Sisson Callahan National Recreation Trail

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What you will find

This ten mile trail winds through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Northern California, climbing from the canyon of the North Fork of the Sacramento River up into the mountains of the Trinity Divide near Mt. Eddy. The Trinity Divide encompasses the high mountains beginning with China Mountain in the north all the way to Shasta Bally in the south and generally divides the Valley of the Trinity River in the west from the Sacramento River Canyon in the east. It is an area of rugged peaks, emerald green meadows, rushing streams and gorgeous alpine lakes. The Sisson-Callahan National Recreation Trail visits the heart of this country. The entire length of the trail is blessed with stunning views of Mt. Shasta, Mt. Eddy, Castle Crags, Trinity Alps and Mt. Lassen. The trail crosses Deadfall Summit above Deadfall lakes at the 8,020 foot elevation. Spring hikers will likely find snow at the summit well into early summer and yet be able to enjoy the heady fragrance of azaleas in bloom down along the North Fork of the Sacramento River. From Deadfall Summit it is a moderate hike to the top of Mt. Eddy for an awe inspiring view of the surrounding country. An amazing variety of conifer species occur throughout the area, and wildflowers carpet the meadows and hillsides. Water is plentiful and campsites are found at frequent intervals along the trail. Fishing is popular along the North Fork of the Sacramento River, which the trail follows closely, and at Deadfall Lakes near the western end of the trail.

Background

This trail is one of 47 National Recreation Trails in the National Forests of California. The National Recreation Trails system was established by Congress in 1968 to promote public enjoyment and appreciation for the outdoor areas of the nation. The Sisson-Callahan trail was designated a National Recreation Trail in December in 1979.

Brief history of the trail

Cattlemen, prospectors and trappers who came into the Upper Trinity Area from Scott Valley first established the trail in the mid-1800s. An official trail was constructed around 1911 by the Forest Service shortly after the creation of the Shasta National Forest. The trail linked the Callahan Ranger Station in the Scott Valley with the Forest Headquarters which was in Sisson (Mt. Shasta) at the time. The trail provided a much shorter route for Forest Officers traveling between the two stations than the wagon road from Sisson to Gazelle and then up Willow Creek to Callahan. A telephone line was also maintained along the trail between the two stations. The trail also served as the access route to a Forest Service lookout on Mt. Eddy. The lookout was abandoned in 1932, but still remains on the summit of the mountain… weather beaten and in ruins. Original Forest Service trail blazes may still be seen along the trail.

Routes to the trailheads

Directions to Deadfall Meadows Trailhead: From Mt. Shasta City, head north on I-5 past the town of Weed to the Edgewood exit. Turn left and cross under the freeway to the stop sign. Turn right at the stop sign onto Old Highway 99 toward Gazelle. In 0.3 mile, turn left on Stewart Springs Road and drive 5 miles. Just before the Stewart Springs Resort, turn right on Road 17 and cross over Parks Creek. Stay on this narrow paved road for approximately 10 more miles to the summit of the divide. On the left (east) side of the road is the Parks Creek Trailhead. You may start here and hike 3 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail to Deadfall Lakes and the junction with the Sisson-Callahan, or you may continue south on Road 17 and descend 400 feet in 1.2 miles to an obvious hairpin turn and parking area at the north edge of Lower Deadfall Meadow. Start here and follow the trail through the meadows and up the creek about 2 miles to Deadfall Lakes.

North Shore Road Trailhead:

From Mt. Shasta City, head west on Lake Street over the freeway to the stop sign at Old Stage Road. Turn left (south) and drive ¼ mile to the fork in the road. Stay to the right at the fork and continue on this road, W.A. Barr Road. In a half mile you will come to another stop sign. Continue straight and turn right at the next road, North Shore Road. Stay on this road as it navigates around the north side of Lake Siskiyou, avoiding the spur roads that lead left to parking areas. Continue past the lake for another mile to a prominent fork. Stay to the left and cross the concrete bridge spanning Deer Creek. Continue to the next major fork in the road and again stay left. In about ¼ mile the road dead ends at the washed out North Fork ford. Park off the roadway and cross the river on foot. Do not attempt this if the water is high and hazardous. On the other side bear right (upstream) on an old jeep road alongside the river. In about half a mile the road narrows to a single track trail.

Trail route

Beginning at 3,500 feet near Lake Siskiyou, the trail climbs to the 8,020 foot Deadfall Summit then drops to 7,200 feet to tie in with the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail can be traversed by foot or horseback. Walking from Parks Creek Summit to Lake Siskiyou is a good all day trip for the average hiker. This route is all downhill from Deadfall Summit.

Safety and trail manners

  • There is no potable drinking water along the trail. Carry a water filter or water from home.
  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions, especially in the spring and early summer when afternoon thunderstorms can come up suddenly and unexpectedly.
  • Trees, wild flowers, wild animals, historic and natural features are yours to see and enjoy. Help protect these resources so that others can enjoy them also.
  • If you plan on building a fire, please obtain a free campfire permit from the Forest Service Office in Mt. Shasta or the California Department of Forestry Office in Weed. Seasonal restrictions may apply.
  • Please pack out what you pack in. If you can spare the time and have room, why not pick up items that careless visitors before you neglected to carry out? Be a good steward of the land and leave no trace.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 10 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 411812N
  • Compass Longitude: 1222703W
  • Numeric Latitude: 41.3032053
  • Numeric Longitude: -122.4508496
  • Elevation in Meters: 1840
  • Elevation in Feet: 6037

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References and More Info

  • Trail Location
  • Trail Measurement
    10 Miles
  • Compass Latitude
    411812N
  • Compass Longitude
    1222703W
  • Numeric Latitude
    41.3032053
  • Numeric Longitude
    -122.4508496
  • Elevation in Feet
    6037
  • Elevation in Meters
    1840
  • Trail Images
    • Trail Maps
    • Trail GPS Files
      • Trail Weather
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