The Peaks of the Northern California Challenge
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 – 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 – 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.
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.
For 2023, Magee Peak has been designated an optional alternate peaks. If you choose, you can replace any of the six peaks above with 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.