If summer memories have an address, it’s at Lake Siskiyou. Nestled at the foot of the Trinity Divide and fed by five mountain streams, the crystalline lake has all the perfect ingredients for a summer holiday—warm water for swimming, miles of sandy shoreline, and plentiful rainbow and brown trout—and it’s only an hour’s drive from Redding. Non-stop blue-water action is interspersed with quiet, lingering moments—an osprey diving into a ripple-less cove, a stand-up paddleboarder plying her craft across the lake or the morning sun rising over fir-clad hills.
Families flock to Lake Siskiyou Resort, where they can rent a cabin or pitch a tent and take advantage of watersport rentals, from kayaks and paddleboards to 15-person party barges. The younger set can spend all day clambering up and zooming down water slides and splashing around in warm, shallow water—with refuelling stops at the resort’s ice-cream kiosk.
Landlubbers can cycle or walk the 7-mile Lake Siskiyou Trail circling the lake. The scenic north shore features a single-arch suspension bridge over Wagon Creek—an ideal spot for selfies. Steel cables hang from a massive arch, suspending a sturdy wood-and-steel platform. The forested path offers fantastic vantage points for viewing and photographing Mount Shasta, the largest stratovolcano in the Cascade Range. Shasta’s hulking volcanic cone soars to 14,179 feet high, its loftiest reaches capped with glistening ice and snow long into summer.
If camping isn’t your thing, book a stay in a lake-view chalet at Mount Shasta Resort on Lake Siskiyou’s east side. Play a round of golf on the resort’s challenging greens or sign up for a little pampering at Sacred Mountain Spa. Drive 10 minutes into Mount Shasta City for lunch under the patio umbrellas at Lilys, and then shop for outdoor gear at The Fifth Season. In neighbouring McCloud, spend the night at the historic McCloud River Mercantile Hotel, built in 1897 as the lumber mill’s company shop. Tastefully appointed rooms feature 12-foot-high ceilings, claw-foot tubs and feather duvets. Browse the first-floor of the Mercantile for overalls and aprons, old-fashioned salves and apothecary goods, and gourmet food and wine.
About 10 miles away, you can walk to two smaller alpine lakes within Shasta-Trinity National Forest—Castle Lake and Heart Lake—which both offer views of Mount Shasta in the distance. Take the out-and-back path from the Castle Lake trailhead and climb the steep one-mile route to reach the small but scenic Heart Lake. This is also a perfect trail for the off-season—bring snowshoes and hike it while it's covered in snow.
California’s northeast corner is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with safe-to-explore volcanoes, hushed forests, and trout-filled rivers. This is the place for blue-ribbon fishing, houseboats anchored in cool lakes, countless campgrounds, and inviting trails for hiking and mountain biking.
"When I first caught sight of it I was weary and 50 miles away and afoot. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.” --Author John Muir, upon seeing Mount Shasta in 1874.
All this, plus friendly towns like Chico and Chester, and inviting rural farms in fertile lands near the Upper Sacramento River. Redding, the region’s largest city, makes a good base, with riverfront trails, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and elegant Sundial Bridge, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
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