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The Crowning Glory of Chamise Peak

Hiking to Chamise Peak is beautiful. But stepping onto the top of Chamise Peak, is like taking a step into Heaven. The picturesque view of Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake, and the majestic Mt. Shasta is absolutely gorgeous.

But first, you must get there.

Flanagan Trail takes you to Upper Sac Ditch Trail and Chamise Peak. Early morning is best this time of year. And in the early morning you’ll hear a rooster from below welcoming in the new day. Your hike through twisted manzanita brush, oak trees, and tall pines, is 2.5 miles, with a varying 6-12% grade A brisk walk can get you to the top of the 1,628 foot peak in an hour. It takes longer to let the scenic nature soak into your soul.

When you’ve hiked 1.3 miles, you’ll come to a bench where the trail splits to Upper Sac Ditch Trail. The trail to Chamise Peak gets slightly steeper in places from there and circles the peak until reaching the top. You’ll see views overlooking the valley to the east. To the west of Chamise Peak are scenic views of the Sacramento River, and the Sacramento River Rail Trail on the opposite side of the river. Peering between bushes, you’ll notice a curve in the river. There, the rail-trail disappears into the curved mountainside and passes through the historic train tunnel.

On my first trip, I hoped for a large rock or tree stump to sit on at the top. I cherished the thought of it being out of the sun. And there on top, in all it’s glory, were two towering ponderosa pines with a picnic table humbly resting in their shade. So peaceful – welcoming. I smiled and felt like I’d taken that step into Heaven. The views – oh my God – the peaceful views were beyond words.

On a clear day, there’s an incredible view of the 3 Shastas. You can also see the 3 Shastas viewpoint on Shasta Dam Blvd. There’s the magnificent Mt. Lassen to the east, and an even greater view of the Sacramento River flowing south through green hillsides.

I met a Redding heart surgeon and his wife on top the peak. They brought friendship and a drone to get some amazing pictures. Bodie and I followed the flight of the drone, as it captured, I’m sure, some spectacular views.

Time always comes to descend from the serenity of peace on the peak. Funny though, my dog Bodie never wants to leave. He just stands there looking at me as I begin my way down. I’ll stop to look at him, and wonder – does he feel the crowning glory of Chamise Peak?