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Natural attractions

ShastaE28093Trinity National Forest

ShastaE28093Trinity National Forest

The Shasta–Trinity forests lie at the intersection of the Eastern Klamath Mountains and the Southern Cascades (Miles & Goudy, 1997). The land is largely forested, though at low elevations there are areas of chaparral, woodland, and grassland. At high elevations in the Trinity Alps, Eddys, and Mt. Shasta, forest gives way once again to montane chaparral, subalpine woodlands, and ultimately to alpine rock and scree.

Starting with lower elevations in the foothills around Shasta Lake, north of Redding, the forests and woodlands are dominated by gray pine, knobcone pine, ponderosa pine, blue oak, black oak, canyon live oak and Douglas-fir. Shrub diversity is very high. Common understory shrubs at lower elevations are whiteleaf manzanita, wedgeleaf ceanothus, California buckeye, California coffeeberry and western redbud.

In moist stream canyons, other trees and shrubs prevail—bigleaf maple, western spicebush (Calycanthus Occidentalis), dogwood, white alder, and willows.

At mid-elevations sugar pine, incense-cedar, white fir and Jeffrey pine join Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, and canyon live oak, while the other pines and oaks drop out of the mix. Huckleberry oak, shrub tanoak, greenleaf and pinemat manzanitas, and bush chinquapin, are important understory components. In the Cascades east and north of Mt. Shasta, bitterbrush and tobacco brush are very common. On the serpentines of Trinity County's mid-elevation Klamath Mountains, incense-cedar and Jeffrey pine woodlands are inhabited by shrubby Congdon's silktassel, leather oak, and hoary manzanita. Farther west, on the long ridge of South Fork Mountain that divides the Shasta–Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests, the tree form of tanoak grows mixed with Douglas-fir and golden chinquapin.

Upper montane and subalpine forests are made up of red fir, mountain hemlock, western white pine, lodgepole pine; and at the highest elevations, foxtail and whitebark pines. Montane meadows and streamsides in the Klamath Ranges are marked by an abundance of California pitcherplant, western azalea, and occasional Port-Orford-cedar, which is disjunct here from its coastal populations.

Much more detail on the vegetation zones of Mount Shasta, and their associated flora and fauna, can be found in C. Hart Merriam's important early biological survey, published in 1899.

Common name Scientific name
white fir Abies concolor
red fir Abies magnifica
bigleaf maple Acer macrophyllum
California buckeye Aesculus californica
white alder Alnus rhombifolia
hoary manzanita Arctostaphylos canescens
pinemat manzanita Arctostaphylos nevadensis
greenleaf manzanita Arctostaphylos patula
whiteleaf manzanita Arctostaphylos viscida
incense-cedar Calocedrus decurrens
western spicebush Calycanthus occidentalis
wedgeleaf ceanothus Ceanothus cuneatus
tobacco brush Ceanothus velutinus
western redbud Cercis occidentalis
Port-Orford-cedar Chamaecyparis lawsoniana
golden chinquapin Chrysolepis chrysophylla
bush chinquapin Chrysolepis sempervirens
dogwood Cornus (several species)
California pitcherplant Darlingtonia californica
Congdon's silk-tassel Garrya congdonii
tree tanoak Lithocarpus densiflorus var. densiflorus
shrub tanoak Lithocarpus densiflorus var. echinoides
Whitebark pine Pinus albicaulis
knobcone pine Pinus attenuate
foxtail pine Pinus balfouriana
lodgepole pine Pinus contorta
Jeffrey pine Pinus jeffreyi
sugar pine Pinus lambertiana
western white pine Pinus monticola
ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa
gray pine Pinus sabiniana
Douglas-fir Pseudotsuga menziesii
Bitterbrush Purshia tridentate
canyon live oak Quercus chrysolepis
blue oak Quercus douglasii
leather oak Quercus durata
huckleberry oak Quercus vaccinifolia
California coffeeberry Rhamnus californica
western azalea Rhododendron occidentale
willow Salix (several species)
mountain hemlock Tsuga mertensiana