The McCloud River is one of Northern California’s most scenic and famous waterways. It begins its journey in the vast, wooded flat lands spreading out beneath the southern foot of Mount Shasta. Although the river’s headwaters are springs at the eastern end of the McCloud Flats, water flowing off of Mount Shasta in the form of Ash Creek and Mud Creek contribute significantly to the river’s volume. More importantly, the river is swollen by subterranean waters coming from the heart of the great volcano. The McCloud has been shaped by volcanism in more tangible ways besides its volume as well. The canyons carved by the river expose the fiery past the region has experienced. One stretch of the McCloud River in particular offers especially dramatic testimony Mount Shasta’s activity. A few miles above the Lake McCloud reservoir, the river passes through a deep canyon that contains cooled lava flows, columnar basalt and cliffs composed of tufa. Through all of this, the McCloud has carved an extremely scenic channel.