Home»Sports & Outdoor»GO HERE: South of the Border: Hike Nearby Northern California Trails This Summer

GO HERE: South of the Border: Hike Nearby Northern California Trails This Summer

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Credit: Courtesy of John Soares

The mountains just south of the California border feature rocky peaks towering over clear glacial lakes, along with broad vistas of ridges and valleys. Now’s the time to hike the trails, absorb the beauty, and take a leisurely swim in those cool, clear lakes.

I’ve been hiking these trails for decades, and am the author of two new hiking guidebooks: Day Hiking: Mount Shasta, Lassen & Trinity Alps Regions and the all-color 100 Classic Hikes: Northern California, fourth edition. I’ll discuss the best nearby California hikes during my visual presentation at the Medford REI on Wednesday, July 11.

Here are two of my all-time favorite hikes:


Backpacking Duck Lakes in the Russian Wilderness: A five-mile climb and 2300 feet of elevation change takes you through mixed forest to granite-rimmed Big Duck and Little Duck Lakes. Both have campsites, excellent views of ridge and peak, and clear waters for swimming. Very few people hike here, especially to Little Duck Lake.

Driving Directions: From I-5 in Yreka, drive Highway 3 for 31 miles to French Creek Road. Head west 6.9 miles to turn right onto Forest Road 40N22, and then go right again after another 0.7 mile to continue the last 1.2 miles to the trailhead on the left. All roads are paved or good dirt.

Day-Hike Castle Lake to Heart Lake near Mount Shasta; Castle Lake is a summer favorite for Mount Shasta locals once the sun warms to pleasant swimming temperatures. But you also need to climb the 1.1-mile trail to Heart Lake for a more intimate swim – and the iconic view of Mount Shasta. Feeling ambitious? Take the short-but-steep cross-country climb to the ridge above for a full view of the granite spires and domes of Castle Crags.

Driving Directions: Take I-5 Exit 738 (Central Mount Shasta). Go west 0.2 mile and then turn left on South Old Stage Road. Go straight onto W.A. Barr Road at 0.5 mile and then turn left at 2.7 miles on paved Castle Lake Road for the final 7.1 miles to Castle Lake.


Presentation and Book Signing

6:30 to 8 pm, Wednesday, July 11

Medford REI, 85 Rossanley Drive, Medford


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