The Shasta National Forest, of Shasta-Trinity National Forests, is located in northern California near Redding and is comprised
of 1,160,005 acres. There are 21 developed campgrounds of which 11 meet the selection criteria.
It is unfortunate that many people don't seem to realize there is more to Shasta National Forest than Shasta Lake. There are
challenging hikes on Mount Shasta and leisurely hikes along McCloud River. There are mountain bike and off-roading trails to
discover and very photogenic areas to tease and challenge any photographer. The list of recreational opportunities is long and
varied and not necessarily at Shasta Lake.
Shasta Lake is the third component of the Shasta-Trinity-Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (NRA). Like the other two
components (Trinity and Whiskeytown) of the NRA, Shasta Lake attracts folks from all over to enjoy its many water-related
activities. On any summer's day, magnificent houseboats and "patio" boats moor in quiet coves and jet skies and powerboats
skip across the lake passing multi-purpose fishing boats with their trolling motors running. Along the shore, people work on
their tans, read their books, and build castles.
The Shasta National Forest has many developed campgrounds around Shasta Lake so people can enjoy the lake's many recreational
opportunities. While the amenities at these campgrounds are fairly standard (a campsite with table, fire-ring or grill, good
drinking water, and a bathroom), their personalities do vary. There is tranquil McCloud Bridge located at the far end of
McCloud River Arm of Shasta Lake. Here, campsites are along the water's end, in an area where water-skiing is not permitted.
Nearby Ellery Creek campground also has campsites at the water's edge but is better suited for tent and slide-in campers. Also,
water-skiing is permitted along the McCloud River Arm that parallels Ellery Creek so it can be noisy. Hirz Bay campground
is the closest of the McCloud River Arm's campgrounds to Shasta Lake but is furthest from the water. Perched high above the Lake
in a stand of pine and Manzanita, Hirz Bay campground is probably the most RV (recreational vehicle) friendly.
Antlers campground, located in the resort community of Lakehead, is also on Shasta Lake. It features flush toilets as well as a
huge boat ramp on one side, the Antlers Resort and Marina on the other side, and an active train track on the third side. It is a
large campground, open all year, and very active at times. For a "quieter" camping experience, there is the nearby, and much
smaller, Lakeshore East campground. With pine and oak trees providing ample shade, many of this campground's sites are near
enough to Shasta Lake to offer a view and locations for mooring a boat.
Sims Flat is an often overlooked campground located next to Sacramento River between Redding, CA and Shasta Lake. Once a
trading post, then a Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp, and now a pleasant little Forest Service campground, Sims Flat,
convenient to Interstate 5, offers a quiet place to relax.
Another pleasant campground often overlooked is McBride Springs. Perched on Mount Shasta, McBride Springs campground offers a more
"rustic" (vault toilet and handpump) camping experience. It is a base camp for exploring the wonders of Mount Shasta's hiking
trails and still close enough to the town of Shasta to enjoy some creature comforts like dinner out.
Next to Shasta Lake, three waterfalls along the McCloud River may be the best known feature of Shasta National Forest. These
beautiful waterfalls are each worth a visit. The easiest to access is the Lower Falls which is almost inside Fowlers Camp
campground. A comfortable, paved walking path makes accessing the Falls a breeze for all. The Middle and Upper Falls can be
reached by car and a short hike from the McCloud River Loop Drive or by using the McCloud River Trail. Be warned - Fowlers Camp
has been written up in several widely distributed magazines. If Fowlers Camp is full, Cattle Camp campground, located at the
other end of the McCloud River Loop Drive, is an excellent alternative. Recently renovated, Cattle Camp may not have the
same character as Fowlers, but it does have a delightful RV-friendly personality.
Shasta National Forest has also developed an area just for Off-Highway-Vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts. It is located below Shasta
Dam and is gaining in popularity each weekend. Note: primary access to this area is across Shasta Dam and requires a Security
Pass issued in advance by the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. This area is supported by the Shasta National
Forest's Shasta campground with its large campsites and OHV-friendly features.
Shasta Lake will probably always be the center-piece of Shasta National Forest but for those who want more then just water-play,
there are recreational opportunities. Just look beyond the shores of the bright blue Shasta Lake.
3644 Avtech Parkway
Redding, California 96002
RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES
2019 Forest Rd.
McCloud, California 96057
204 West Alma
Mt. Shasta, California 96067
14225 Holiday Road
Redding, California 96003