Road trip to Shasta
Road Trip: Shasta
We road tripped to the Mt. Shasta area over Memorial Day Weekend. Here's my recommendations for what to do with your kids if you are visiting the area...
Burney Falls: Forget what TLC said- you should ABSOLUTELY
go chasing waterfalls! We did this past weekend & when I say this video does not do these falls justice- I mean that! I was glad we saved Burney Falls for our grand finale on Monday/ it was the show stopper! Mama Nature is unmatched in her beauty! McArthur-Burney Falls State Park is about a 45 min drive away from the central Shasta area. You can visit the park for $10 per vehicle (no reservations needed). Day use hours are 8am to sunset. Or you can camp there for $35 a night (reservations required).
Coming from Shasta we didn’t have to wait in line to get into the park but coming from Reno the line to get in was crazy! They said the wait can be up to an hour! I didn’t see anyone turned away. There’s multiple parking lots & someone is always going out.
There are some hiking trails. The Falls loop trail is the most popular. I did the walk down to the falls w my 2 youngest kids. The trail down is paved (but not stroller friendly). There are different routes to get from the trail down to the rocks by the falls. I opted for the path less traveled so we could sit more away from ppl. It was challenging but both my kids were able to do it w some help.
I went on this trip w my mom, so I have a whole new appreciation for the meaning of ADA accessible! The path down to the falls is not buuut there is an overlook right over the falls
where my mom could sit on a bench in the shade & read by the falls until we made it back from the water. She loved it. & I’m so happy there was a way she could enjoy the sights too!
There is a small store w/ food, souvenirs, & ice cream- cuz it was hot!!! Like 100 degrees hot! I truly understand why these waterfalls have been called the eighth wonder of the world! The falls are 129 feet tall & 100 million gallons flow through every day!
I read a brief history & saw the falls were named after a few settlers w the same names who bought the land & saved it from development by giving it to the State. Idk how the whole thing played out but it is very important to acknowledge we are on stolen land.
McCloud Falls: We had the pleasure of visiting 4 different waterfalls on this trip. 3 are easy to hit in one day which are the McCloud Waterfalls. They are divided into Lower, Middle, & Upper. I will post each one individually but you can visit all of them at the same time!
Each of the falls has a parking lot that gets you close to an over
look. Getting down to the falls has varying levels of tricky ness.
For my ADA mom it was great that she was able to use her walker from the parking lot & easily get to each of the waterfalls overlooks so she could enjoy it to.
The Lower falls provided nourishment & sustenance to the Native Winnemem Wintu Tribe who inhabited the area. Salmon was the staple here as well many berries, nuts, & mushrooms that grew near the river. They still regard the waters as sacred & call it the life blood of the people, that flows from the mountains down to the people below.
These were the easiest of the Falls to walk down to from the parking lot. Just a short little path from the lookout point led us to the smooth rocks we climbed over to wade in the water. For kids & wading I recommend this one. When I was reading about the falls everyone suggested swimming in the middle falls but I actually saw the most people & it seemed easiest to swim in these falls.
Tips: wear crocs lol, seriously. Crocs got us through the whole trip. The bottoms have good grip when walking over rocks, they protect you from sticks while hiking, & they are great for wading in the water! Just strap on that activities strap in the back lol & you’re good to go! But ser
iously water shoes- yes, saltwater sandals w the strap- yes, flip flops- Noooo!
All of the McCloud Falls we’re free to get in to.
Middle Falls of the McCloud waterfalls was by far the most dramatic of the falls & the most breathtaking! The walk from the top parking lot & lookout point down to the falls is probably only about a 10 minute hike. It looks like much longer from the top but it’s not hard. These 2 did it by themselves in crocs. But there are stairs & it’s not stroller or ADA accessible- luckily there’s a lookout point w a bench right above the falls.
The issue is once you get down to the falls it’s all rock climbing from there. I got into BIG trouble w my Mama lol, who was watching me nervously help haul my girls over boulders to get closer to the falls from her perch up above. I was like you should see the stuff I do w them when you’re not here.
I truly do believe in my heart though getting your kids out into nature & having them handle themselves in different environments benefits their development in so many ways- I like that my kids will get hella dusty & climb up a difficult trail, builds strength & character!
Anyways we saved these falls for last so I could go swimming in them but w it being so rocky I couldn’t get my girls over enough of the boulders to get close to the water I wanted to swim in- so tip: go w 2 adults, go w older kids, or leave the kids back for this one if you want to swim in these falls.
