Rustic Lodge at Foot of Snowcapped Mount Shasta near Ski Resort
Many know about the strange stories behind the Bermuda Triangle and Stonehenge, but California's Mount Shasta arguably rivals those spots as one of the world's most mysterious places. The dormant volcano so dominates the area that 19th-century naturalist John Muir described it as "the pole star of the landscape." Because it’s not connected to any nearby mountain, pilots use the 14,162-foot peak for navigation. For decades, Native American tribes, Buddhist monks, and mystics have visited the mountain for its crystal caves, frequent UFO sightings, and rumored underground military base. Mysteries abound at Mount Shasta, and Mount Shasta Hotel and Lodge on the edge of Shasta-Trinity National Forest puts you in a perfect position for unearthing some of them—or for heading out to the slopes at the nearby Mt. Shasta Ski Park.
Surrounded by 100-foot-tall evergreens and mountains, the 42-room hotel exudes the feel of a mountain log cabin, from its knotty pinewood paneling to the bearskin rug in the common room. The hotel’s on-site restaurant brims with a frontier spirit through walls filled with old black-and-white photos of the area as well as fishing, hunting, and farming paraphernalia. Settle at the booth underneath the mounted moose head and enjoy one of the pub’s eclectic dinner choices, from sushi rolls to Grandma's pot roast to mac 'n' cheese. The next day, you’ll find a daily continental breakfast served in the hotel’s historical stone house. Despite its rustic nature, the hotel doesn't lack comforts, including an indoor fire pit and deluxe rooms with flat-screen TVs and down duvets.
Mount Shasta, California: Mountain Town with Scenic Hiking and Climbing
Nestled at the foot of the northern California peak that shares its name, the town of Mount Shasta showed up on the map in the 19th century thanks to fur traders and gold-rush miners. Railroads and timber exports brought in more workers. Because it was the only non-dry town in the area, it became known as a lumberjack party spot. Today, Mount Shasta maintains that outdoor-recreation identity, hosting year-round activities that include backcountry skiing, river rafting, and mountain climbing. In the winter, nearby Mt. Shasta Ski Park opens up its 32 trails and terrain parks, with 14 trails staying open at night.
Many day trips are available through Mount Shasta Hotel and Lodge, which rents kayaks for hitting the high mountain lakes nearby and mounted binoculars for spotting the area’s bald eagles and peregrine falcons. Hotel guides can take visitors onto the nearby Upper Sacramento, McCloud, and Trinity Rivers to fish for catfish, smallmouth bass, german brown trout, and more.