Gowhere you will within a radius of from fifty to a hundred miles, there stands the colossal cone of Shasta clad in perpetual snow, the one grand landmark that never sets.

While Mount Whitney, situated near the southern extremity of the Sierra, notwithstanding it lifts its granite summit some four or five hundred feet higher than Shasta is yet almost entirely snowless

during the summer months, and is so feebly individualized, the traveller often searches for it in vain amid the thickets of rival peaks by which it is surrounded.
~John Muir September 1877


At 9 A.M.the dry thermometer stood at 34 degrees in shade, and rose steadily until 1 P.M., when it stood at 50 degrees, although no doubt strongly influenced by sun heat radiated from the adjacent cliffs. A vigorous bumble-bee zigzagged around our heads, filling the air with a summery hay-field drone, as if wholly unconscious of the fact that the nearest honey flower was a mile beneath him.
      Clouds the mean while were growing down in Shasta Valley -- massive swelling cumuli, colored gray and purple and close pearly white. These, constantly extending around southward on both sides of Mount Shasta, at length united with the older field lying toward Lassen's Peak, thus circling the mountain in one continuous cloud zone. Rhett and Klamath lakes were eclipsed in clouds scarcely less bright than their own silvery disks. The black lava beds made famous by the Modoc war; many a snow-laden peak far north in Oregon; the Scott and Trinity mountains; the blue Coast Range; Shasta Valley, dotted with volcanoes; the dark coniferous forests filling the valleys of the Upper Sacramento -- were all in turn obscured, leaving our own lofty cone solitary in the sunshine, and contained between two skies -- a sky of spotless blue above, a sky of clouds beneath. The creative sun shone gloriously upon the white expanse, and rare cloud-lands, hill and dale, mountain and valley,rose responsive to his rays, and steadily developed to higher beauty and individuality.   ~John Muir 1887

The following is a list of all the coniferous trees John Muir was able to find growing upon Mount Shasta, named downward in order of occurrence:

  • Pinus flexilis Dwarf pine
  • Pinus monticola Mountain pine
  • Pinus contorta Tamarack pine
  • Picea amabilis Silver-fir
  • Picea grandis Grand fir
  • Pinus ponderosa Yellow pine
  • Pinus ponderosa Jeffery pine
  • Pinus lambertiana Sugar-pine
  • Abies douglassii Douglass spruce
  • Libocedrus decurrens Incense
  • Pinus tuberculata Knobcone
  • Juniperus occidentalis Cedar