The trail has several points of entry, some formal and marked like the Mount Shasta Resort and the Lake Siskiyou campground, or at the Box Canyon Dam trailhead. Others are just foot-worn paths through the woods from surrounding roads. While the trail is well-marked and makes a defined loop, many side trails veer off to provide varied hiking experiences.
The Box Canyon Dam trailhead off of WA Barr Road on the lake's southeast side is a good place to start this trek with its ample parking. Heading counter-clockwise along the lake shore toward the northeast, you'll get through the busiest and most developed portion of the trail first, through the Lake Siskiyou and Mount Shasta Resorts, with their heavy vehicular traffic. Some hikers choose to skip this busy section and start the trail elsewhere, but it's important not to miss the transition through a gully and over Cross Creek leading to a narrow spit of land extending out into the lake, providing furtastic views. From here, you cross the dramatic new Wagon Creek Bridge with vistas to the north and south that are incomparable.
Grassy meadows await you on the west side of the lake, with several picnic areas pawrfect for enjoying the view while you munch on a snack or lunch. Side trails to lake beaches and rope swings tempt you, and you may spy deer, chipmunks and squirrels foraging in the forest beside you, with raptors, jays and other birds above. The trail features abundant wildflowers such as California Wild Rose and Sweet Pea, and if you travel it in midsummer, you're treated to wild blackberries.
Open year-round, the trail is packed dirt with a pine needle and leaf covering, and snowy in winter. Whether you choose to hike the entire trail or do a section at a time, you and your pooch will want to return again and again!
The trail crosses several creeks, as well as the Sacramento inlet arm of Lake Siskiyou. Footbridges can be found at some of the trickier crossings, but they're removed from November to May or June. Some creeks require rock-hopping, so wear good hiking shoes or boots or be prepared to remove your footwear. In the spring when the Sacramento River is rushing, don't attempt to cross it at all.