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.

Strawberry Peak

Snow on Strawberry Peak

Great hike with my friend Debbie. There was snow on the trial and all around the peak. We had to use poles and spikes to

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Picacho Peak

knee cracker

Amazing hike, certainly one of the best in AZ. Challenging and beautiful. I would recommend going on a weekend if possible.    

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Sitton Peak
Rodney Andres

1 Down – Sitton

First peak done!  We set out to do Santiago Peak but Trabuco creek current was too strong and we decided it was too sketchy to

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Camelback Mountain
Joyce Nergard

Stunning Cholla Trail

Beautiful morning hike. Overcast and a bit windy at the top. Started early to avoid the crowds. Some climbing to get to the top. Wear

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Camelback Mountain
Joyce Nergard

Challenging Cholla Trail

Beautiful overcast morning hike. Trail was in great condition. Started early to beat the crowd. A bit of climbing toward the top. Wear shoes with

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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