Home » 2014 Pacific Northwest

Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort, CA

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 11:00am by Lolo
25 miles and 0.5 hours from our last stop - 2 night stay


Starlight over Mount ShastaStarlight over Mount ShastaWe didn’t make much progress driving north this day, intentionally going just a mere 25 miles north of Castle Crags to the Lake Siskiyou Camping Resort, another find from our Moon West Coast RV Camping book. It took us a lot longer than it should have, as there was an accident on I5, which kept traffic stopped for over an hour.

When we saw how pretty the lake was, we decided to stay 2 nights, so that we would have a full day tomorrow to just relax before meeting up with the boys for a very physically active weekend in Bend. Also, Herb was anxious to find a place to try out our old Avon inflatable raft and Johnson motor, which hadn’t seen action in – we couldn’t believe it when we figured it out – 9 years. The last time we could remember using it was in Lake Powell in 2005.

Hatchery Trout with Mount ShastaHatchery Trout with Mount ShastaOur uses of the raft have always been trip highlights, so we never wanted to leave it behind. The raft is stored in a bag at the end of the bed on top of the cab, and the motor is attached to the ladder on the back of the motorhome, often eliciting inane questions, such as, “Can your motorhome go in water too?” as if it were some kind of magic school bus.

Herb gave the motor starting a less than 50% chance, even though he had put gas stabilizer in it. He’s always a bit of a pessimist though. After all, he didn’t think the motorhome would start up either after 5 months of non-use, but it started up like a charm. My bet was on the Johnson. Also, the motor was mine. Before we married, Herb had bought the raft and I bought the motor. For a while that was the closest I could get to a commitment from him. It made it much harder for him to break up with me.

Now where was I? Oh yes, Lake Siskiyou.

The campground was quite nice – good-sized sites set in a lovely shaded forest. While not actually on the lake, it was just a short drive (or bike ride) to either the boat launch or the swimming beach.

Rather than wait for the morning, we got the raft out of its bag and inflated it to make sure that it didn’t have any leaks. So far, so good. However, the real test would come tomorrow when we mounted our little Johnson 6 h.p. motor on the back and tried to start it after 9 years of neglect.

Lolo lunching on submerged Picnic TableLolo lunching on submerged Picnic TableLater that evening, when the sun began to set – our favorite time for photographing – we headed down to the campground beach to take photos of Mount Shasta reflected in the lake. There’s certainly nothing like the sight of a massive, volcanic mountain looming over you to make you feel insignificant, which is probably a good thing once in a while.

The next morning we arose to another beautiful day, which we have come to expect this time of year in Northern California. We loaded the raft on to top of the Subaru and drove down to the boat launch. It was a very serious boat ramp, meant for boats a lot more substantial than ours. There already were plenty of boats out on the lake, but since there is a 10 mph speed limit, it was mostly fisherman either anchored or trolling for trout and small mouth bass.

We unloaded the boat, mounted the motor, attached the gas tank, gave it a few good pumps, and pulled. It started right up, just like the 200 year old Volkswagen in the Woody Allen movie Sleeper. I’m never going to listen to Herb’s lack of faith in our toys again.

Wagon Creek Bridge with Mount ShastaWagon Creek Bridge with Mount ShastaNow that we had a motorized boat, Herb had to run up to the marina and tackle shop to buy a boat permit. Based on all the fisherman out on the lake, I suggested he pick up a fishing license and bait as well.

While Herb was gone, I waited with the boat down by the lake and watched a Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery truck back down the ramp and proceed to shoot trout out of two pipes on the back of the truck. I asked the fish hatchery guy how many trout he was putting in the lake, and he estimated that there was 2,000 pounds of fish at about 3 or 4 fish to the pound. That was a lot of trout. Herb would have absolutely no excuse for not catching dinner today.

Fortunately, I got my camera out in time to photograph the scene. Some of the trout flopped onto the boat ramp. I wanted to help them find their way to the water, but the fish hatchery guy told me not to worry – they would figure it out. I guess he had seen this before. My favorite photo was of a trout just barely in the water, with the ubiquitous Mount Shasta in the background.

Herb had seen what was going on and knew that the pressure was on. He mumbled some pre-game excuses about newly introduced baby trout having to get acclimated before being interested in eating. We just needed one or two quick learners.

Lolo Navigating the Perimeter of the LakeLolo Navigating the Perimeter of the LakeThe motor worked like a charm and we cruised around the entire perimeter of the lake. We stopped for lunch at a picnic table that was about 10 feet from shore – that’s 10 feet in the lake, not on the beach. I’m not sure how it got there or why, but it was a hot day, so eating lunch at a partially submerged table was just fine with us, and rather unique.

While there were so many picturesque spots on the lake, my favorite was cruising under the pretty Wagon Creek pedestrian bridge with Mount Shasta looming in the background. The bridge had an arch that framed the mountain very nicely. It was quite new – completed in 2010 as part of the Lake Siskiyou Trail, which encircles the lake.

I am sorry to report that despite the tonnage of trout dumped into the lake that morning, my husband came up empty-handed. In all fairness, the surroundings were so beautiful that he was more interested in using his camera than his fishing rod. After all, photos are forever, while fish only last a day.

Biking the Lake Siskiyou TrailBiking the Lake Siskiyou TrailThat evening we returned to the swimming beach when the light got low to have a glass of wine and take some more pictures. Being so far away from any city, the number of stars you could see was incredible.

The next morning before leaving, we decided to bike the 7-mile Lake Siskiyou Trail, which goes around the entire lake. Normally, I would have run it, but my blisters from the Castle Crags hike were still making it a bit difficult to even walk.Biking was really fun though. It was a nice, dirt-packed trail with great views of the lake and the mountain much of the way. As with our previous day boat trip, the best part was the Wagon Creek Bridge, which this time we got to ride over rather than under. I would have to say though that the picture taking was better from the boat. From what I have heard, although it is illegal, people like jumping off this bridge 25 feet down to the water below. There is a movement to try to legalize it. There is no way I would jump from it myself, but it would be fun to watch and photograph.

Satisfied that we had experienced Lake Siskiyou fully by both land and sea, we packed up and headed towards Bend to meet up with the boys.

Lake Siskiyou is definitely a repeat destination, one that I am sure we will visit again on our treks between San Francisco and Seattle.


Lake Siskiyou Boat with Mount ShastaLake Siskiyou Boat with Mount ShastaThe Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort is located just 3 miles west of Mount Shasta City, on the lovely shores of glacier-fed, 435-acre Lake Siskiyou. With fantastic views of snow-covered Mount Shasta from its shores, it is one of the prettiest reservoirs in Northern California.

Recreational opportunities on the lake include:
• swimming
• trout and smallmouth bass fishing
• low-speed boating (boat ramp and boat rentals available)
• hiking the Lake Siskiyou Trail

The 7-mile dirt Lake Siskiyou Trail, which encircles the lake, is popular with walkers, joggers, and mountain bikers. The views of Mount Shasta along the way are awesome.

There is a large 150-site, very popular campground for RVs of any length, with full and partial hookups. There are 225 additional sites for tents. There is also a marina, boat rentals (canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, motorized boats), free boat launching, a fishing dock and fish-cleaning station, boat slips, and a swimming beach.

Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort location map in "high definition"

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