Secluded and less visited than other parts of the park, Kanaka Peak can be a fun challenge as explorers can catch splendid views of Whiskeytown Lake, Shasta Bally, Mount Shasta, Clear Creek Canyon, and the Yolly Bolly Mountains. Perfect to go on a date to watch the sunset, Kanaka Peak is a rewarding 7-mile (roundtrip) hike with 1,100 feet of elevation gain.

Head to the Peltier Bridge Campground after entering Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and then go 1.1 miles along the road through the campground until you reach the trailhead for Kanaka Peak. The road from the campground is open from late spring to late fall, otherwise hikers will need to park at the campground and hike the extra 1.1 miles to the trailhead.

From the trailhead, you'll cross over Paige Boulder Creek and follow the trail until you reach a trail junction with Peltier Trail on the right. Stay straight and don't go onto Peltier Trail. Keep on the trail and 1.6 miles from the trailhead you will reach another trail junction, this time with Kanaka Cutoff Trail on the left. Ignore this one too and keep going straight.

1.9 miles later, you'll reach the summit after two steep sections of elevation gain. Be sure to enjoy the hike and take a moment to soak in the views as you hike up. At the top, there is a nice wooden bench to rest on as you look north. If you're quiet, you might even see black bear, blacktail mule deer, and various types of birds. According to the National Park Service, wildflowers are in abundance starting around April (and even in mid-March).

Watch out for poison oak if you wander off-trail to "chase a bear," especially in the winter months when they don't have their leaves. Look for reddish, skinny stick-like bushes that point upward (instead of outward), and avoid them.

Note: Visitors to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area will need either a Whiskeytown Pass or an Interagency Pass (e.g. America the Beautiful annual pass) to park anywhere in the park. They can be purchased for $10 (weekly pass) or $40 (annual pass) at the visitor information center upon turning into the park.

Pack List

  • Snack
  • Cellphone (service can usually be found at the summit)
  • Water bottle (creeks run dry starting in the spring, so be sure to carry enough water for a 7+ mile hike)
  • Camera
  • Map
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Ten Essentials
Show More
RT Distance 3.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 1100 Feet
Activities Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Forest
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Awesome

Hiked it in the middle of March on a rainy day. Absolutely gorgeous with the lush vegetation. Moss covered rocks and trees, ferns, streams, waterfalls...it has much to offer. Near the top it started to snow, and snowed most of the way down. Gigantic, soft, slow-falling snowflakes were everywhere. It was almost magical. The hike up was pretty grueling as it’s nearly all uphill. There are a few short flat parts scattered throughout tho, which come as a nice respite. Coming down is super easy. Also, you do have to cross these streams by rockhopping or wading through with waterproof boots or something else appropriate (barefoot?). Highly recommend. Nice bench at the peak but we didn’t sit because it was wet. A beautiful hiking partner is highly recommended.

over 2 years ago

Great Close Hike

Close to the city, which is convenient for a quick hike! But it's a good one! Uphill for the majority of it, with some amazing views! During the winter and spring, there's beautiful cascades near the top (watch out for poison oak if you venture to the cascades!). The peak is so nice with the bench and beautiful views.


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