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“Fall” for Siskiyou this Autumn!

The days are getting shorter, the air a little crisper, and it’s almost time to break out the sweaters and pumpkin spice.  And if autumn is your thing, the good news is you won’t have to travel all the way to New England to experience the best fall has to offer, from fall foliage and u-pick pumpkin patches to quaint downtowns.  Just come cozy it up in Siskiyou!  Here a just a few ideas to help you plan a fabulous fall weekend away from it all.

Head for the mountains

Cooler fall air can make a good hike more enjoyable– and Siskiyou trails are no exception.  A stroll around Lake Siskiyou, McCloud Falls or the McCloud Reservoir is a perennial go-to. But if you’re up for a more challenging hike, make your way to the Kelsey Creek Trailto Maple Falls. The four-mile journey to the waterfall is lined with golden hues from big leaf maples, and has become a local favorite.

Take an autumn bike ride

Enjoy the fall colors while cycling on flat, scenic country roads and mountain trails.  The 24-mile loop through the lightly-populated Scott Valley is set against the stunning backdrop of the Marble Mountains, with sleepy ranch towns and white-steeple churches. Or, if you want to work your heart as much as your eyes, head to Yreka’s Greenhorn Park for some intense mountain biking, where you can explore 2 to 12 miles worth of trails with a stunning show of color. There’s also the trail from Martin’s Dairy Campground that ascends through an aspen grove up to Ball Mountain, with views of Mt. Shasta, and the Shasta and Butte Valleys.  This un-maintained dirt road is also closed to 4WD traffic, so the only drama you should expect is the vista itself!

Watch the salmon run

From approximately mid-October through mid-December, the salmon of the Klamath River make their annual return to the hatchery at Iron Gate north of Yreka.  There visitors will delight in the naturally spawning fish, jumping to swim upstream and over the fish ladder. Nearby, you’ll also find the seven-mile-long Iron Gate Reservoir, offering boat rentals and boat launching facilities.

World-class birdwatching

Of all the wetlands in the American West, none provide more feeding, nesting and resting habitat than the wetlands that make up the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex, part of which is right here in Siskiyou.  Visit the refuge this October and November and get a front row seat to one of nature’s greatest show!  The visitor’s center is also worth a stop with tons of information on regional flora and fauna.

Go Stargazing

Pitch a tent just about anywhere in rural Siskiyou and you’re in for a great view of the night sky, but Shafter Campground has long been considered a great public spot for some “Night Sky Camping.” This fall, two major meteor showers are still on the horizon: The Orionids, which is best visible around 2 a.m. on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22. It can also be seen between Oct. 15 – 29. The Leonids will peak from midnight to dawn on Saturday, November 17th and Sunday, November 18th.

Discover “golden” Siskiyou on a scenic drive

California may not usually be considered a great fall color destination, but the mixed blessing of cold winters and the abundance of Oak, Maple, Aspen and Dogwood trees makes Siskiyou’s fall foliage unforgettable.  Highway 96 along the Klamath River is one of its best displays.  Another favorite is the Aspen Grove in Little Shasta Meadows Botanical Area, where the beautiful white-barked Aspens turn into an arena of shimmering gold, orange and yellow.  Take Yreka Ager road to Ager Road to York Road and follow it to what the locals call Willow Creek Mountain.  It’s paved the whole way to the Grove – just make sure to go before the first snowfall.

Pick your pumpkin (and more)

Nothing says fall like a visit to a u-pick pumpkin patch.  Not only does Siskiyou have three large family-friendly pumpkin patches to visit, it’s even home to the local’s favorite “Pumpkin Wagon” in Ft. Jones on Eastside Road – a large wagon selling pumpkins on the honor system! For more information, contact:

1) Hunter Orchards & Pumpkin Patch (Grenada) – wheelbarrows supplied for heavy harvesting and a hay maze for the kids. Open daily in October from 10-6pm. 14431 Old Westside Rd., Grenada, CA, 530-426-2532

2) Papa’s Pumpkin Patch (Weed) – pumpkin picking alongside pumpkin-themed standees for photos, a bean-bag toss and a small gift shop. Open daily in October from 10am until dark. 4916 Solus Dr., Weed, CA  (530) 925-5778

3) California Heritage Farms U-Pick Berry Patch, Pumpkin Patch & Pumpkin Wagon (Ft. Jones) – Pickers should bring their own harvest tools and gloves as both the Patch and the Wagon are entirely self-serve with an honor system of payment. The wagon and patch are located 3 miles apart from each other on Eastside Road.  A small farm-stand operates at the patch. Open daily in October from 8am-8pm.  7715 Eastside Rd. in Fort Jones, CA, 530-468-2328

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