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Discover Siskiyou: California’s Hidden Gem for Families

by Eugenia Lazaris

Jun 7, 2024

© Mkopka | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

California has a reputation as a great family-friendly destination, but some spots get more attention than others. If you’ve had your fill of theme parks and beaches, you’ll want to head into the wilderness to enjoy the state’s incredible natural beauty where you and the kids can enjoy nature to its fullest.


One area in particular is ripe with natural beauty and outdoor adventure but tends to fly under the radar for visitors to the Golden State. Siskiyou County, nestled along California’s border with Oregon, is a true hidden gem offering something for everyone in the family.


The county, the northernmost in California, is beautiful, with miles of lush forest and majestic Mount Shasta as its crowning feature. From the breathtaking Superbloom in spring to the dramatic fall foliage, not to mention majestic waterfalls year-round, there is plenty of exploring to do in the Siskiyou County wilderness. Families can enjoy outdoor activities like camping, hiking or horseback riding, and spots like Rockin Maddy Ranch let you customize your experience to suit your family’s specific needs and interests. At Rockin Maddy, in the town of Yreka, you can take a two-hour guided scenic trail horseback ride (kids must be 8 years or older) or a one-hour ranch ride that can accommodate children 5 and older.


For families interested in learning about local history rather than hitting the trails, Siskiyou County has plenty of museums showcasing the different nuances of the area’s history, like Dunsmuir Railroad Depot Museum in the town of Dunsmuir, which features displays about the town, the local railroad and the Native Americans local to the area.


You can also head outdoors to learn about the history of the area by visiting Lava Beds National Monument, home of a unique landscape shaped over the last half-million years by volcanic eruptions. This hauntingly beautiful wilderness area is home to many unique things to experience, like Native American rock art sites and historic battlefields, not to mention the beautiful wildlife that call the region home.


By night, the skies of Siskiyou County are ideal for stargazing. From the slopes of Mount Shasta that bring you closer to the heavens to the wide-open spaces below like Lake Siskiyou, the views of the night sky are virtually unobstructed. Without the bright lights of big cities to create light pollution, you can either view the constellations with the naked eye or bring a telescope for an in-depth look. The family can even try their hand at astrophotography.


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