By Oliver Jenkyns May 21, 2019
Snuggled between Shasta County, Humboldt County, and the Oregon border sits a region packed with lakes, waterfalls, hiking trails, and remnants of volcanic activity. Siskiyou County represents the northernmost portion of California along the Cascade Range and is swirling with untamed wilderness, premier fishing destinations, and national monuments. Natural wonders are bountiful in this county, with Shackleford, Whitney, McCloud, and Faery Falls within driving distance; the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge; Lake Siskiyou; and miles of hiking trails for any skill level. For truly unique experiences, check out these three California gems.
Northeastern Volcanic Caverns
Lava Beds National Monument was formed over the last half-million years, thanks to the Medicine Lake shield volcano. Over 700 lava tube caves exist in the park due to the cooling patterns of smooth lava and the collapse of the inner surface as the rock cooled. The most developed caves are located along a two-mile road aptly named Cave Loop, on the north side of the Medicine Lake Shield Volcano.
Kangaroo Lake lies in southwestern Siskiyou, inside the expansive Klamath National Forest. Ombre hues of white and yellow water lilies cascade across the northern end of the lake and marshlands, while still waters, undisturbed by motorboats, extend across the 25-acre reservoir. Camp along the water’s edge in one of 18 available campsites, rent a canoe to view the region’s wetlands, and observe the flight patterns of the various birds passing through.
Medicine Lake is located approximately 30 miles northeast of Mount Shasta and represents one of the most interesting volcanic occurrences in the state. The lake was formed as the volcano collapsed, though there is no single volcanic eruption that led to the formation of this caldera. The caldera basin occupies a 4.3-by-7.5-mile area in California’s northern high desert and is the perfect spot to enjoy a daytime hike and to marvel at the wonders of the natural world.