Shasta is a steeply shored lake, over 400' deep at the Pitt River bridge (Hiway 5) overcrossing. 360 miles of shorline when full. So if the lake level is down, some of the embankments can be challenging as far as tying up. (or getting doggy off for comfort stops.) Water level should be high unless they're releasing a lot for snow melt reasons.
The lake is made up of three flooded river canyons, the Pitt, the McCloud and the Sacramento. I'd rec cruising the McCloud arm, from 15 years of summer vacations camping on the lake; it has the most Ponderosa pine/oak tree coverage (less manazanita) and fewer rattlers. Lots of nice coves (you need wind protection in the afternoon--it's not blasty, but wakes coming across the lake can rock 'n roll ya if you are in an exposed spot. Pitt River arm can have lots of floating snags after stormy winters.
The dock at Lakeview (not Lakehead) is a good spot to gas up and get ice and drinks. The caverns are almost directly across the McCloud from there. Extended grocery shopping for groceries best done at Project City or Anderson, a few miles south of the lake
Weather is balmy, daytime temps usually 85 to100+, night-times in the 60's. SUNSCREEN, hats a must. Not a lot of rain (thunderstorms early in the summer, usually clear. Mornings on the water are still (8 to 11 is the best time for waterskiing--the surface is sometimes like glass). Can be a little choppy afternoons, but not bad. Fishing is best done early too, or mid evening.
"Resorts" (small grocery/gas/rustic cabins) are few and far between so plan your meals ahead.
It is quiet on the lake, the only sounds are the wildlife and far-off boat engines (it's a big lake) so be prepared to chill out. Reading material (Mad magazine was out choice for sheer variety of reading material). Or get that novel started. But Quietude is sacred there, please be aware that others might hear your noise across the water, MILES away.
Poison oak, ticks skeeters and rattlers are in the hills, so use sense and precautions.
It's along drive up 5 to Shasta, but it beats the old trip up 99 when it was just one lane each direction. Bill & Kathy's is a classic... [ more ]