McCloud, California

Photo: McCloud Chamber of Commerce

Are you California dreaming? If you’re a beachgoer, you probably have endless summers, palm trees, and surfing waves on your mind. For those who prefer cities, it’s all about celebrity sightings and new restaurants. While wine lovers focus on grapes, vineyards, and perfect pairings. There’s much more to the Golden State, though.

This weekend, you’re heading to Northern California. Siskiyou County shares a border with Oregon. Except for the mid-19th century, when gold miners descended, the area has been rural and quiet. High mountains and national forests, glacial lakes and trout-filled rivers cover most of this part of the state. They’re bordered by charming towns. McCloud is one of them.

McCloud is an old mill town. Its first mill was built in the late-19th century. The little town flourished when the railroad arrived right before the turn of the century. There were even speakeasies here during the Roaring Twenties. Then, as the timber industry diminished in the 1960s, McCloud fell on hard times. It had to reinvent itself.

Outdoor recreation is McCloud’s focus now. A ski park was built on the southern flanks of Mount Shasta, the second-highest peak in the Cascade Range. Its slopes should open for the season any day. Cross-country skiing at the Mount Shasta Nordic Center will follow soon. So will sledding (dog and human), snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Those are just the winter activities. Fly fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and white-water rafting fill the rest of the calendar. While a brewery, a distillery, and cozy restaurants sit in the center of town for when you’re done playing each day. The only thing currently missing is a cute boutique hotel. You need something to keep dreaming about, though.

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