Top Things to Do in Yreka, California
Designed to explore exciting destinations around the globe while also encouraging you to take the time to stop and appreciate what is found in your own backyard, the hometown series has taken us around the world to small towns and big cities as travel bloggers highlight the many unique things to do in their hometowns. In recent posts we have visited Seattle, Dublin, Mexico City, Tel Aviv in Israel, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Paris, and Prague in the Czech Republic. Our next destination is a small town in Northern California as Sherry from Digital Nomad and a Dog fills us in on the top things to do in Yreka!
Yreka is a small Siskiyou County town in far northern California. Many people drive through it on I-5 going to or from Oregon. But there are many reasons to make Yreka a destination itself.
Yreka was established in 1851 during the gold rush and has a rich gold mining history. There are many attractions and activities in and around Yreka. Whether you’re a history buff or looking for some outdoor adventure, here’s a list of the top things to do while visiting this charming town.
Top Things to Do in Yreka
Siskiyou County Museum
Take a step back in time and discover the fascinating history of Yreka by visiting the Siskiyou County Museum. This underrated treasure is filled with exhibits showcasing the rich culture and heritage of the area. From the Native American artifacts to the gold rush era, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the pioneering spirit of the early settlers who established this stunning region.
The museum also features an outdoor exhibit with gold miners’ cabins, a blacksmith shop, an old schoolhouse, and more. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Siskiyou Golden Fair
The Siskiyou Golden Fair is the ultimate celebration of county culture and traditions. The fair is held in August and is more than just a simple gathering of carnival rides and funnel cakes. It offers a true county fair experience, reflecting the unique spirit of the Siskiyou region. From the cheerful sounds of live music and farm animal exhibits to thrilling rodeo shows, this fair takes you back to when county fairs were truly special events.
Gold Rush Days
Step back in time and experience the excitement and adventure of Gold Rush Days every June. This colorful celebration is a unique opportunity to explore the historic gold mining era of California. Immerse yourself in the festivities with live music, food vendors, and an array of local vendors.
You can test your skills on a Western inflatable obstacle course, ride a mechanical bull, enter a cornhole tournament, and take an “Old West” photo. You can even bring your antiques for a free appraisal.
Gold Rush Days is a great way to experience the history and culture of California’s gold mining era while having a great time with the family.
Yreka’s Historic District
When it comes to experiencing a piece of California’s history, a visit to Yreka’s historic downtown is a must. This charming district has earned its place on both the California Historic Landmark list and the National Register of Historic Places.
Walking down Miner Street, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, surrounded by beautiful architecture and timeless storefronts. Explore unique boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants serving up delicious local cuisine.
For the full experience, take a tour with Siskiyou Historic Tours. They offer walking and wagon tours of downtown, courthouse square, local cemeteries, and more. At Halloween time, be sure to catch the ghost tour! Tours are free with just a $5 suggested donation to cover insurance.
Greenhorn Park surrounds a small reservoir and is the largest park in Yreka. Visitors can hike on the well-maintained trails, see gold mining machinery, and visit an old blacksmith shop and assay building. You can even see the entrances to actual gold mine tunnels. Unfortunately, they are unsafe so visitors can’t explore inside, but you can easily imagine this area as a booming gold town.
Greenhorn Park has two sections. Upper Greenhorn offers a picnic area, play structures, a disc golf course, and plenty of open spaces. Lower Greenhorn has a soccer field, play area, large picnic areas, and horseshoe pits. Both areas are dog-friendly and great places to spend a peaceful afternoon.
Only a 30-minute drive from Yreka, Lake Siskiyou offers outdoor enthusiasts a variety of activities to engage in. Visitors can camp, kayak, fish, or take a refreshing dip in the lake while enjoying breathtaking views of Mt. Shasta.
With miles of hiking trails, nature lovers can immerse themselves in the beauty of the area while watching for bald eagles. For a more laid-back experience, families can pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic on the sand or in the shady picnic area.
Castle Crags State Park
Castle Crags State Park is about 45 minutes south of Yreka and well worth the drive. The park is a beautiful place to enjoy the great outdoors with camping and miles of hiking trails. In fact, this is one of the access points to the Pacific Crest Trail, which spans over 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada. Or just relax by the river and enjoy the views of Mt. Shasta and Castle Crags’ 6,000 feet tall granite spires.
The Shakespeare Festival in nearby Ashland, Oregon is a must-visit destination for any theater enthusiast. With its stunning outdoor theater and world-renowned productions, it’s no surprise that visitors flock from all over the world to experience the magic of Shakespeare on stage. The festival’s commitment to producing classic plays with a modern twist has earned it a reputation as one of the best Shakespeare festivals in the world.
Climb Mt. Shasta
Climbing Mt. Shasta is an experience that should be on every adventurer’s bucket list. With its snow-capped peaks rising to over 14,000 feet, Mt. Shasta is one of California’s most formidable mountains. Hiking this awe-inspiring mountain will give you a sense of accomplishment like no other, and the views from the top are absolutely breathtaking. For anyone who loves to hike and explore the outdoors, a trek up Mt. Shasta is an absolute must.
Where to Stay in Yreka
Yreka has many budget and mid-range motels. The newest and nicest hotel is the Holiday Inn Express on the north end of town.
The most centrally located motel is the Best Western Miner’s Inn. From here you can easily walk to many restaurants as well as the downtown area.
For a luxury experience, check out the Victorian Mansion on Airbnb. This beautiful Victorian home is perfect for large groups. The top floor is a ballroom so it’s ideal for events and celebrations.
Where to Eat in Yreka
Yreka has many charming eateries in the downtown area. Two favorites are the Wine Bar and Bistro and Natalee Thai. For an upscale dining experience and delicious Italian food and steaks, try Strings Italian Cafe on Miner Street.
If you happen to be in town on the third Sunday of the month, be sure to visit the Masonic Lodge on Third and Miner Streets for a delicious breakfast. The Masons host the monthly breakfast to raise money for local charities.
About the Author
Sherry Arkfeld is the author of the travel blog, Digital Nomad and a Dog. Sherry was born and raised in Yreka, California. While Yreka will always be home, Sherry is currently a digital nomad living in Cozumel, Mexico with her little dog, Shelby. Sherry is a copywriter and blogger dedicated to helping others live the digital nomad lifestyle.
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