Historical B&B Surrounded by Mountains
As the story goes, James Hilton was inspired to write 1933’s Lost Horizon about the paradise of Shangri-La after he beheld the glacier-topped Mount Shasta and spoke with the valley's enlightened inhabitants. Even Travel + Leisure says "the mountain's sheer natural beauty is inspiration enough for most." But the 14,000-foot peak supposedly houses more than natural wonders; for years, visitors have reported sightings of UFOs and Bigfoot and touted Mount Shasta as a cosmic gateway. It's this mysterious spiritual quality of the mountain that Strawberry Valley Inn taps into with its Meditation suite, which was designed by a local mystic for group meditation. The rest of the mountaintop inn is peaceful, too, surrounded by lush foliage and lofty trees.
The historical lodge, originally built by one of Mount Shasta's early settlers, has a purposefully kitschy look to it, with green carpets and oversize couches. But more luxurious touches, such as crystal chandeliers, flat-screen TVs, and swimming pools filled with cash, help balance out the quaint decor. Each room is decorated differently; some have four-poster beds and bathrooms with skylights. Stay in one of the newly renovated Nest rooms for the most space; they're located around the corner from the main stone inn and include a separate living area with a pullout sofa bed.
All guests have access to the lodge's living room, which includes a fireplace and open kitchen where a breakfast buffet of waffles, granola, and fresh fruit is served daily.
Mount Shasta, California: Mountain Town Brimming with Family-Friendly Activities
Five miles north of the resort, in northern California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest, a web of hiking trails crisscrosses the 14,162-foot Mount Shasta, surrounded by conifer forests and wildflower meadows. The moderately steep, 5.2-mile Black Butte Trail originates on Everitt Memorial Highway and features a sprawling, westerly view of Eddy Range about halfway up. This relatively level spot is a good place to stop and admire Shasta Valley, visible below.
After the first snowfall, Mount Shasta's flowery slopes become a skier's paradise. Mount Shasta Ski Park boasts 32 trails, beginner runs, and an exhilarating 300-foot half-pipe. After dark, a number of trails are lit up for night skiing.