Welcome to Great Shasta Rail Trail Association (GSRTA) general information page. We hope FAQ’s will help you plan a successful and fun experience on the trail. If your question is not answered, please feel free to contact us.
- Where may I access the Great Shasta Rail Trail (GSRT)?
From McCloud (at Broadway)
(1) At Pilgrim Creek Road – proceed 3 miles east on highway 89, turn left onto Pilgrim Creek Road (paved) and proceed 1 mile. There is space for off-road parking.
(2) At Esperanza Road – proceed 4.8 miles east on highway 89, turn left onto Esperanza Road (dirt road) and proceed 1 mile. There is off-road parking area available.
(3) At Military Pass Road – proceed 9.9 miles east on highway 89, turn left onto Forest Service road 43N19 (a narrow dirt road). (It’s just opposite the McCloud River loop road). Proceed .3 miles from Highway 89. Few parking opportunities – could be a drop off point for users.
(4) At Sheepheaven Road – proceed 13.7 miles east on highway 89, turn left onto Forest Service Road 40N11. It’s a dirt road just opposite CalTrans’ barn. There is limited parking.
(5) At Harris Spring Road (paved) – proceed 17 miles east on highway 89, turn left onto Harris Spring Road (toward Medicine Lake). Proceed .3 miles to trail on this paved road. There is a “wye” in the trail east of this point. North trail goes for 12.2 miles to Hambone. South trail goes for 4.4 miles to Bartle Gap road 39N05, crossing highway 89 in route. Turn left at the trailhead onto the Bartle Gap Road (FS 39N05), go 1.68 miles to Highway 89 and turn left to return to the Harris Spring Road. (Trail beyond the Bartle Gap Road is closed at this time, awaiting bridge repairs and repairs to flood damage from the February 2017 storm events.)
(6) At Forest Service Road 42N04 – proceed 4.3 miles on Harris Spring Road, turn right on highway 49, travel .6 miles and turn right on Forest Service Road 42N04 toward Bear Mountain Look Out (dirt road). It’s just .1 mile to trail.
Trail users may wish to make plans with friends to be dropped off and picked up at the various access points, depending on the length of trip desired.
From Burney to Lake Britton (“Stand By Me”) Bridge. 9.837 Miles
From Highway 299, near Burney’s east end, turn onto Black Ranch Road. Drive 2.4 miles to the trail entrance on right, just past Vedder Road. Trail section on left closed due to unsafe bridge.
The Burney trailhead is located near the intersection of Highway 299 and Black Ranch Road on the town’s east side. Access the trailhead parking lot is off Black Ranch Road, parking is in the large area between the fenced building and the two power poles along Black Ranch Road. Driving your motor vehicle on the trail is prohibited and unsafe because railroad spikes may be hidden just below the cinder surface.
Sections Not Open
Certain segments of the GSRT are not open because they have unsafe bridges or have suffered major damage from winter storms.
Lake Britton and Lake Overhead Bridges cannot be traversed. Lake Britton Bridge is 80 feet above water, then 462 feet across the lake, then 82 feet back up a cliff. Lake Overhead has barbed wire on fences, poison oak, etc. Do NOT attempt to cross these bridges on foot, bicycle, or horseback.
- What is the time frame for opening the remaining sections?
GSRTA hopes to open the entire trail within 10 years. Engineers have studied the trail infrastructure (bridges and culverts) and their report will guide the GSRTA Board of Directors in the development of a repair and restoration priority list and timeline. This, in turn, will help guide a fundraising campaign. Trail sections will be opened as repairs are completed. As sections open, they will be announced on our website (greatshastarailtrail.org), in newsletters, on Facebook, and in local and regional media. Please refer to the five-year Trail Concept Plan.Please note: Because of costs, GSRTA does not believe the Lake Britton Trestle and the Highway 89 Lake Overpass will be rehabilitated within the five-year window mentioned in our Trail Concept Plan.
- What type of trail will cyclists, hikers, and horses be on?
Generally there are two compressed tracks of red cinder; the sides and center of the trail tend to be loose cinder. On some trail sections the compression is solid, making for a relatively smooth, efficient ride, hike, etc. On other sections, the compression is not as tightly packed, so cyclists and hikers will find the going a little tougher, but manageable. Cyclists should note that mountain bikes with wide tires are best; road or bike of any kind with narrow tires are not recommended. All trail users should be extra observant for ruts, occasional holes dug by animals and debris left behind by the railroad. GSRTA endeavors to maintain the trail in the best possible condition for all allowed uses. We always appreciate knowing if there is a problem of any kind on the trail.
- What types of uses are permitted on the GSRT?
The guiding principle for permitted and unpermitted use is straightforward: GSRT is for non-motorized use only. Thus, cycling, walking, hiking, horseback riding, Nordic (cross country) skiing, and snowshoeing are all permitted. These uses allow for year-round adventure. Anything with a motor is not permitted. The exception to the prohibition to motorize use is the use of a battery-powered device that is designed solely for use by a mobility-impaired person for locomotion and is suitable for use in an indoor pedestrian area.
Please know, there are no equestrian services (e.g., water) available on the GSRT at this time.
- What is the status of the trailheads, services, and parking?
Several trailheads (referenced above) will soon have signs. Obviously, unopened trail sections will not have signs any time soon.Currently, there are no services on the GSRT. We do expect to provide an increasing level of services (e.g., water, restrooms, parking, etc.) as trailheads are established.
As the Boy Scout motto states, “be prepared.” The experienced trail user always has sufficient water, nutrition, supplies, etc. appropriate to their intended uses, effort and distance. During hot weather bring extra water.
Tell a friend or family member the location, distance, departure and return date of your trail adventure. Long trail sections are remote and unpatrolled.
Parking at the Burney trailhead is available in the large lot between the fenced building and the two power poles along Black Ranch Road. At Sierra access, no parking locations are established but main trail access is via two-tenths of a mile on the dirt road east of the paved road.
There is dedicated parking only at Burney trailhead. At other trailheads, please plan to park beside the road (not the trail) adjacent to your intended GSRT entry point. Lock your car and do not leave valuables.
- How do I support the development of the GSRT?
The board’s vision is for the trail to be one of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Top 10 trails. You can help us achieve that goal by becoming a financial donor to and / or volunteer with the GSRTA.All forms of support are welcome. A critical need is money to fix bridges (and consequently, opening up more trail miles). If you are interested, please go “Donate” on this website. Thank you.
- Beyond funding support, how can I help?
Beyond funding, we need physical support to maintain, open and clear unopened trail sections. This includes clearing culverts, brushing trails, and dealing with any number of problems that emerge (e.g., fallen trees, holes in the trail, etc.).
- What local services (hotels, restaurants, etc.) exist at the McCloud and Burney ends of the GSRT?
- How might I learn about the weather for my intended visit?