‘When I first caught sight of it I was 50 miles away and afoot, alone and weary. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since,’ wrote naturalist John Muir of Mt Shasta in 1874. Mt Shasta’s beauty is intoxicating, and the closer you get to her the headier you begin to feel. Dominating the landscape, the mountain is visible for more than 100 miles from many parts of Northern California and southern Oregon. Though not California’s highest peak (at 14,162ft it ranks fifth), Mt Shasta is especially magnificent because it rises alone on the horizon, unrivaled by other mountains.
Mt Shasta is part of the vast volcanic Cascade chain that includes Lassen Peak to the south and Mt Rainier to the north in Washington state. Thermal hot springs indicate that Mt Shasta is dormant, not extinct. The last eruption was about 200 years ago.