The Clear Creek route is Mt. Shasta’s easiest route to the top. That being said, “Casual day syndrome” can lead one off course and into steeper, glaciated, and/or rock fall prone terrain. The climb starts at the Clear Creek trail head beneath towering old growth Red Fir. The hike gains elevation along the ridge above the cavernous Mud Creek Canyon. Some fault the route for its loose ash, scree and gravel surface during the summer and fall. We consider it reason to take your time, and to enjoy the scenery and geology. As you climb, you'll enjoy views of the Konwakiton Glacier and Mud Creek Canyon, Wintun Glacier and a huge expanse of California. Ample camping options and spring water are available at 8,600 feet. Please camp at least 200 feet from the spring head and creek and do not step on the fragile plant ecosystem. The beautiful foliage only has a short season to do its thing! The lower 75% of the route is a moderate hike. The last portion of the route turns into easy climbing. A rock bulge blocks the ride top and encourages the climber to traverse up and to the right, skirting along the top of the southern corner of the Wintun snowfield. This route offers fantastic views of Mt. Lassen, Konwonkiton Glacier, Mud Creek Canyon, and the Wintun Glacier. It’s a long climb, so start early. It may not test your technical skills, but it will test your stamina. Those of strong mind and body can do the Clear Creek route in a day, but most should plan a delightful two, or even three day trip.
This trailhead is CLOSED for the season. You may still access the Mt Shasta Wilderness, however your summit pass and wilderness permit must be obtained from either the Mt Shasta or McCloud Ranger station. Early season snow storms can bring ample amounts of new snow to low elevations. Travel on roads at your own risk. Always check the weather before you attempt to climb Mt Shasta. The road to the Clear Creek trailhead is a rough one. A few smaller passenger cars have been getting stuck in the "moon dust"... extremely loose, powdery dirt. A 4wd is recommended. Drive at your own risk. Summit passes, wilderness permits, and pack-out bags are available.
The Clear Creek route is almost entirely free of snow. People always ask, should I bring crampons, ice axe and a helmet still? Our answer... Yes. We have no way of judging your skill, nor do we know that you'll stay on the route. Small sections of snow may be encountered this time of year up higher on the mountain and/or if you become off route.
This route usually melts out fairly quickly. It is a long, loose scree climb at this point. Bring a map and compass/GPS and know where you are going. If off route, one will encounter Mud Creek Canyon, glaciers and much more dangerous conditions. We like to stress that even though the CC route is listed as the easiest route on the mountain, do not take it lightly and be prepared. A fatality occured on July 4th this year on this route due to a slip and fall into rock. Don't get "casual day" syndrome! The traverse above the Wintun Glacier to the Summit Plateau is the "crux" of the climb, (if you rule out simply the long, loose nature of the climb itself)! Rockfall has been encountered here. An ice axe, crampons and helmet are recommend for this route even though you may not need them. Advice that these items are not needed has gotten folks into trouble in the past. IF you stay on route however and are comfortable with the possibility of some low to moderate angle travel on potentially firm snow, you may not need ice axe/crampons. User beware.
Snow slopes on Mt Shasta now terminate into rock. Consequences are drastically increased with a slip and fall on such a slope. Be careful and pay attention.
Since summer is in full swing thunder cells often build up in the afternoons many days. Do NOT climb into a white-out/thunder cell. Many climbers have become lost on the upper mountain and descended the wrong side of the mountain during low visibility conditions.
The springs are a great spot to get water. Tread lightly in this area please! The fragile plants only have a few month to grow and your big boot can easily kill them! If you choose to camp elsewhere, you'll be melting snow for water.
Please, DO NOT camp near the springs and STAY OFF the fragile vegetation when it melts out. Rangers take this very seriously and you will be issued a citation if camping to close. Camp at least 100 feet away from any water source. PROTECT the fragile mountain ecosystem by treading lightly! YES, your single, big 'ole' boot footprint, or lack thereof, can make a difference. Multiply one foot step by thousands and understand that the place you love and enjoy can be destroyed if we don't pay attention to our actions.
Note the dates on some of the photos.