As with any body of water- RESPECT it! Know your limits. Stop yourself if it feels unsafe. Water is Life! & all praises due to Oshun & Mama Yemaya but respect waters boundaries- I have been taught that lesson more than once & I have the utmost respect for the power of flowing water! It felt unsafe to me w them to continue to climb, so we dipped in where we were at & stopped from going any further. Know your limits!
Upper Falls of the McCloud waterfalls seemed to have the strongest flow, that’s because all the water that was flowing through the stream up above is getting pushed through this smaller opening. It flowed through with tremendous force!
These were the only falls we didn’t hike down to but the path from the parking lot to the look out point was flat & paved/ stroller friendly & ADA accessible.
You can also splish & splash in the water up above the falls. From the parking lot just walk straight, right towards the water. If you stand off to the side the water is mellow.
The 7th slide is how we feel about people littering in such beautiful spaces! The crazy items We saw people leave behind at all the waterfalls but especially Middle Falls made me sad! Water bottles were the most prevalent item, wrappers, but also a crawfish habitat lid, a shoe (how you forget the shoe u walked in on?? ), a dog leash?!!! How you gone go up in someone else’s house & leave a mess?!?!
Please be prepared to pack out what u take in! Mama Nature literally gives us everything we need to survive & she just wants protection in return. How are you leaving her? Hopefully better than when you came. *** Bring a garbage bag with you!!!
Turtle Bay Exploration Park: Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding is worth a visit if you are up that way. Redding is about an hour away from Shasta so it’s also someplace you could stop by on the way there or the way back home. The Exploration Park features an indoor museum with different sections telling the history of the area & the REAL history of the area. I appreciated that! They have a whole area of appreciation for the Native Tribes of the area. There is also an exhibit called Washed Ashore which is art made completely out of trash from the ocean but the great thing is they are using the art to make people awar
e of how much we trash the ocean & they made some really cool ocean animals out of it!
Outside there are 2 children’s playgrounds, an outdoor amphitheater where they have animal shows, a water play area that is a mock up of Shasta & the water shed she provides, an animal grove you can walk through of their rescue animals that include foxes, birds, skunks, a badger, a raccoon, & other woodland creatures.
All of these animals are in the animal show & it’s a pretty cool 30 min show that happens at 11 & 12- if you go try to catch it & be on time, you have to sit out of the amphitheater if you’re late bcuz they literally have birds flying over your head so you must remain seated.
Also there’s a cute restaurant & a gift shop w cool drinks- which you’ll need cuz it’s HOT in Redding- it was over 100 the day we went.
The cost was pretty reasonable for what they offer Adults $18, children & seniors $14, kids under 4 are FREE! They are open Mon-Fri 9-5pm & Weekends 10-5.
Sundial Bridge in Redding is a real working sundial!!! It is located just outside Turtle Bay Museum’s main entrance in Redding & connects you over to their Botanical gardens & children’s gardens.
The Sacramento River is flowing right under you as you walk across the translucent bridge. You do not need to pay for the museum to walk across the bridge, it & the gardens beyond are open to all for free!
Inside the museum you can read more about the history of the Wintu who occupied this area & how colonization have wiped them out. Maybe the most devastating blow was in 1850 Cali became part of the U.S. and an “Indian Protection” law was passed which did anything but protect them. Instead the law was used to make those without papers for land become indentured servants & enter into a cycle of poverty. Disease, starvation, & murder (there were bounties for Native scalps) further pushed the Wintu off of their land. There are still so many legal battles being fought over the land today! Which is why we say this is all stolen land!!! Thank you to Turtle Bay for keeping it all the way real inside the museum! I learned so much & thank you for protecting the history of the real inhabitants of the land
I do highly recommend stopping at Turtle Bay if you’re in the area! We loved the exhibits, the animal show was fun, the water play area was great, & we even really loved feeding the sweet lorikeets except for the one- the whole day was an experience we won’t forget!
Maagic Mountain Goat Farm: This was so gorgeous & so informative! Leslie, the owner, is such a gracious host. We had a great time on our tour. The land was so serene & peaceful.
This was my moms favorite stop on our trip & she even got to hold a baby goat!!! If you are in the Shasta area I highly recommend hitting up Leslie for a tour! You can schedule individual or group tours. The web sight is maagicmtnfarm.com.
There is also an Air BnB room to rent if you want to stay right there on the property. I’d say it’s best suited for a couple or 1 parent & 1 child. You can also book her tours through Air BnB too.
