Join the Challenge

The NEW Northern California Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge™ is a self-paced hiking and trail running challenge up six iconic NorCal mountains. 

You choose whether you want to complete them in six days, six weeks, or take the entire year. Set the schedule that works best for you.

You can climb them in order as you build your strength and endurance, or mix it up. The choice is yours. Your registration will help support Big City Mountaineers, so you'll be doing good for others with each peak you climb

Overview Map of the Northern California Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge

The Peaks of the Northern California Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge

Horse Camp to Helen Lake

HELEN LAKE – Elevation 10,443′ (3,183 m)

Part of the popular Avalanche Gulch route up Mount Shasta, Helen Lake is usually frozen year-round and often used as a base camp for mountaineers planning a summit attempt (not part of the challenge due to the technical nature of the climb). You will may encounter snowfields depending on the snowfall and month you hike, and you'll get a chance to stop at the historic Horse Camp shelter. 

Six-Pack Route Details: Bunny Flat to Helen Lake
Distance: 6.5 miles; Vertical +/- 3,464 ft.

BLACK BUTTE – Elevation 6,358′ (1,938 m)

This hike climbs steeply up volcanic Black Butte just west of Mount Shasta in Siskiyou County. It’s a day hike that will give you a good workout, and it features stunning views of Mount Shasta, Mount Eddy, Castle Crags, and the Trinity Divide Mountains.

Six-Pack Route Details: Hike Black Butte
Distance: 5.6 miles; Vertical +/- 1,850 ft.

Mount Eddy

MOUNT EDDY – Elevation 9,026′ (2,751 m)

This hike has a little of everything: meadows, wildflowers, forest, lakes and then a big view of Mount Shasta when you reach the crest. 

Suggested Six-Pack route: Mount Eddy via Deadfall Lakes Trail 
Distance: 8.6 miles; Vertical +/- 2,591 ft.

Castle Dome

CASTLE DOME – Elevation 4,800′ (1,463 m)

This climbs to the gap just west of Castle Dome in the Castle Crags State Park. Note that this does NOT include climbing the dome, which is highly technical and can be deadly. 

Six-Pack Route Details: Castle Crag and Indian Springs
Distance: 5.4 miles; Vertical +/- 2,200 feet

BROKEOFF MOUNTAIN – Elevation 9,233′ (2,814 m)

Brokeoff Mountain in Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of John's favorite hikes in the Lassen area. Great views. Less crowded. 

Six-Pack Route Details: Brokeoff Mountain
Distance: 6.9 miles; Vertical +/- 2,562 ft.

LASSEN PEAK – Elevation 10,457′ (3,187 m)

Tackle the highest peak in Lassen Volcanic National Park and stand atop an active volcano.

Six-Pack Route Details: Lassen Peak
Distance: 5.1 miles; Vertical +/- 1,968 ft.

Alternate Peak

Magee Peak

MAGEE PEAK – Elevation 8,550′ (2,606 m)

The vistas from this high-altitude vantage point stretch in every direction. Forests flow west toward the Sacramento River, with the far ridges of the Coast Range and the Shasta-Trinity National Forest beyond.

Six-Pack Route Details: Magee Peak
Distance: 7.0 miles; Vertical +/- 3,200 ft.

Meet the Curator

The peaks in the Northern California  Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge have been curated by hiking guidebook author John Soares. John has lived in beautiful upper Northern California for most of his life, beginning with his birth in Redding.

He’s the author of 100 Classic Hikes: Northern California, and Day Hiking: Mount Shasta, Lassen & Trinity Alps Regions, which cover the hikes in this challenge. He’s also written Hike the Parks: Redwood National & State Parks, all published by Mountaineers Books (Seattle).

John’s homebase is near Mount Shasta, from which he explores nearby trails and natural areas. He’s also an avid dispersed camper, which led him to write Camp for Free: Dispersed Camping & Boondocking on America’s Public Lands.

John Soares

Latest Northern California Challenge Hike Logs

Note: Currently displaying hike logs from all of the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenges. Northern California hike logs will begin to be displayed on January 1, 2023.

Turtlehead Peak
Sergio Reynoso

Counting Crows on Turtlehead

Great morning for Turtlehead. Overcast skies with rain clouds looming, and no wind! The trail was well marked and easy follow going up. Ended up

Read More »
Andrew Van Horn

#398 Summit's Flatiron

Tough hike and a little windy.  Overall weather was perfect for a tough hike.  FYI- it is easy to get off trail on this one! 

Read More »

Buddy Hike Only!

Do not underestimate this hike! I solo hike 95% of the time, I have a good deal of experience and I got really really lost.

Read More »

The 2022 NorCal Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge overview can be found here. Beginning in 2023, that challenge will be known as the San Francisco Bay Area Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge