Awesome hike to escape the Redding heat and visit Heart Lake again! There was still snow at the higher elevation, but it was soft enough for me to make it up to the peak overlooking Heart and Castle Lakes, with views of Castle Crags and into the Trinities. The snow was melting fast and there were many streams of water flowing from the snow.
This was a fun hike to Heart Lake with someone I met recently who shares my enjoyment of the outdoors around Redding. Mt. Shasta was completely hidden behind a layer of clouds, so much so that I drove right past the exit on the highway because I usually have the impressive Mt. Shasta as a reference point. After a small detour to get back on course and reach the trailhead, we began the hike which I am quite familiar with by now. Unfortunately the grand view of Mt. Shasta was clouded, but the Heart Lake hike still does not disappoint. We had sweeping views of the surrounding area and of Castle Lake below. We noticed a small settlement on the west side of the lake and later found out that there is some private land there. Overall, this was a good hike.
There is still plenty of snow above Castle Lake which made the hike to Heart Lake more interesting. I continued on to reach the top of the ridge overlooking Heart Lake and Castle Lake, but had to turn around right before I reached the top. The last 30 yards was too steep and slippery for me to attempt on my own. I returned the way I came and enjoyed the amazing views. On the way down I had fun running down the the snowy hill knowing that if I fell it wouldn't really hurt. In some areas there was a flowing creek beneath the snow I was hiking on. This hike never disappoints!
Heart Lake has always been an incredible destination, but this visit was truly magical. I could not believe my eyes at the already astounding views being complimented by an unbelievable rainbow that was present on both the hike up and back down. While photos of course hardly capture the full beauty of most places, the photos from this trip are nothing short of amazing. So you can get an idea of just how crazy it was to actually be out there experiencing this--I was ecstatic.
Awesome hike up to Heart Lake. This time I continued on up the ridge to a peak that overlooks both Heart Lake and Castle Lake. The views were fantastic in every direction, and I could see Castle Crags from the peak and along the ridge. Unfortunately visibility was a bit lower than usual because of smoke from wildfires, but it wasn't too bad. Mt. Shasta looked like it was floating in the sky because I could only see the top part of it.
Hiked this trail again since visiting last November when there was snow and Heart Lake was frozen over. Summer has been plenty hot to melt everything this time. Still a great and accessible hike for fantastic views of Castle Lake and Mt. Shasta.
This hike started at Castle Lake and followed a rocky trail up to Heart Lake. I came across a very icy and steep patch of snow near the beginning of the hike that was a bit worrying since I didn't plan on slippery ice. I ended up turning around, but then decided to go for it when I saw another group headed up the same trail. That icy spot was the only more difficult part, and the most of the rest of the trail was mostly melted snow which turned into a small stream. The trail gets difficult to follow, but any of the possible paths can be taken up to the lake. The lake was partially frozen and offered gorgeous views of Castle Lake with Mt. Shasta in the background. The photos speak for themselves!
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.