Great Shasta Rail Trail Association

The Great Shasta Rail Trail will link the towns of McCloud and Burney and nearby recreation areas along an 80 mile trail that will feature local heritage, scenic landscapes, and stimulate the economic and social vitality of the region. Forty miles of packed cinder trail are now open to the public for non-motorized recreation.

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Address: P O Box 221
McCloud, CA 96057
County: Siskiyou
Phone Number: 530-925-6362
Nestled in pristine mountains and open forests, near creeks and lakes and with majestic views of Mount Shasta is the Great Shasta Rail Trail (GSRT).Linking the mountain towns of McCloud and Burney, the red cinder trail carried McCloud Railway lumber trains for over a century. The public is invited to experience Mother Nature's sights and sounds as they traverse the trail through the Shasta-Trinity and Lassen National Forests.

Established in McCloud in 1896, the railroad expanded with timber harvests; trails arrived in Bartle in 1905 and Burney in 1955. The GSRT uses the long bed of lava cinders that supported railroad's rail and depends on the hundreds of culverts that were installed to preserve the rail line and protect local watersheds.

Opened in 2015, trail use is for non-motorized activities - biking, running, walking, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing and equestrian. Open sections include (on the McCloud end) Pilgrim Creek Road to Bartle, then north on the Hambone Line or south from Bartle to Bartle Gap. The Burney Trailhead (Hwy 299 at Black Ranch Road) has ample parking and is the starting point to a seven-mile hike or bike trip to the Lake Britton bridge (featured in the 1986 movie "Stand By Me").

Trail promotion encourages healthy lifestyles and stimulates local economies by attracting visitors.

The trail, whose development began in 2005, was established by a coalition of five local non-profit organizations. It was made possible when the McCloud Railway filed papers to close part of its operations (2005). Beginning in 2009 the coalition raised funds and did the work necessary to purchase the property (2015) and open 40 miles of trail to the public for non-motorized recreational use.

The work of developing the trail was handed from the informal coalition of non-profits to the Great Shasta Rail Trail Association (GSRTA), a non-profit formed to own and manage the trail (2013). That all-volunteer group continues to focus on trail development by raising funds, writing plans (trail concept, infrastructure development, and sign), developing local relationships/partnerships, and recruiting volunteers and leading their efforts. The organization's web site provides an excellent resource for more information about the trail - maps, directions for accessing the trail, railroad history, and the Trail Concept Plan are all available.

The National Park Service's Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Program will assist GSRTA and the Mt. Shasta Trail Association in developing a concept plan for a McCloud to Mt. Shasta extension of the GSRT should the railroad property become available for this purpose. A feasibility study for the trail extension is underway and should be available for public review in the spring.

Ultimately, our goal is a first-class 120-mile trail that connects the Burney/McArthur area to the McCloud/Mt. Shasta area, providing year-round recreation opportunities and promoting economic growth.

Thank you for your support of the GSRTA - together we make good things happen on the trail!

"Our involvement as donors to the GSRT project is our way of supporting an initiative that we see as a "multiplier" in terms of what it does for the broader community. The project is big enough that it will serve as a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts once it is completed - boosting tourism and the economic activity that comes with that, and also ties to historical legacy of our town given the use of the old railway. The GSRT ultimately provides just one more compelling reason for people to visit McCloud and Burney, but should also provide a foundation for future entrepreneurial projects that tie to the overall project."

Jeff & Cindy Pawlow
Owners - The Eagle's Rest Family Hideaway, McCloud

I'm a big supporter of the GSRT because friends and family enjoy peaceful and challenging bike rides on two topographically different trail sections. It's important that railroad history is brought to life with track remnants. Trail use is year-round and could be bicycled in winter at lower elevations close to Burney.

Bill Campbell
GSRTA Board Member, McArthur resident