● By Paul Boerger
Bicycling enthusiasts often load up their bikes with the intention of heading out for a particular type of terrain, be it mountain trails, grinders, long and easy roads or steep challenges. Hopefully, there will also be a wealth of natural beauty to enjoy. What if there is an area where all of the above could be found within a short drive? There is such a place, and it’s called Siskiyou County.
From steep rides that lead to pristine Castle Lake or Mount Shasta to the long, easy farmland roads of northern Siskiyou that also have their share of steep roads and grinders, the county offers every conceivable type of terrain for cycling amid forests, pastures, streams and lakes. You can ride for miles in some areas and never see a car. Also, the Mount Shasta Ski Park has developed a mountain biking program where two lifts take you to the top for a ride down prepared mountain biking trails that range from a cruise to gut wrenching. For more information, visit www.skipark.com.
Cycle Siskiyou has developed a comprehensive brochure that includes trail maps for unpaved and mountain biking roads, bike services, weather and a wealth of general information. The brochure is available at chambers of commerce and visitor centers throughout the county. The website at www.cyclesiskiyou.com also contains cycling information including routes, events, lodging, dining and bike services. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service headquarters in Mount Shasta offers trail maps for the area. Thousands of miles of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management roads and trails are available for the adventure-minded rider to explore.
The county offers several premier cycling events, including the Castle Crags Century, Siskiyou Century and the Mount Shasta Summit Century, known as “The Hardest, Prettiest Century Ride in the West.”
The Castle Crags Century offers four levels of riding, from a 96-mile ride with 8,000 feet of climbing to a 10-mile “gone fishin’” ride for the whole family. The Siskiyou Century starts out of Yreka and offers three levels of rides from a 100-mile run with a vertical gain of 4,600 feet to an easy family ride of 37 miles through the flat country roads. The Summit Century out of Mount Shasta offers at its most difficult level a 139-mile ride through beautiful country, but with a vertical gain of 16,500 feet. The Summit Century also offers three easier levels of competition. See www.cycleSiskiyou.com for detailed information on these events.
George Jennings is an avid cyclist and involved with Cycle Siskiyou, and he says Siskiyou County offers a lot of varied terrain for cyclers.
“Riding through the farmlands on roads, you could easily do 100 miles of flat, leisurely cycling,” Jennings says. “Scott Valley has hills where people come to train for the Tour de France, but every area of Siskiyou County has great cycling with different views of Mount Shasta.”
A special treat in the Mount Shasta area is the seven-mile Lake Siskiyou trail that offers forest, meadows and streams around a beautiful lake that you can dive into for a refreshing swim.
Siskiyou County offers beauty wherever you look and a bike just may be the perfect way to enjoy the incredibly varied terrain. Come up and ride for a week. You may never want to leave.