One of the best hikes available on Mt. Shasta, the South Gate Meadow Trail combines nearly all the elements that characterize a first rate hike. Lush meadows, barren valleys, thick forests, glaciers and cascading streams can all be spotted along the way.
The South Gate meadow area is somewhat unique to Mt. Shasta in that it can be reached using well-maintained trails. Also, you can connect the Old Ski Bowl and Panther Meadows trails to create a convenient five-mile loop.
Mt. Shasta – South Gate Meadows/Squaw Valley
Distance: 5 miles (if you use the loop)
“For the Mt. Shasta area, I think the best hike, which sums up being on the mountain is the hike up to South Gate Meadows,” stated Bubba Seuss. “It’s got a ton of great views, big meadows, awesome geology and the wildflowers are spectacular. Even when you’re in the forest, it’s an old growth forest.”
Starting from the Panther Meadows trail, along the way you’ll encounter stunning views of Mt. Shasta and an old growth, Shasta Red Fir forest. Continuing on, you’ll pass a barren boulder field that despite its homogeneity, leaves a lasting impression. Hiking further, you finally reach South Gate Meadow.
At this point, behold a lush meadow crisscrossed by spring-fed streams and dotted with unbelievable wildflower displays. Visit in late July or early August to see the flowers in their full glory.
Directions to Panther Meadows trailhead: From I-5, take exit 738 to Central Mt. Shasta. Head East on Lake Street and continue onto Washington Street. After you pass Mt. Shasta High School, the road becomes Everitt Memorial Highway. Continue for about 12.5 miles until you see the Panther Meadow campground.