camping lake siskiyou

Weekend Diaries: Camping at Lake Siskiyou

This weekend was perfect and beautiful in every way. A combination of old and new friends. Surrounding a campfire and spend by the lake. There was the crispness of the blue water, the stunning summit of Mt Shasta in the distance, and the green nature of the pines.

Keep reading for the full Weekend Diary after the jump!

Nights were spent by the fire, bear stories were cultivated, and campfire doughnuts went down as more than a legend. My new car, finally made it’s inaugural trip, and did all the things a Subaru should do. I got my kayak out for the first time this season and literally can’t wait to take it out again.

We started out to the campsite on Saturday afternoon after spending the morning prepping for the weekend. We met friends at the Lake Siskiyou Resort and hit the beach. Our afternoon was spent enjoying the beach, kayaking through the bays, and swimming in the crisp lake water.

As the afternoon met the evening, we made a quick stop at the general store, picking up a bit of ice cream. (Life is a little too short. Sometimes you should eat dessert first.)  Heading back to the campsite, we started building a fire and prepping dinner. Placing our salmon and potato foil packets over the fire, we cleaned up for dinner. As the dinner cooked over the fire, we opened a favorite brew. It was the perfect way to start our evening. With camp chairs surrounding the fire, the sky grew dark and was glistening with the galaxies that were revealed in the openings in the pines.


The next morning after an eventful evening (Bears are a true reality in NorCal), we placed a pot of coffee over the fire in hopes of finding a bit of energy. The rest of the morning was spent sipping a cup of coffee, enjoying a cherry and chia seed oatmeal, and an organic apple.

Packing up the site, we headed to Castle Lake. This lake is smaller and slightly more placid in nature. With a small boat ramp, we decided to take the kayak out again enjoying a slower pace, navigating the lake with ease, taking in views of Mt. Shasta.

What to Know before You Go:

Castle Lake Campground is part of the National Parks service and is somewhat primitive; however, it is free to the public. There are six sites available, first come, first serve. Make sure to bring your water with you. If this site is full, make your way to Lake Siskiyou Resort and Camp. This fills up quickly in summer months. Make sure to reserve your spot prior to arrival. Both lakes are somewhat busy during the summer season. We recommend coming here during the week to enjoy the lake with fewer people around.

Hikes: 

Hike around the perimeter of Castle Lake. This is a short hike and easy to navigate. Take in the tall pines, views of Mt. Shasta, and the crystal blue color of the lake.

Ready for an adventure? Head to Heart Lake. This trail is strenuous, steep, and the elevation gain isn’t for the faint of heart. However, the views are absolutely stunning and perfectly unparalleled. Total hiking time is around 1.5 hour with an 1,100 foot elevation gain. Catch the trailhead from the parking lot at Castle Lake.

Feeling beast mode? Meet Castle Crags. With stunning rock formations, commit to the summit and do it. It will take around a half a day. As you go up in elevation, you will be more exposed to the elements. Wait until the height of summer has passed, to avoid the summer in triple degree temps. If hiking in summer, pack plenty of water and sunscreen, making sure to have plenty of energy for the hike.

Eat:

You’ll find great food in Dunsmuir on the 5. Most of it is pub food, but some of the best you can find.

Yaks: Rated one of the top 100 restaurants on Yelp, while it is slightly unassuming, it is delicious. While dining there we met Nancy the owner. She has stories for years of how she has seen Redding transformed through delicious food. We had a sampler of their tots, homemade sticky buns, glazed chicken thighs, and stuff jalapeno peppers with a lemon ginger marmalade. This restaurant is worth the drive over and over again.

Dunsmuir Brewery Works: With one of the best burgers of elk you’ll ever have, this brewery has amazing beer and bites. After a long day at the lake, enjoy dining on the patio, under the string lights. I recommend sipping on their summer ale, with notes of citrus and apricot, it remains light and refreshing.

Where are some of your favorite camping spots? Any places in NorCal we should go explore?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.

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