Shasta Dam and Shasta Reservoir are key facilities in the Central Valley Project. The water stored in the reservoir represents about 41 percent of the stored water in the CVP. Shasta Reservoir is fed by the Sacramento, Pit, and McCloud rivers, with additional water coming from Squaw Creek. This drainage area receives an average of 62 inches of annual precipitation, which in pre-dam years was a major contributor to frequent floods in the valley below. With the construction of Shasta Dam, the river flows have been regulated and water stored. Water is used for irrigation, municipal and industrial needs, salinity control for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and to meet environmental needs. Water released to the river is sent through the Shasta Powerplant, which produces hydroelectric power for the 15-state western power grid. (Source: Bureau of Reclamation https://www.usbr.gov/projects/index.php?id=241)
Shasta Caverns is another site to tour while on Lake Shasta. Located in the foothills of Mt. Shasta, 900 feet above Shasta Lake, is the West’s newest National Natural Landmark! The 2-hour tour includes a boat ride across the McCloud Arm of Shasta Lake, a scenic bus tour and a guided tour of Mother Nature’s beauty! For more information visit www.lakeshastacaverns.com
Driving north by car, visits can be made to perpetually snow-capped Mount Shasta, which rises over 14,000 feet above sea level, and Castle Crags, a series of ragged granite peaks that rise abruptly above the surrounding evergreens. Driving southeast of Lake Shasta into Hat Creek country, you will come upon Burney Falls, a particularly picturesque waterfall. The adjacent park has a nice picnic area. A few miles from the falls at the intersection of Highway 89 and 44 lies an interesting relic of past volcanic action known as the Subway Caves. As the outside lava cooled, new lava forced a pathway through the old, creating a series of tunnels called lava tubes. The main tube is approximately 1,300 feet long and may be explored, but take a good flashlight and a warm jacket as it is very dark and the temperature is a perpetual 46 degrees.
To the west of the lake, a few miles drive on Highway 299 will take you to French Gulch, a quaint little town whose single main street clings to the side of a rugged mountain bordering French Gulch Creek. In the 19th century the town was a boisterous, bawdy mining camp and the tailings still piled in the creek give evidence of its thriving past.