Brought to you by Discover Siskiyou
It’s that time of year again! Time to shed those snow pants and boots and get ready for a season under the sun in Norther California. The season between winter and summer tends to be our favorite, with the winter snow melting into the outdoor ecosystem and inspiring wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls to come alive!
The seasons are a little fickle in Siskiyou County depending on how much rain and snow fell during the winter. Before you head out on a spring adventure, be sure to check with local conditions, especially wit the U.S. Forest Service, before heading out into the wild. Road closures or intense water flows may impact your journey.
If you’re ready to head up to Siskiyou this spring, here are the best ways you can adventure in the region:
The outdoor destinations to see in Siskiyou County are seemingly endless, and the hikes of the area can offer easy or challenging journey’s to those destinations. You can visit a waterfall, summit a peak or leisurely explore a historic area, all within an easy drive from Interstate 5. While you’re on your hike, just be sure you’re treating the outdoor trails like a local.
The popular hikes that come to mind are places like McCloud Falls and Heart Lake. You can see unbelievably beautiful waterfalls with just a 3.5-mile jaunt at McCloud Falls, and if it’s warm enough on a spring day, you swim below them as well. Heart Lake is a little more difficult, with a 2.4 mile climb to find one of the best views NorCal has to offer.
Of course, there are many more hikes in the area, including the trip to Pluto’s Cave, the Lake Siskiyou Loop, Faery Falls and Sission Meadows. Trust us, you’re going to love them all.
Siskiyou County is one of the most popular biking destinations in the world. From relaxed rides with stellar views, to rugged mountain biking adventures, there’s a bike ride for everyone in the area. Filled with Mount Shasta views, small-town vibes, great local bike shops and high-alpine rides, the wide-open space in Siskiyou County can give any bike rider the outdoor experience they’re looking for.
Here are a few of our favorite biking routes in the area:
Lake Siskiyou Loop
Nestled at the foot of the Trinity Divide and enjoying outstanding views of Mount Shasta, Lake Siskiyou is one of the prettiest reservoirs in Northern California. The lake is one of the premier features of Mount Shasta City, a community that boasts cornucopia of outdoor attractions.
McCloud to Mt. Shasta Loop
This route starts and ends in McCloud. The suggested direction is to ride out 89 (watch for fast traffic) to Mt Shasta Blvd and then up Old McCloud (FS 31). That way you get to enjoy the fast and smooth downhill on 89 into Mt Shasta and then climb up the bumpy and in places, deteriorating Old McCloud/Forest Service 31. This ride is mostly good road with just a 2.4 miles of Old McCloud being rough road and gravel in a few places where it has fallen apart.
Mt. Shasta Mountain Bike Park
Experience the Mt Shasta Mountain Bike Park, with trails designed to be enjoyed at all riding levels. Enjoy a unique and one of kind riding experience with 15 trails, a new Skills Park and a variety of new features, there will be live music and fun events going on all summer.
As the snow melts and the flush vegetation begins to emerge in the great outdoors, Siskiyou County will become a wonderland of wildflower viewing for any outdoor adventurer. The the time of the bloom varies each year due to winter snowfall and warming temperatures, but you can bet there are going to be some beautiful wildflowers throughout the region during spring.
For our money, the wildflowers are most beautiful on the hills of Mount Shasta where the snow has melted. When the snow disappears for the summer, the South Gate Meadow Trail comes to life with flowers. If you’re willing to hike, you can also find wildflowers in the Lava Beds National Monument and the Marble Mountain Wilderness.
Calling Siskiyou County the Land of Waterfalls is fitting, since there seems to be one around every corner surrounding the mighty Mount Shasta. The active volcano certainly adds to this insane amount of falling water, providing year-round snowmelt and bursting springs all over to create 18 stunning waterfalls in the area. Some are big and some are small, some are remote and some are popular destinations, some are little known and some are world-renown. Whatever fits your waterfall fancy, there’s something for everyone in California’s Far North.
Popular waterfalls like Hedge Creek Falls, McCloud Falls and Faery Falls are always a great choice, but there’s also a lot of smaller, more remote waterfalls that are lovely to visit.
When it comes to fishing, there aren’t many areas in the world like Northern California. The crystal clear waters flowing down from Mount Shasta give big fish the perfect home to thrive in NorCal. From small rivers to big lakes, there is something for anglers of every discipline in Siskiyou County.
If you’re into fly fishing, the upper Sacramento River or McCloud River are likely your best bet. The Sacramento is easily accessed along Interstate 5 and is well known for its beautiful wild trout. You can also find some easy fishing spots right through downtown Dunsmuir. The McCloud is, well, famous for its fish. The rainbow trout of the McCloud have often been called the “Rainbow of the World,” being exported all around the world. These fish can be caught all along the river, including the stretch of the three tiers of McCloud Falls.
For lure fishing, places like Kangaroo Lake and Lake Siskiyou are probably the most popular. A program to raise and release trophy trout into Siskiyou has been very successful in recent years. Kangaroo Lake, about 15 minutes from Weed, is full of brook, brown and rainbow trout with 18 campsites to stay for the night.
Siskiyou County is something of a bird Mecca. One reason so many different types of birds come to Siskiyou is the diversity of the landscape. Siskiyou offers rugged, remote mountain settings, abundant water, thick forests, high chaparral and numerous wetlands.
Although you may be able to find a plethora of birds all around Siskiyou County, there are some distinct places that bring with them many kinds of feathered creatures. The most famous is probably the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, which has about 3,100 acres of wetland habitat, making it a great spot for finding waterfowl in the winter. You can also find plenty of rare birds at Tule Lake, which can be terrific to visit if you like viewing bald eagles.
Small Town Vibes
Siskiyou has some of the most unique small towns in California. With the backdrop of some of Northern California’s most beautiful outdoor destinations, the small towns of Siskiyou offer a lot of charm, as well as some fascinating history.
In terms of places to stay, there are six awesomely unique small towns that are great for a weekend trip. Mt. Shasta is usually the most popular, sitting under under the active volcano and known as the basecamp for adventure in the region. It’s also popular for its unique aura and crystal shops lining the downtown streets. River towns like McCloud and Dunsmuir are great for fisherman and have a historic charm to boot.
North of Mount Shasta are the under-the-radar towns fo Yreka and Etna, which are certainly worth a visit for any history buffs out there. Etna is located approximately 30 minutes west of Yreka and is a popular stop for Pacific Crest Trail hikers traveling through the area. The Scott Valley area is great for hiking, biking and camping in the Marble Mountains, and Etna makes for the perfect basecamp for your adventure in the mountains. The small town of Yreka, California, sitting just to the north of the mighty Mount Shasta, has a prominent history in the early settlings of Northern California. As a crucial stopping point along the Siskiyou Trail, gold was found nearby and 2,000 gold miners quickly settled into the area in 1851.
Have fun on your spring adventure in Siskiyou County!