Rustic Lodge at Foot of Snowcapped Mount Shasta
Many know about famous enigmas such as the Bermuda Triangle and Stonehenge, but arguably one of the world's most mysterious places is California's Mount Shasta. The dormant volcano so dominates the area that 19th-century naturalist John Muir described it as "the pole star of the landscape." Since 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 flocked there for its crystal caves, frequent UFO sightings, and rumored underground military base. Mysteries abound at Mount Shasta, and the lodgings at The Woodsman Hotel and Lodge on the edge of Shasta National Forest put you in a perfect position for unearthing some of them.
Surrounded by 100-foot-tall evergreens and mountains, the 42-room hotel exudes a log-cabin atmosphere from its knotty-pine wood paneling to the bearskin rug in the common room. A daily continental breakfast is served in the hotel ground’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, Boating, and Climbing
Nestled at the foot of the northern California peak that shares its name, the town of Mount Shasta landed on the map in the 19th century thanks to fur traders and gold-rush miners. Railroads and timber exports brought in more workers, and as 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 such as backcountry skiing, river rafting, and mountain climbing. Many day trips are available through The Woodsman Hotel, 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.
The Woodsman Hotel guides can also take you on hikes through some of Mount Shasta's sacred sites. Led by a certified hypnotherapist, the vision-quest tours—sometimes limited to one or two people—focus on the mountain's spiritual energy with meditations, selected poetry readings, and stories about local myths and history.