Through Trees and Lake
This trail is a gorgeous little gem in the Shasta Lake area that begins off the road about half a mile or so before reaching Packers Bay. The trails begins from the small parking lot in a lightly forested area, and continues on past Waters Gulch to offer lakeside hiking and vista views as the trail meanders away from the shore. The trail also offers an optional short, gentle incline near the trail head to reach a knoll providing nice views of the lake.
Be on the watch for a mountain lion that frequents the area. Keeps dogs on leash, and if you encounter the mountain lion do the following: make yourself appear as large as possible, make noise, and slowly create distance. Never run, just calmly back away and leave the area immediately.
Right at the beginning of the trail, there is an optional 0.4 mile overlook trail with a gentle incline to reach a short peak where there is a stone structure and views of the lake.
The Waters Gulch Trail begins in a shady forested area before meeting up with an inlet stream (Waters Gulch) that soon reaches Shasta Lake. The trail then passes a nice beach where you may carefully walk down to reach the water. Continuing on, the trail follows the lake side for a bit before breaking away to pass over a short ridge where great views of the lake can be had. The trail then crosses Packers Gulch where there is a split in the trail. Go to the left to cut immediately to Packers Bay parking lot, or take the right "Fish Loop Trail" to add a little over half a mile of extra distance along the lake side with views of Packers Bay.
You may then head back the way you came, or save distance and time by hiking North up Packers Bay Road to complete a loop back to the trail head.
Shasta - Trinity FS Reports The 2.8 mile trail descends through Waters Gulch to the shore of Shasta Lake, and then climbs back over a saddle to descend to Packers Bay. The paved road from the Packers Bay boat ramp back up to the Waters Gulch trailhead can be walked to complete the loop.
On its descent through Waters Gulch, the trail bisects a large population of Shasta snow-wreath, Neviusia cliftonii, a very rare shrub discovered and named in 1993 by California botanists. The trail is shaded by mixed conifer-hardwood forest for most of the way, with some stretches of chaparral. Many classic California spring wildflowers and flowering shrubs are plentiful, including California pipevine, California buckeye, western redbud, snowdrop bush, marbled wild ginger, firecracker flower, red larkspur, and scarlet fritillary. The best wildflower shows are between March and the end of May. Shasta snow-wreath blooms in the latter part of April.
Summer temperatures are regularly over 100 degrees in this part of California, so carry plenty of water, or visit during milder times of the year. The trail is rocky and uneven in places; wear sturdy footwear. Poison-oak is a common understory plant. Be familiar with its various guises—it can be a shrub or twining vine, brushing against your legs and arms or even dangling from overhead. As with any trail in the Shasta Lake area, you may encounter a rattlesnake or a black bear. Visit the Shasta-Trinity recreation web page for sensible precautions you can take to minimize poison-oak, bear, and rattlesnake concerns.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.