There is so much to do and see in Siskiyou, it might be hard to figure out where to start your adventure. But no matter what the season, here’s a round-up of different types of Siskiyou itineraries you can build with some ideas to get you started planning your perfect Siskiyou vacation. (You can also see why Siskiyou was featured this year on TravelMag.com!)
Hike, swim, fish, golf, climb or bike – you name it, Siskiyou’s got you covered. South county, defined as much of the area surrounding the base of Mt. Shasta is known for its dense forests and abundant waterfalls, as well as the recreational gem of Lake Siskiyou. East county, where the Lava Beds National Monument sits, is a volcanic wonderland known for its caves, historic monuments, agriculture and incredible birding, with one of America’s largest concentrations of bald eagles outside of Alaska. North county, with its commanding views of Mt. Shasta, is mostly flat with some of the region’s finest cycling, as well as easy access to great hiking even in the off-season. (For some ideas on early and off-season hikes, visit here.) And to the west is Bigfoot Country, dominated by the whitewater experiences of the Klamath, Scott and Salmon Rivers and one of the largest roadless expanses in the United States, with ample opportunity to fish, paddle, hike, kayak, trail ride and hunt. Visitors with all ranges of ages and abilities will also find multiple ways to engage in nature, from practically drive-up waterfalls to summiting the top of Mt. Shasta. Plus, all of its charming towns have easy access to the outdoors so you don’t even have to rough it. (For some great summit hike ideas, visit here. For a list of waterfalls of all abilities, visit here. For some places to fish or swim, get some ideas here and here.)
Create a History-Rich Itinerary
Siskiyou County was created on March 22, 1852, and named for the Siskiyou mountain range between California and Oregon. Its history runs deep, and historic hotspots abound. So, whether you are a paleophile (lover of old things!), a history buff, or just an armchair historian with a penchant for travel, then you’re in for a treat during a visit to Siskiyou. Some highlights could include Historic Miner Street in Yreka and the railfan history in Dunsmuir and Montague. You also won’t want to miss historic McCloud, or the delightful Siskiyou County Museum and its Discovery Village in Yreka. If you want to create some memories reliving Gold Rush History, check in with the new 49ers in Happy Camp for one of their gold panning events. (For a list of must-see historic hotspots including information on the museum passport, visit here. If you enjoy historic cemeteries, be sure to check out some of Siskiyou’s most famous – and interesting – tombstones here.)
Enjoy a Wellness Retreat
Unplug to recharge in Siskiyou, where pristine forests and magical mountain vistas soothe the soul and awaken the spirit. Find luxurious relaxation at the Mount Shasta Resort’s Sacred Mountain Spa, where dinner, lodging and spa treatment can all be part of your choice of services. Couples might also seek out the side by side soaking tubs at the Mountain Healing Spa in Etna, followed up with a date night dinner and distillery tour at local hotspot Denny Bar Company down the street.
Bring the Kids
Besides being outdoors, there is so much for kids and families to do on a visit to Siskiyou. For a perfect vacation that’s family-first, check out the Splash Zone at Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort during the summer. You can combine it with a visit to the nearby Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum with hands-on exhibits and a place to feed the fish at the oldest Trout Hatchery west of the Mississippi. Or, head to east Siskiyou, where the Lava Beds National Monument provides ample spelunking opportunities for an active family. There’s also the Railroad Park Resort, where kids can eat on a train and sleep on a caboose! (For an in-depth itinerary with some insider info, check the one Kate Loweth of Red Tricycle did here!) Come make memories that will last a lifetime. (For an additional list of family-friendly ideas, visit here.)
Get Your Art On
Art makes for a perfect reason to vacation in Siskiyou, from the Second Saturday events in Dunsmuir to art walks in Mt. Shasta to a new show every five weeks at Yreka’s Liberty Arts Gallery. There are several opportunities to make art. Known as SAM, the Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir is not only an incredible place to see and buy art, but it offers several workshops for you to hone your own skills. You can also pull a stool up to the Bella Art Works Creative Cafe in Yreka – a fun mash-up of a retro soda fountain and paint-your-own-pottery studio that also offers a variety of creative classes and events. There is also Shoppe Serendipity in Yreka and Marble Rim Gallery in Ft. Jones where you can shop local artisans. For the theater lovers, check out the frequent happenings at the theater at College of the Siskiyous.
Try Something Totally New!
Ever wanted to experience life on the frontier? For the perfect Siskiyou vacation, try a multi-day retreat at the Marble Mountain Guest Ranch. This dude ranch and fly fishing lodge in Bigfoot Country has activities for all generations. There you can go white water rafting, take a trail ride or try your hand at sporting clays and frontier sports. If you have just an afternoon, why not try the free immersive GPS-enabled audio tour of the Modoc history in the Lava Beds National Monument? It’s even narrated by one of the Modoc warriors’ descendants. Visit here for download directions.
Need more ideas for building your perfect Siskiyou itinerary? Visit here for ideas on where else to go and where to stay.