Pacific Southwest Region Viewing Area
View of China Mountain. Photo by Carl Skinner.
Scott Mountain Crest from China Mountain to Cory Peak
Forest: Shasta-Trinity and Klamath National Forests
District: Mt. Shasta and Scott River/Salmon River Ranger Districts
Description: This spectacular high-elevation ridgeline at the easternmost edge of the Klamath Ranges features a string of three botanical/geologic Special Interest Areas and three peaks - Cory Peak, South China Mountain, and China Mountain - along the Scott Mountain crest, where the northeastern tip of Trinity County juts into western Siskiyou County. These three peaks range from 7,700-8,600 feet in elevation and are made of glaciated ultramafic rock and gabbro, Cambrian in age, the oldest rocks in the Klamath Ranges.
Viewing Information: Expect to see expanses of wild rock gardens, with several species of wild buckwheats, sedums, penstemons, phacelias, steer’s head (Dicentra uniflora), and slopes full of Anemone drummondii. You may also walk through meadows with gentians, asters, cobra lilies, and sneezeweeds. You can also see grand specimens of whitebark pine, foxtail pine, and mountain hemlock.
Many of the wildflowers in this area are geographically limited to the Klamath Ranges of northwest California and southwest Oregon, and some are very rare, such as Trinity buckwheat, Eriogonum alpinum.
Safety First: Wear sturdy shoes and layers of clothing for changeable conditions at this higher altitude. Carry sunscreen and plenty of water.
Take a good map. In a heavy snowpack year, the high roads may not open until late June or July. Check with the local Ranger Station for road conditions before setting out.
Directions: Cory Peak is best reached from the north via the Klamath National Forest’s Kangaroo Lake fen trail, which will take you to the Scott Mountain crest and the Pacific Crest Trail. Once you are at the crest, walk the ridgeline (there is no trail) about two miles to the north to reach Cory Peak. For more information, also visit the Kangaroo Lake Botanical Special Interest Area, The Fen Trail, Viewing Area.
The Pacific Crest Trail traverses the Shasta-Trinity side of the divide (south of the crest). Starting from the Parks Creek trailhead on County Road 17, Parks Creek Road, hike about 3 miles west to intersect High Camp Pass trail, which will take you up to the ridgeline on the south flank of South China Mountain. On your way you'll be going through the High Camp Creek basin above Cement Bluff Lake, which is also accessible via the High Camp Ceek Road 40N98.
To reach the Parks Creek trailhead from Mt. Shasta, drive north on Interstate 5 to the exit 751, Edgewood/Gazelle; turn left (west) and cross overpass; turn right at Old Hwy 99 S. Turn left in 0.4 mile onto Stewart Springs Road. Turn right onto Parks Creek Road (County Road 17) in 3.3 miles. Stay on this narrow paved road to the summit, where you will see the Parks Creek trailhead parking area on your left. The drive from Mt. Shasta to the trailhead is about 20 miles.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Mt. Shasta Ranger District (530) 926-4511; and, Klamath National Forest, Salmon River/Scott River Ranger District (530) 468-5351.
Closest Town: Mt. Shasta, California.