castle Lake"
Original watercolor painting by Kim Solga

We hope you will take the time to visit some of the places we have mentioned in this internet guide to the Sacred Mountain Region. It is hardly necessary to remind you of the remarkable nature of these places, and the importance of giving them special care. Take nothing away but the energy and leave nothing but your prayers!

The Box Canyon Trail
Treat yourself to the spectacular sight of water flowing over the spillway at Box Canyon Dam. If you are visiting in early spring, be sure to drive down to the dam, and walk out onto the bridge. What a sight, watching water rush down the spillway and literally leaping into the Upper Sacramento River! For a different view, take a walk on the Box Canyon Trail. Park along the road north of the bridge, and cross over to the east side of the road. The unmarked trail starts next to the fence along the perimeter of the golf course. Stay to the left as you walk. The steeper trail going off to the right is washed out. You will come to an area where you can step into a clearing and safely see the spillway. Continue down the trail for a number of curious sights. You will go through a beautiful forested area that looks untouched by humans... and then you will come upon a graveyard of ancient car bodies, slowly being covered by vegetation.

Panther Meadows & Sand Flat
Panther Meadows has long been a site for Native American ceremonies. This high mountain meadow is blanketed by snow long into June. The delicate plants of a high mountain meadow quickly grow and bloom during the few short weeks of warmth and sunlight. The source spring for the tiny creek meandering through the meadow is a sacred site revered by Native Americans and spiritual pilgrims.

Walk carefully through this delicate ecosystem. Paths now crisscross this unprotected treasure, because visitors strayed from established trails. One step on these tiny high mountain plants can set them back a whole season. Two steps can kill them.

To reach the meadows early in the summer, park at the end of Everitt Memorial Highway at Bunny Flat, and walk the highway approximately 2 miles further. The road should be open and clear by the beginning of July.

You passed the turn-off to Sand Flat approximately 2 miles below Bunny Flat. The dirt road into Sand Flat is about a mile long. As you drive or hike in, you will notice the undergrowth disappear, and broad spaces open among the trees. You are entering a climax red fir forest. If you find yourself alone among these ancient giants, blue birds native to the area might fly down and eat from your hand.

Sacramento River at Cantara Loop
Walk along the Sacramento River banks, looking up at the moss covered cliffs that create the Box Canyon area. The walk is not long, but rocky as you approach the end of the trail. Stop often and look up. The canyon is cool and filled with delightful smells of water and plants. Wildflowers take hold in cracks and crevices, and present an unexpected spot of color on the rocks next to the path, while the cliffs across the river are velvety with rich green moss and tiny flowering plants. The music of the river fills your ears...shouting during the Springtime high water flow, gently laughing through hot summer afternoons.

To reach the Cantara Loop area, drive south from Mt. Shasta on Old Stage Road to the stop sign at Azalea Road, then continue right on Old Stage over the railroad tracks. In about 1/4 mile, veer to the right, following the sign to Cantara Loop. Cantara Road winds steeply downhill for about a mile, bringing you to the riverside, a favorite spot for catch-and-release fishermen. Drive to the right until you see the green barriers. Park, and walk past the barriers down a dirt path. The path ends at an old bridge abutment which was probably the crossing to an old turn of the century spa at Neys Springs Creek.

Fans of the river will enjoy a trip to The River Center headquarters for watershed stewardship, education and activities for residents and visitors to the Upper Sacramento River. Return to Mt. Shasta City, then take the freeway south six miles to Dunsmuir. The River Center is at 5819 Sacramento Avenue.

Pluto Cave and the Sculpture Gardens
During Mount Shasta's many eruptions lava oozed over the landscape, filling gullies and narrow valleys. The outer edges of the lava flows cooled more quickly, while inside the molten hot lava flowed on, leaving hollow lava shells called lava tubes. Pluto Caves are an easily accessible example of the thousands of lava tubes, many yet undiscovered, which pepper the landscape of the Sacred Mountain Region. Pluto Cave has held sacred significance for Native American tribes for hundreds of years. Sadly, its accessibility has led to misuse, including littering and graffiti, but if you hike a little beyond the entrance of these eerily magnificent caves, you will begin to understand why the caves have sacred significance. Wear hiking shoes, go in pairs, and take flashlights and extra batteries. To reach the Caves, go out Highway 97 approximately 12 miles to road A12. Turn west, and go 3 miles. Slow down and watch carefully on the left for a telephone pole with "Pluto Caves" in silver letters attached directly to the pole. Turn left and drive about 2/10 of a mile to the dirt parking area. Follow the rock edged walkway to the caves.

As you return from Pluto Caves, take a little extra time to experience The Living Memorial Sculpture Garden, set at the edge of the Shasta Valley northeast of Mt. Shasta. Take A12 back to Hwy 97, turn left and go one mile. The Sculpture Garden was dedicated as a war memorial, but the nine larger than life metal sculptures evoke a powerful sense of striving for peace. The sculptures are arranged within walking distance of each other with the stark landscape and lovely distant view of Mount Shasta as a backdrop. Sitting areas are provided for quiet meditation and contemplation. There are also plans in the making to construct a labyrinth there, similar to the one at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco..

Elsa Rupp Nature Trail
The Elsa Rupp Nature Trail is a peaceful walk through forests and historic Strawberry Valley wetlands within a stone's throw of downtown Mt. Shasta City. Look for the parking area on the east side of Old Stage Road just north of the Sisson Hatchery & Museum.

The C.O.S. Bear Trail
At the College of the Siskiyous in Weed you can follow a delightful trail meandering through the wooded areas adjacent to the campus grounds. The trail starts at the southeast corner of campus.

Castle Crags State Park
Many trails, from high alpine cliffs to riverfront strolls, are perfect for hikers and day visitors at Castle Crags State Park south of Dunsmuir. Maps will be available when you register at the park's entry station.

Lake Siskiyou
Follow signs from Mt. Shasta City south on either Old Stage Road or Ream Avenue to reach Lake Siskiyou. Drive over the dam and park across from the Castle Lake Road turnoff. Here you'll discover a dirt road leading down to the lakeshore...a perfect spot for a picnic on a warm Spring day.

Walk Softly on the Earth
Please show respect when visiting any of these sites. Leave no trace of yourself behind. Use common sense to insure your safety at all times. The user of this guide assumes all risks and responsibilities when visiting these places.

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all writing © Joanne Steele
all artwork © Kim Solga