We all know about the top attractions in Siskiyou County. Places like McCloud Falls, Lake Siskiyou, Lava Beds National Monument and Mount Shasta are just a few of the iconic outdoor destinations in California’s Far North. But there are plenty more outdoor experiences in the area – ones that are hidden in plain sight.
While it’s always fun to see the top destinations in Siskiyou, you can also see the true spirit of the area by visiting places only locals know about. From small parks to spiritual destinations to historic fish hatcheries, there’s still so much you haven’t seen in the area.
Here are 7 of our favorite hidden outdoor gems in Siskiyou County:
Living Memorial Sculpture
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. Created in 1988 by a dedicated group of veterans, the site is now maintained under an agreement with the USDA Forest Service.
Under the shadow of Mount Shasta, you can reflect on the beauty of the area and the sacrifice of veterans by viewing the Hot LZ Memorial Wall, labyrinth and ten sculptures by veteran and artist Dennis Smith.
Headwaters of the Sacramento River
The Sacramento River is one of the most important water resources on the entire West Coast. You’ve most likely seen the beauty of the large river throughout Northern California, but one of the most spectacular views can be found where it’s just a tiny creek gushing out of the ground in Mount Shasta.
Located in Mt. Shasta City Park, the headwaters of the Sacramento River are a popular destination for spiritual enthusiasts and outdoor lovers looking to see nature in action. The water of the famed Big Spring aquifer comes from snow that has fallen on the slopes of Mount Shasta and although it’s not treated in any way, it’s considered safe to drink after filtering through the volcanic rock of the mountain for 50 years. Watch as locals and fill up their water jugs from the springs and ponder the natural process of the water, which becomes a crucial waterway throughout different areas of NorCal.
Here is the location of the park:
Tree of Heaven Campground
Sitting along the Klamath River between Yreka and the Oregon border is a beautiful campsite with fantastic fishing, rafting access and epic hiking. The Tree of Heaven Campground was named after the tree that 19th century Chinese immigrants planted in the area during the gold rush, and it certainly lives up to its name.
This campground has shady sites near the Klamath River for tents or RVs and plenty of commemorative plaques teaching the history of the Chinese immigrants who once lived in the area. There’s also an interpretive trails along the Wild and Scenic Klamath River that’s great for any outdoor enthusiast.
Located on Highway 96 just outside of Yreka, this campsite is perfectly hidden for anyone looking to get out of dodge:
If you’ve ever visited downtown Mt. Shasta, you’ve likely enjoyed the delicious restaurants, unique crystal stores and quaint coffee shops. But sitting right next to the downtown area is one of the most pristine meadows in all of NorCal hidden in plain sight.
Sisson Meadow is a 7.5 acre gem that offers a relaxing stroll with gorgeous views of Mt. Shasta, the Eddy Mountains and Black Butte. There’s an elevated boardwalk to make the hike more blissful and benches throughout the area to sit down and take in the beauty. While in the meadow, you’ll likely encounter calm hikers drinking coffee, walking their dog or meditating.
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Outdoor art in Siskiyou Land Trust's Sisson Meadow. Whether it's painting, birdwatching, hiking, playing music, or just sitting still, Siskiyou Land Trust is passionate about community access to open space. Many of our own land holdings are public spaces where people can visit, walk and recreate, enjoying the beauty of nature on lands that are permanently protected and maintained. SLT also collaborates with other community groups on more public access areas and future trails. We have plans! We invite you to visit these special spaces, and become conservation stewards yourselves, leaving no trace and taking care of the land as if it were your own. Discover SLT’s public places in the link in our bio. 🍃🌻🌳🌾🌲 #communitygreenspace #natureheals #leavenotrace #siskiyoucounty #seesiskiyou #norcaladventures
To gain access to the Sisson Meadow trail, start by finding Mt. Shasta Ace Hardware at 328 North Mt Shasta Blvd. From there, you’ll walk a few blocks toward Mt. Shasta, and you’ll find the trail.
For specific directions, check out the Siskiyou Land Trust’s Sisson Meadow visitors guide here.
Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens
Dunsmuir, California is home to plenty of popular outdoor destinations like Hatchet Creek Falls and the waters of the Upper Sacramento River. But hidden right in the middle of town is a garden area that rivals the most relaxing and beautiful places in NorCal.
Located in the Dunsmuir City Park, the Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens encompass ten acres of hilly, wooded area with a meadow containing various gardens. There’s also a playground area and picnic sites that border the beautiful Upper Sacramento River, where you can fish on a catch and release basis.
The gardens are home to native plants like white dogwood, Shasta lilies and azaleas, as well as other introduced plants like rhododendrons, hostas, ferns and Japanese maples. There are numerous walking trails throughout the garden and an annual Tribute To the Trees concert is the a great way to experience the area.
Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery
You may have past it while driving to Lake Siskiyou in Mount Shasta. There’s a small sign announcing the Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery along the popular roadway, although many people have no idea that it’s the oldest operating fish hatchery west of the Mississippi.
During the spring months, visitors to the hatchery can see over 3 million baby trout swimming in the waters of the operation. The visit is especially pleasant on a sunny day, where you can relax on the shady picnic tables with a view of Mount Shasta.
After the fish have grown large, they are moved to the large outdoor ponds where fish food dispensers are readily available to get the fish moving excitedly. This is a fun adventure for everyone, especially kids. Here’s directions to the hatchery:
Bel-Air Park in Weed
There’s a park in Weed, California nestled beautifully under the mighty Mount Shasta that has a gazebo picnic area, horseshoe pits, a baseball field and even bocce ball courts. It might be the most unique park in all of Siskiyou County.
The Bel-Air Park has plenty of open space, 7 acres to be exact, for you to get out into the sun and enjoy the great activities under Mount Shasta. Each year, the park hosts a bocce ball tournament and the park is known to have plenty of fun events throughout the year. It’s also located right next to one of our favorite breweries – the Mt. Shasta Brewing Co. Here’s where it’s located in Weed:
Enjoy your hidden adventure in Siskiyou County!
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine