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Shaffer Mountain
Mountain/Rock

Shaffer Mountain

 
Shaffer Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 40.44652°N / 120.35789°W

Object Title: Shaffer Mountain

County: Lassen

Activities: Hiking, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 6735 ft / 2053 m

 

Page By: cdog

Created/Edited: Jun 21, 2012 / Nov 26, 2012

Object ID: 796389

Hits: 1698 

Page Score: 79.04%  - 10 Votes 

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Shaffer Mountain at Dusk


Shaffer Mountain


Shaffer summit views

Overview

Shaffer Mountain (6735') is a major peak along the Honey Lake Valley rim. It is located on the western edge of the Great Basin Desert, and offers views of the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades. It ranks # 132 on the California list of prominence , with 2175 feet. It is located on the north end of massive Honey Lake (73 square miles when full). The mountain is composed of tertiary volcanic rock, as are most of the desert peaks in this region.
The prominence and location of Shaffer Mountain resulted in a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection lookout being placed atop its summit from 1931-1947. Nowadays, the peak has multiple wind measuring "met" towers (meteorological towers), and the location above US Highway 395 has led to multiple cell towers and communication facilities being placed on the summit, leased through the BLM.
While one can drive or hike to the summit, mountain biking is another popular method. According to publiclands.org:
Description: 16 miles of dirt road, a few rocky areas, and sagebrush. You will be presented with views of Honey Lake Valley to the southwest and, to the east, open range country seemingly unchanged for thousands of years. This trail is designated for the advanced biker. It will take about 4 - 5 hours, depending on ability level.

Getting There

A public road practically goes to the summit; a gate restricts access only 1/4 mile from the top. This road begins at US Hwy 395, approximately 20 miles north of the US-395/CA-36 intersection (~6 miles north of the town of Litchfield).
The aggregate access road is 8 miles long and gains approximately 2200' to the summit.
Hikers and bikers can choose their trip length, depending on how far they wish to drive vs. walk or ride.
 
historical map
historical map


Red Tape

Shaffer Mountain is located on BLM property, managed by the Eagle Lake Field Office. As with much of the Great Basin Desert area managed by BLM, there is little red tape to deal with. Several communication and meteorological tower locations on Shaffer are leased to private companies; these are obvious and some are fenced or signed.
Stop by the BLM office in Susanville for hard-copy maps, or check out the online, interactive BLM map HERE.

Camping

Camping is generally available anywhere on BLM property. Ths area has little water, so plan accordingly for a trip to the desert - especially when the weather is warm.

Conditions

Late spring, summer, and fall are the best times to visit the peak. Snow is common in late fall through early spring, which could make for a more adventurous outing. You're not likely to see many people anytime of year.
The road is generally well maintained, but there are some rocky spots along the way where bedrock and subgrade cobbles are exposed. There's not much shade or water, so make sure to bring sunscreen and beverages. A breeze is likely on the summit, which is a nice reward for the hike or ride to the top.

Here's a 5-photo summary of my ride to the top in August 2011:


 
Shaffer Mtn from the bottom
starting view from US-395
 
1/3 of the way
about 1/3 of the way
 
switchbacks
switchbacks
 
nearing the summit
nearing the summit


 
downhill time!
nice views on top

Summit Video









video link

External Links

my 2011 Shaffer trip report, Shaffer Mountain Bike Challenge, BLM online interactive map, CA geology map, caltopo interactive map

Images

Shaffer Mountaindownhill time!Shaffer summit viewsswitchbacks1/3 of the wayShaffer Mountainhistorical map
nearing the summitShaffer Mtn from the bottomShaffer at duskShaffer Mountain panoramaYou can drive as close to the summit towers as thisSummit TowersThe Rush Fire