On my never-ending search for lower elevation hikes to keep me occupied in the wintertime, I started a different approach for finding new hikes. Basically, I just type “trail” or “trailhead” into Google Maps and keep zooming in on different areas to see what trails pop up. It’s not foolproof, but it led me to Gateway Trail just north of the city of Mt. Shasta.
I’d driven by this trailhead in the past on my way to Black Butte trail, but I never really thought anything of it. After researching a bit, I found that it actually has quite a bit of mileage of trails, more of which are in the works. It seems like the whole trail system was designed for mountain bikers, but it’s a multi-use trail, so everyone seemed to be very considerate. I should mention — this is a pretty popular trail, especially with locals, so expect the trailhead parking to be full (or close to it) on a sunny day.
I should also mention that I somehow went down this little paved path for about a .85 mile loop that came back to the parking lot before I realized that the Gateway Trail starts on the far west end of the parking lot, not near the sign (oddly). Maybe there was something I missed.
The trail had some pretty open views of the mountains in the area for the first mile or so, but after that, it dove into the forest and didn’t really come back out. I went as far as Marley Junction, then I turned around.
As I usually say, I’ll have to come back and explore this one some more some other day.
If you’re interested in the stats and map for this hike, here you go: