Beautiful Swimming Hole at Lake Siskiyou

Views across Lake Siskiyou toward Mt. Shasta, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Views across Lake Siskiyou toward Mt. Shasta

I’m sitting here at my computer desk, and on the wall is one of those analog calendars; the kind with a picture on top and the days of the month in big squares so you can write all your appointments down.  The top is a spectacular photo of six heads bobbing just above the water; the lake is a rippling, dappled blue, the shore is a sandy tan, and the firs above the shore are a deep, wilderness green.  But what really makes the picture is 1) the blue arc of a bridge at one end of the lake, and 2) the towering, massive, snow-studded peak of Mt. Shasta over the bridge.  It’s Lake Siskyou, just west of the town of Mt. Shasta, and it’s probably one of the most spectacular swimming places I’ve ever been.  Even without my glasses, the beauty and tranquility of the place was almost more than was believable.

 


 

Getting to the swimming place was the hardest part.  We desperately needed to jump in something after a week of 100+ temps driving across the country, crawling through caves at Lava Beds, and hiking on Mt. Shasta for two days, so after descending from Hidden Valley, we followed a brown sign pointing toward Lake Siskyou.

Looking the other direction from Mt. Shasta across Lake Siskiyou, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Looking the other direction from Mt. Shasta

Well, signs there might have been at the highway, but there weren’t enough signs to get us to the lake, proper.  We finally pulled into a hikers’ parking lot with a sign and a map.  Using that and my hiking GPS, we wound our way on tiny mountainous roads over streams and through the thick forest, turning hopefully in the right places, to emerge in a parking area packed with trucks and a few cars.  There was even a double primitive restroom.

 

We parked, changed, and headed down to the lakeshore.  But instead of walking to the end of the road where everyone else seemed to be hanging out, we went down a path in the vegetation to a little pebbly beach, nicely secluded, and with a stunning view of Mt. Shasta and the nearby bridge.  (It was also in the shade, which meant we didn’t have put on yet another coat of sunscreen.)

Swimming in Lake Siskiyou in Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

He asked me to get a picture of him falling backward off the stump…

We swam, we jumped off submersed tree stumps, we threw in big rocks.  We watched a couple people paddle by in canoes and kayaks, and shook our heads at the people jumping off the bridge (blatant signs at the bridge prohibit jumping).  In general, we cooled off and marveled at the fantastic scenery.

 

We probably spent 90 minutes enjoying the lake before trekking back up to the parking area.  But the pictures and the memories of the beautiful swimming spot aren’t dimmed – if I’m ever in the area, I’ll be sure to head back!

 

Round Trip Trail Length: Not far; you just have to walk or scramble down to the lakeshore

Fees: None

Facilities: Primitive restrooms

Notes: There are no lifeguards; swim at your own risk.  Also, with the recent very wet winter, I suspect Lake Siskyou is quite a bit higher than when I visited.  So that pebbly beach may be under several feet of water at this point…

 

Interest ★★★★☆

Signs ★☆☆☆☆

Cleanliness ★★★★☆

Fun ★★★★☆

Ease of Access ★★★★☆

Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this? ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

Key GPS Coordinates for swimming at Lake Siskiyou

Parking area is about 41.283691N / -122.330250W (41° 17′ 1.287″ / -122° 19′ 48.9″)

The bridge and Mt. Shasta over Lake Siskiyou, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

The bridge and Mt. Shasta over Lake Siskiyou

Getting to the swimming place at Lake Siskiyou

From I-5, take Exit 738 toward the town of Mt. Shasta.  Follow the signs west toward Lake Siskiyou.  After 0.4 miles, turn left onto Old Stage Road.  Continue another 0.2 miles and stay right onto W A Barr Road (you may not see a street sign – it’s the slight right with lots of signs around it).  Drive 0.8 miles and turn right onto N Shore Road.  The road will become dusty gravel, still passible by passenger cars.  After 1.1 miles, just after passing the bridge (on left), turn left at an unmarked junction for 0.2 miles to the end of the road and the parking area under a stand of trees.

Zoom map out to browse nearby hikes & places of interest

 

This Week’s Featured Product!

Even if you don’t plan to hike the big mountain, this book offers day trek options both on Mt. Shasta and in the surrounding area.

 

Mt. Shasta Book: Guide to Hiking, Climbing, Skiing & Exploring the Mtn & Surrounding Area (3rd Edition) (Paperback)


List Price: $18.00
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Winter Storm Warning, Winter Weather Advisory

Issued:
3:13 AM PST on January 24, 2018
Expires:
10:00 PM PST on January 25, 2018
Snow

Wednesday

Wed Jan 24

100%

Snow
Cloudy with rain and snow this morning, becoming all snow for the afternoon. Temps nearly steady in the mid to upper 30s. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precip 100%. Snow accumulating 8 to 12 inches.

Snow

Thursday

Thu Jan 25

90%

Snow
Snow likely. Thunder possible. High around 35F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 90%. 5 to 8 inches of snow expected.

Snow Showers

Friday

Fri Jan 26

40%

Snow Showers
Cloudy with snow showers developing during the afternoon. High 36F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 40%.

Snow Showers

Saturday

Sat Jan 27

80%

Snow Showers
Light snow during the morning will transition to snow showers during the afternoon. High 37F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 80%. Snowfall around one inch.

Partly Cloudy

Sunday

Sun Jan 28

10%

Partly Cloudy
Sunshine and clouds mixed. High around 50F. Winds light and variable.

 


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