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Elevate Your Ride

Mountain Biking With Shasta Gravity Adventures…

Brimming with small-town vibes, alpine rides and spectacular side adventures, Mount Shasta is becoming a mountain biker’s dream destination. “First of all, it’s easy to get here. Second, we have epic views, swimming holes, good food and a variety of outdoor experiences. And, it’s still kind of undiscovered,” explains Christian Birch, an avid mountain biker and the owner of Shasta Gravity Adventures, a relatively new shuttle and guide service that also puts a strong emphasis on youth programs. “Mountain biking is one of the fastest-growing youth sports in America and it’s important to develop a passion for a lifelong sport. So, our founding principle is to develop a strong mountain bike community in Mount Shasta that supports visitor access to what we have here, which in turn supports the community. And, if the kids want to ride, then the parents have to get out there and ride with them, right?”

Mountain Biking
is one of the fastest growing youth sports in America and it’s important to develop a passion for a lifelong sport. So, our founding principle is to develop a strong mountain bike community in Mount Shasta that supports visitor access to what we have here, which in turn supports the community.

Photos by Trevor Lyden and Jasmine Abel, courtesy of Shasta Gravity Adventures

Having grown up in Siskiyou County, Birch has long been drawn to all kinds of recreation in Mount Shasta. But it wasn’t until he started adventuring with his own sons that he came up with the idea of starting a business. “We have three boys and we just made countless family trips going to different mountain bike towns all over the West Coast. Ultimately, it just inspired us to find a place where we could really put down roots and develop a community-based mountain bike program.”

For the last few years, he’s been doing just that, working with Kidder Creek Camp in Scott Valley to develop some of their trails before establishing himself firmly in Mount Shasta where one of his sons now helps him with some of the tours. “The cool thing about Shasta is there’s such a variety of trails for all levels.”

Photos by Trevor Lyden and Jasmine Abel, courtesy of Shasta Gravity Adventures

Birch focuses his guided tours on three main offerings. “We have three shuttle opportunities with a guided tour. The beginner level is the McCloud River trail. The next level would be the Gateway Trails, which I would say is our most popular tour. And then the most advanced would be the Sisson-Callahan Trail. And, before we go up, we meet and offer a short skills session in Shastice Park to build confidence.”

Recreation
is where this community’s headed in terms of economics.
So, big picture is hopefully we’ll be running shuttles every day.

Each route offers a vastly different kind of environment and experience. “McCloud River Trails is really for families who just want to enjoy you know two or three hours on the river. It’s a single track, but it’s pretty flat and you’re riding along the river with swimming holes along the way, The Gateway Trail is an old growth forest right under a 14,000-foot volcano and it’s great for kids. They love it because it’s about a 45-minute downhill ride. And I think that’s really important for kids. You want to build that confidence and make sure they’re having fun.” Birch adds with a smile, “Downhill is obviously a lot more fun than uphill.” The most challenging guided tour takes riders to the Sisson-Callahan Trail. Birch describes it as “an advanced 18-mile ride through one of the most spectacular areas in our region from the Deadfall Lakes Basin all the way down to Lake Siskiyou.”

Photos by Trevor Lyden and Jasmine Abel, courtesy of Shasta Gravity Adventures

So far, most of Shasta Gravity’s youth offerings have been in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club of Mount Shasta. The instruction consists of skill workshops followed by rides, but soon Birch will be expanding the opportunities. “We started with the Boys and Girls Club two years ago, and now we’re developing our own youth program that we’ll offer from pre-K to 12th grade. Our goal is 100 kids this spring. It’s a big goal, but we’re super excited.” Birch is also looking to extend his typical April to November season into a year-round operation. Next year we’re working on offering, snowshoe and fat bike tours in the winter.”

There are even opportunities for people who don’t have a bike. “We work really closely with The Fifth Season in Mount Shasta. They have bike rentals, and the cool thing is we can pick up the bikes beforehand. So, for instance, if you don’t have a bike rack, we can pick up the bikes, meet you at Shastice Park and take the bikes back when you’re done so you don’t even have to deal with the bikes,” he says.

Photos by Trevor Lyden and Jasmine Abel, courtesy of Shasta Gravity Adventures

Birch is also working alongside the Mount Shasta Trail Association and the Siskiyou Outdoor Recreation Alliance to maintain existing trails and develop new ones. He is excited for what the future holds. “Recreation is where this community’s headed in terms of economics. So, big picture is hopefully we’ll be running shuttles every day.”

www.shastagravityadventures.com • (530) 340-2908

About Megan Peterson

Megan is a Chico native who lives in Etna. For nearly two decades she’s written, produced and pitched content for a variety of television networks, including the Travel Channel, National Geographic and Discovery. She works at Discover Siskiyou and considers Siskiyou her muse.

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