We decided to make a trip up to the Redding area and explore some east yet scenic trails in the area.   I got the trail info from the Backcountry Adventures book and we ran the Burney Mt., Murken Bench, Hat Creek Rim, and West Prospect Peak trails.   There are a TON of trails in the area, with smaller spur trails going off in all directions.   It is a great area with incredible scenery that we will be returning to some day to do further exploration.

For all pics from the trip click HERE.

Downloadable GPS trail info HERE.

The first day in the area we did some sight seeing and went on a tour of Shasta Caverns.   The tour starts out with a boat trip across the lake.

Once across the lake you take a bus up the hill and then go into the caverns.   Let me say one thing... STEPS!   And lots of them!   If you are not able to go up and down hundreds of steps this is not for you!

The inside of the caverns are wonderful!

More formations inside the cavern...

On Saturday we headed out for our trail runs.   The first trail we went on was West Prospect Peak Trail.    It is about a 20 mile round trip over easy forest service roads.   

At the lower elevations, is was a nice day, but on the way up it got cold, windy and was snowing on us.

I took this shot out the window of the Forest Service lookout tower.

We were up at a high enough elevation (about 8000 feet) that the clouds were completely covering us and everything else and visibility was very poor.   Then, within seconds it would open up and you could see forever!   These pictures were hastily shot during a few of those times.
You can see the snow on the tower and also on trees in the above pictures.   It was really quite awesome to see.
On this trail we cross over Lost Creek.
The next trail we ran was Hat Creek Rim Trail with a side loop that is the Murken Bench Trail.   One of the interesting things to see near the beginning of this trail is Subway Cave.   This is an old lava tube that you can explore, but don't forget your flashlight, its really dark in there!
I took a few pictures in the tube, but this is about the best one that I could enhance.   Even with a good flashlight, the darkness seems to just eat up your light and even bright lights seem dull.   The tube is quite long with a few areas to explore.
Further along Hat Creek Rim Trail is this Communications tower.   When you pull up, it does not look like much, then you walk up to it....
There is a great view from the edge of the hill.   This is one of the areas that hang gliders use as a launching spot.
My wife found a snake and by the time I got to the area it was gone, but a few minutes later I spotted another one trying to go down a hole.   I held onto its tail but it didnt want to come back out and play and I didnt want to hurt it so I let it go.
Coming down the hill, we pass a large area of lava rock, possibly a old lava tube that had caved in.   Here Kevin comes down the road in the background.

The next trail we ran was the Burney Mt. Trail.   This trail was the longest of the day at about 30 miles.

Burney Mt. is a classic shaped cinder cone volcano.   I imagine that it would have looked much like a Holywood volcano with lava pouring down all sides as it erupted thousands of years ago.

From a distance, you can see that a good portion of the mountain is covered in fields of lava rock.   The road to the top was cut into and through these fields.

In the picture above and in this one, we stopped in the middle of one of the areas cut through one of these lava fields.   Looking up and down the mountain is quite impressive, as you can get a feel for how much lava was flowing from these and how it must have been when it was active.   It makes you feel rather small.

The lava rocks are small in some areas and quite large in others.   Although it is hard to tell in this picture, it is also quite steep.   It would be interesting to have a "hill climb" contest here!

Again we found cold, wind and snow at the top of the mountain and I had to quickly shoot pictures as the clouds opened up.
Without the clouds the view is wonderfull.

Our trucks at the top.   

We noted that at the top of both mountains at the Forest Service lookouts that the rangers all drove Toyotas.

Looking down at a forest of trees below, you can see lines running through the trees.
Here you could see the road winding its way up the mountain.   The road to the top was not bad, but it was rough and had some large rocks laying about.
At the end of the day we stopped to let the kids run around before the drive back to town.   Kevin splashes in a mud pit.

You can download the GPS coordinates and upload them to your GPS using a free program called Easy GPS.   Once you have Easy GPS you can use these files so you dont have to type in all the numbers like I did!   These waypoints are from the Backcountry Adventures book and were OK for the most part.   They are enough for you find your way along the trails, but make sure you keep an eye on things!

West Prospect Peak Trail

Hat Creek Rim Trail

Murken Bench Trail

Burney Mt. Trail

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