A Refreshing Challenge
This hike is a nice uphill trek with the trail starting at Kanaka Peak Trailhead. It is a nice dirt trail that has been upgraded in 2011 to make it much more friendly to hikers and bikers alike. Most of the hike is much of the same scenery, but the trail offers a panoramic view at the top that is spectacular with scenes of Lassen Peak, the city of Redding, the small towns of Igo and Ono, the Trinity Alps, Mount Shasta, and Whiskeytown Lake.
If you decide to hike from Peltier Bridge Campground, you will add an extra mile each way and an extra 500ft of elevation gain; the reason for leaving from Peltier Bridge Campground is that the road to the trail is only recommended for 4WD and high clearance vehicles. I hiked this extra bit, and found that the road is not bad actually and I could have driven all the way to the trailhead.
Much of the Kanaka Peak Loop Trail has been closed since 2008, when a bulldozer used part of the trail as the base of a fire line during that summer's swarm of fires in and near Whiskeytown.
The closure gave the old sections of trail three winters to grow vegetation while Whiskeytown plotted a new route up the peak. The summer of 2011, Whiskeytown and the Student Conservation Association--which provides summer trail building jobs for high school and college students--put $70,000 worth of work into the trail.
The six-mile loop trail was one of the steepest and most challenging in Whiskeytown, but recreation area and Student Conservation Association workers changed that. The revamped trail has slopes of 5 percent to 10 percent, in contrast to the 35 percent to 40 percent grades of the old trail.
The trail is mostly dirt, and also lends itself well to mountain bikers. There is a fair amount of shade throughout the hike, but I would not recommend this hike during the summer heat. The trail is easygoing with a constant slope up to the peak. There is a VERY nice shaded bench at the peak offering a view of Whiskeytown Lake.
There is a creek by the trailhead.
Camping is available at Peltier Bridge Campground, 1 mile from the trailhead.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.