Discovering Northern California
Siskiyou County

Siskiyou County and the State of Jefferson

Siskiyou County (pronounced SISS-kew) is a card-carrying member of the Rebel with a Cause movement.

Seventy years ago, Siskiyou - along with Trinity and Del Norte Counties in California, and Curry County in Oregon - was front and center in an undertaking to secede from the state of California and form a new state called the State of Jefferson.

Back then folks were fed up with the condition of their roads, and blamed their respective state governments for not spending state tax dollars to improve them (sound familiar?).

Many independent-minded people in Northern California and Southern Oregon banded together to carve out a new state and the endeavor became known as the State of Jefferson Movement.

Although the sentiment has never completely died out, the active movement ended with the start of World War II. Since then, the only reminders have been the eight-foot letters painted on a barn roof that declare STATE OF JEFFERSON, the State of Jefferson National Forest Scenic Byway that runs from Yreka, California to O'Brien, Oregon, and more-or-less idle chit-chat between neighbors.

Until recently, that is. Once again, the county of Siskiyou is in the thick of rebellion, and - as before - the central sentiment is about money.  Tax money to be specific, and how much more Southern California (with its huge populations) has to say in how it's spent than we in the North do.

Siskiyou County
Popular Tourist Destination

You might be surprised to learn that many thousands of people visit Siskiyou County every year but if you've ever been, you can certainly understand why!

This is a county of diverse geological make-up, consisting of Mount Shasta - the second-highest volcanic mountain on the West Coast; the Siskiyou Mountains (after which the county was named); dense forests, deserts, chaparral, farmland; ice and lava caves; as well as many lakes, rivers (including the Sacramento River), and streams.

The splendor and beauty of this county must be seen to be believed.

That's why there are no fewer than three state- and nationally-designated scenic drives in the County, plus a national wildlife refuge tour - so you can see it for yourself.

Outdoor recreational opportunities abound in the form of fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing, scenic drives, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking, hot air ballooning, birdwatching, snow skiing and boarding, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and dog sledding. If it can be done outdoors, you'll find it in here!

The county is also steeped in history, with the Siskiyou Trail, a major artery and the shortest practical path between early settlements in California and Oregon, running through it.

The Unsolved Mysteries of Siskiyou County

Whether because of the coming together of certain forces of nature, or the effects of isolation on the human imagination, Siskiyou seems to be a magnet for legends and myths and mystical beliefs.

Take the legend of Bigfoot (or Yeti, or Sasquatch), for instance. Stories of "wild-men" - giant human-like creatures - are nearly universal throughout the cultures of the world, but nowhere do the stories seem more persistent than in the Pacific Northwest! In Del Norte and Siskiyou Counties particularly, a preponderance of reports and stories persist about sightings, encounters, and even attacks.

There also are those who claim to have perpetrated hoaxes that encourage the belief in Bigfoot.

Most scientists (although not all) believe that these stories are a combination of folklore, misidentification of animals, and hoaxes, but still the stories persist - do people simply believe what they want to believe, or is there a possibility that Bigfoot really exists?

Visit the county, listen to the stories, see the evidence, then you be the judge...

Then there's the mysterious and mystifying Mount Shasta, which is said to possess a vital energy or vortex.

Legends abound about its mystical powers - of lizard people and underground cities like Telos; of the lost Rosicrucian continent of Lemuria; the appearance of Saint Germain and the birth of the I AM movement; multidimensional portals and alien beings...

Many people from all over the world feel drawn to places like Mount Shasta, saying that the mountain stimulates and activates their own etheric or energetic bodies in a way that opens up our multidimensional existence to their consciousness.

Next time you're in the area, pay heed to your inner self - is the mountain calling to you?

Siskiyou County Communities

Though most of Siskiyou is forestland, mountains, and wide-open spaces, there are a few population centers that are worthy of a visit.


Yreka (wy-REE-ka) is the county seat of Siskiyou - it's also the center of the northern gold rush. When Abraham Thompson discovered gold in "the richest square mile on earth" in 1851, the news brought a flood of gold-seekers and the area was found to contain the "second Mother Lode."

With its colorful history, County Museum, historic district, Gold-Rush-era homes, monuments, and businesses, Chinese cemetery, and proximity to such popular activities as waterfalls, trout fishing, mountain climbing, skiing, and trails, Yreka serves as a destination and home base to many of Siskiyou's tourists.


Born alongside the upper reaches of the Sacramento River, this railroad town draws visitors not only for its scenic wonders and outdoor activities (the Upper Sacramento River is a blue ribbon trout stream), but also for its authentic 1920s and 1930s look and feel, Union Pacific "Train Town" status, and its Boxcar Gallery.

It's also the jumping off place for those wishing to visit, hike, climb, and explore Castle Crags State Park and the Castle Crags Wilderness area.


Founded by the lumber industry, with logging, wood processing, forest-related products providing most of its economic impetus until the 1980s, Weed now caters mostly to tourist travel along the Interstate 5 corridor. It's handy to the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, the Pacific Crest Trail, Lake Shastina Golf Resort, Mount Shasta Ski Park, and many more of Siskiyou's attractions.

Visit the Weed Historic Lumber Town Museum and the Veterans' Living Memorial Sculpture Garden while your there.

We'll have more to share with you about this fascinating county in the coming weeks - things like:

  • Attractions
    From North to South and West to East!
  • Waterfalls
    All along the bay and beyond!
  • Communities
    From the biggest to the smallest!
  • Parks and Preserves
    State Parks, Nature Preserves, Marshes and Bogs!

Please continue your exploration of what Northern California has to offer by using the Nav Bars in the left and right columns or by using the links at the bottom of the page.

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