As Siskiyou endures the current coronavirus pandemic with unprecedented levels of social distancing and self-quarantines, Discover Siskiyou is compiling some kid-friendly outdoor spaces where travelers and locals alike can get outside and maintain distance as well as get some exercise and fresh air.


(Click here for guidelines from the California Department of Public Health).

Lake Siskiyou Trail and the Wagon Creek Bridge

Lake Siskiyou is one of the prettiest reservoirs in northern California – with even more spectacular views that parents can appreciate too. The relatively level 7-mile lakefront loop offers a surprising amount of variety, with six different access points depending on how ambitious you are and whether you plan to do a part of the trail instead of the whole thing. The north and southeast shores are the most natural and undeveloped portions of the trail, and consequently the most popular for a meandering walk. The north shore section also offers access to the ever-popular Wagon Creek Bridge and the Sacramento River inlet. You can also do this trail on your bikes!

Hedge Creek Falls

Waterfalls are fun, but standing behind one is even better, especially when you’re following the footsteps of local stagecoach robber Black Bart (a.ka. Charles E. Boles) who supposedly used the legendary Hedge Creek Falls as his hideout.  From I-5 take exit 732 follow signs for the falls and look for an immediate dirt parking lot directly off the freeway across from a picnic area and historic water fountain. There you’ll find the trailhead for the half-mile trail that goes behind the waterfall to an expansive view of the Sacramento River.

Shasta Valley Wildlife Refuge

Relatively little-known, the Shasta Valley Wildlife Refuge near Montague and Yreka is mostly only appreciated by anglers and birders, there is a great path along the shore of Trout Lake that has commanding scenic views of Mount Shasta and little Shasta Valley. Other recommended destinations within the refuge are Bass Lake, Steamboat Mountain and the Little Shasta River. It can also be combined with a trip to the nearby Living Memorial Sculpture Garden or a 2.2 mile out and back hike up the nearby Haystack Trail for an amazing off-season adventure.

Living Memorial Sculpture Garden

The Living Memorial Sculpture Garden is an exceptional 136-acre art installation and war memorial along Highway 97 on the Goosenest Ranger District of the Klamath National Forest. It is a place of incredible beauty and austerity that demands reflection, all under the shadow of Mt. Shasta’s majesty. The site includes the Hot LZ Memorial Wall, a labyrinth, and ten sculptures by veteran and artist Dennis Smith. Kids will have fun interacting with the giant sculptures and running along the paths between them.

Canoe Trail and Discovery Marsh at Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Completed in 1995 as a “demonstration marsh,” Discovery Marsh Trail across from the Visitor’s Center at the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a lovely place to walk and learn about how agricultural land can be turned back into productive wetland. It has something for everyone, year-round. Even on a quiet day you can expect to see Mule Deer and a variety of birds including white faced Ibis and Great Egrets. Discovery Marsh also boasts a little known but awesomely family-friendly canoe trail. This self-guided canoe trail, with all gear supplied by the refuge, is available mid-April through October depending on the weather – just call the visitor’s center here.

Lava Beds National Monument

The Lava Beds National Monument is one of Siskiyou’s coolest experiences! Throughout the last half-million years, volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created a rugged landscape here. Visit breathtaking caves, rock art sites, historic battlefields and much more in solitude, where kids can explore and parents can soak up the history. The Lava Beds are also bursting with life during springtime. Mule deer, cottontail rabbits, bald eagles and red-tailed hawks often make their presence known. Birdwatching also peaks this time of year, so you’re sure to see thousands of migrating waterfowl and raptors gather along the northern edge of the monument. If spelunking isn’t your thing, you can always try an alternative way to explore this National Monument by taking the free driving audio tour that highlights the historic hotspots during the Modoc War that was fought in the Lava Beds during 1872-1873, and is narrated by a descendent of one of the Modoc Warriors. To learn more about and directions on downloading the tour, visit here.

Schonchin Butte Lookout Trail

Explore deeper into East Siskiyou with an adventure at Schonchin Butte, a cinder cone volcano with stunning views of the Siskiyou wilderness. The moderate 1.5-mile hike immediately gains elevation from the beginning. At the top of the cinder cone is the Schonchin Butte Fire Lookout that the kids will love. Be sure to soak in some stunning views before heading back down!

Everitt Memorial Highway

Taking you from the base to as high as you can drive on Mt. Shasta, is the Everitt Memorial Highway which promises some of the best scenic views in Siskiyou. Vistas and hiking trails along the drive showcase the beauty below, including rivers, mountains and forests and give you lots of places to explore Siskiyou’s crown jewel in solitude.

Pluto’s Cave

A great outing for older kids with sure footing, Pluto’s Cave is a lava tube that was formed by an eruption of basaltic lava which originated from a vent about 8 miles to the northeast. The parking area is located just off of A-12 east of Yreka and a little north of Weed, and then a short walk leads you to the Cave.  Visitors can safely hike approximately 1200 feet into the cave to capture some epic photos of light streaming into the otherworldly cave. Permits are not required to enter, but be prepared with warm clothing, sturdy, non-skid shoes and extra flashlights.

Sisson Meadow

Sisson Meadow is a 7.5-acre gem in the heart of Mt. Shasta where community go to enjoy the fantastic views and peaceful nature of this protected wetland. Since the purchase of this land in 2003, the meadow has changed with the addition of boardwalks, benches and picnic tables and public installation art. It has become a place that people visit frequently, often daily, to appreciate the changing seasons and views. You can access Sisson Meadow from the main entrance on East Castle Street, just two blocks up from Ace Hardware. Or pop in from the intimate entrance on Alder Street that starts near the waterfall. To learn a bit more about Sisson Meadow, read this short visitors guide.

You can also try one of the many parks in our communities. Greenhorn Park in Yreka and Shastice Park in Mt. Shasta are two of our favorites!