The Hirz Bay Trail is a short trail along Lake Shasta that's a great option for an accessible and easy afternoon hike. The trail begins and ends at day use areas near campgrounds: Hirz Bay
and Dekkas Rock. These day use
areas have parking, bathrooms, and other amenities, but close at
sunset, though you can stay overnight if you reserve and
pay for a campsite.
Despite the heavy human traffic at the campsites on either end, the Hirz Bay Trail is a wildlife haven. Lizards, chipmunks, and squirrels scurry underfoot as owls and eagles soar overhead. Grouse, turkey, and quail also inhabit the forests around the lake. At night, ringtails prowl and frogs make a chorus as bats dart about on the hunt for bugs. The copious critters will keep your dog's ears perked and on alert. Larger wildlife species including mountain lions and black bears also live in these forests, but are less likely to be spotted near the trail.
As you amble along the Hirz Bay Trail with your favorite pup, you'll enjoy lake
views and shady creek crossings over small wooden bridges. There are
lots of picnic areas where you can stop for lunch, as well as secluded
coves where water-loving pups can splash around. The ruddy iron-rich soil of the land rising out of the lake is one of many striking sights in this scenic place. Elsewhere, the trail passes limestone rock formations and winds through groves of oak, maple, dogwood, and grapevine-draped Douglas firs. Groves of tall Ponderosa pines guard the Hirz Bay Campground.
The boat launch at Hirz Bay Campground makes it a popular spot in the summer, especially during holiday weekends. If you and your pup like to kayak together, consider making a full day of hiking and paddling here and staying to camp afterward. What better way to end your day than by sharing some treats next to a campfire under the stars?