Leslie showed us how everything on the farm is connected & works together. Like the chicken poop fertilizes the veggies, the stream makes the grass green, the gree
n grass feeds the goats, the goats trim the grass & provide the milk, chickens provide the eggs, the community helps with the garden, the eggs are given to the community, the kids come to the farm to play w the goats. Everything is one & everything is connected. I have an all new appreciation for how much work it is to be self sustainable.
Also fun fact we learned if you leave buckets in your yard to collect the rain, you can stick a stick in it so if bees fly in (as they are attracted to water) they can pull themselves up & out on the stick.
Even as a vegan I can see & understand the difference between factory farming & a small farm where the animals are well taken care of & in return the animal products are used. I feel way different about the latter. One of the reasons we are vegan is because we don’t want animals to suffer for us. But these animals are happy & there is a beautiful reciprocal relationship going on.
Leslie left us w great memories & also a roll of fresh
ly baked bread made w love right there on the farm & it was literally the best bread I’ve ever had! Plus I got my new favorite goat selfie. So hit up Maagic Mountain Goat Farm while in the Shasta area! firstname.lastname@example.org
Air BnB: I was asked where we stayed a couple times so gonna put that info out there. We stayed in the town of Weed. It’s literally right next to Shasta like Berkeley is to Albany. It was perfectly convenient to everywhere we were going to.
People have been saying that the hotel prices in that area are super high right now. I don’t do hotels if it’s more than a night- I got too many kids with too much energy & they’re too loud for us all to be confined to a one room hotel. Plus we save $ by cooking every trip instead of going out to eat every time.
We stayed in an Air BnB for $85 a night for a 2 bedroom. Air BnB also lets you pay half when you sign up & the other half a couple weeks b4 ur trip so u don’t have to pay all at once.
The rental property was through a local that really lives out there & is trying to bring in extra income. The woman lived upstairs & was very kind & helpful. The kitchen had everything we needed to cook meals, there were toys for the kids, Netflix, washer/dryer, a fire pit & smores kit, & best of all live chickens on the property! The host offered
us fresh eggs, butter, & milk (which we did not take, but the hospitality was sweet).
The chickens were a big hit w my animal loving kids & feeding them all of our scraps kept them occupied every morning- which was a life line for me. P.s. chickens really eat anything & everything lol. The place was a little rustic but the beds were comfy & it was perfect spacing for our crew. So I was happy w our rental.
Other cheap ways to stay out there are - go camping! Camping is anywhere from $25-45 a night depending where you camp. It’s a lot of work sometimes but it always saves $.
Shasta Watershed: I was so happy our guide at Maagic Mountain Goat Farm suggested we stop by the city park to visit the Headwater Springs. This is a spring that flows down directly from Shasta that provides the freshest, purest water to everyone who comes by.
Everyone brings their big water jugs & fills up with this water, straight from the source. The first time we went we weren’t prepared. We filled up my daughters water bottle (& she promptly fell in afterwards lol, but that’s ok, funny memory). Anyways she took one sip & had the biggest smile & looked over at us & said this is the BEST water ever & started laughing! I tasted it & I confirm this is the freshest, purest, best water you’ll ever lay your tongue on!
So before we went home we came back prepared w a couple gallon bottles to fill up & filled all our water bottles. This water is amazing & completely untainted! The snow that melts from Shasta is pure as it’s been up there for years & flows through underground lava tubes before bursting out at the headwaters.
Did you know California drinking water from your tap contains thousands of carcinogens? There’s arsenic, byproducts of disinfectant chemicals, chromium, uranium, & radium, to name a few. All of these in mass quantity can be cancerous. Not to mention they fluoridate the drinking water here, which further calcifies your pineal gland (you need your pineal gland to see with your 3rd eye). Stop using toothpaste w fluoride- it’s actually terrible for you!
Lake Siskiyou: Lake Siskiyou is a reservoir formed by Box Canyon Damn. It is used for recreation as well as watershed protection. I think it’s only about 50 years old.
If you wanna go swimming in Shasta - this is the place to do it!! There is a sectioned off swim area w beach, this giant inflatable obstacle course, & there are also boat launching sites around the other side. Ppl were paddle boarding, boating, swimming, kayaking, doing the obstacle course, having so much fun in the water.
You can also camp at the lake via tents or cabins they have for rent.
Day passes are really cheap to park on the lake for the day. It was like $4 for adults, free for kids. You can also park for free around the other side of the lake but you won’t be on that main beach area. So depends what you’re trying to go there for.
We went in & found a quiet area away from the main beach to dip our feet in, play in the water, & pray. I didn’t want to be on the main part, I just wanted peace & to get a good shot of Shasta from the lake. Shasta area was beautiful & I can’t wait to go back & explore that area further!