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Overview

This blanket of pines, deep blue lakes, and granite peaks covers the northernmost swath of California and stretches into Oregon. Five wilderness areas (the Trinity Alps, Siskiyou, Russian, Marble Mountain and Oregon's Red Buttes) surround the historic gold rush town of Yreka (pronounced WHY-reka). While Yreka used to explode (literally, this was a gold digger town) with money grubbers, these days it's the type of destination you stop off in for quiet starlit skies before escaping to more inspiring places. Luckily, the inspiration is not far away. The glorious Marble Mountain Wilderness boasts 89 trout-filled lakes, miles of trails, and a ...

This blanket of pines, deep blue lakes, and granite peaks covers the northernmost swath of California and stretches into Oregon. Five wilderness areas (the Trinity Alps, Siskiyou, Russian, Marble Mountain and Oregon's Red Buttes) surround the historic gold rush town of Yreka (pronounced WHY-reka). While Yreka used to explode (literally, this was a gold digger town) with money grubbers, these days it's the type of destination you stop off in for quiet starlit skies before escaping to more inspiring places. Luckily, the inspiration is not far away. The glorious Marble Mountain Wilderness boasts 89 trout-filled lakes, miles of trails, and a cacophony of nature to erase the city sounds embedded in most of us. Grab a permit to enter this wilderness at the Yreka Ranger Station, then load up your pack with gear to explore the craggy peaks that give way to sapphire swimming holes and flowered meadows. Spot bears, deer and birds inhabiting the human favored Sky High, Campbell, Cliff, Summit, Paradise, and Ukonom Lakes. Save time to explore the Lava Beds National Monument (home to the largest number of lava tube caves on the continent) as well as the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge (which welcomes 75 percent of North America's migrating birds annually).

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer