Siskiyou County, California

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Siskiyou County, California
County of Siskiyou
Shasta from south.jpg
West Miner Street in Yreka, CA.JPG
Indian Tom Lake, California.jpeg
Images, from top down, left to right: Mount Shasta, the historic West Miner Street in Yreka, Indian Tom Lake
Flag of Siskiyou County, California.png
Seal of Siskiyou County, California.png
"Mountains of Opportunity"
Siskiyou County, California
Interactive map of Siskiyou County
Map of California highlighting Siskiyou County.svg
Location in the state of California
Coordinates: 41°35′N122°30′W / 41.583°N 122.500°W / 41.583; -122.500 Coordinates: 41°35′N122°30′W / 41.583°N 122.500°W / 41.583; -122.500
CountryUnited States
State California
Region Shasta Cascade
Incorporated 1852
Named for The Siskiyou Trail
County seat Yreka
Largest cityYreka
  Type Council–Administrator
  ChairEd Valenzuela
  Vice ChairMichael N. Kobseff
  Board of Supervisors [1]
  • Brandon Criss
  • Ed Valenzuela
  • Michael N. Kobseff
  • Nancy Ogren
  • Ray A. Haupt
  County AdministratorTerry Barber
  Total6,347 sq mi (16,440 km2)
  Land6,278 sq mi (16,260 km2)
  Water69 sq mi (180 km2)
Highest elevation
14,162 ft (4,317 m)
  Density6.9/sq mi (2.7/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)
  Summer (DST) UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Area code 530
FIPS code06-093
GNIS feature ID 277311

Siskiyou County ( /ˈsɪskj/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ), SISK-yoo) is a county in the northernmost part of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 44,076. [3] Its county seat is Yreka and its highest point is Mount Shasta. [4] It falls within the Cascadia bioregion. [5]


Siskiyou County is in the Shasta Cascade region along with the Oregon border. Because of its outdoor recreation, Mt. Shasta, McCloud River, and Gold Rush era history, it is an important tourist destination within the state.[ citation needed ]


Siskiyou County was created on March 22, 1852, from parts of Shasta and Klamath Counties, and named after the Siskiyou mountain range. Parts of the county's territory were given to Modoc County in 1855.

The county is the site of the central section of the Siskiyou Trail, which ran between California's Central Valley and the Pacific Northwest. The Siskiyou Trail followed indigenous footpaths, and was extended by Hudson's Bay Company trappers in the 1830s. Its length was increased by "Forty-Niners" during the California Gold Rush.

After the discovery of an important gold strike near today's Yreka, California, in 1851, prospectors flooded the area. This was described in detail by Joaquin Miller in his semi-autobiographical novel Life Amongst the Modocs.

In the mid-1880s, the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad along the Siskiyou Trail brought the first wave of tourism. Visitors were drawn by the county's many summer resorts, and to hunt or fish in the largely untouched region. The Southern Pacific railroad, the successor to the Central Pacific, called its rail line “The Road of A Thousand Wonders.”

In the early 1940s, Siskiyou County was home to the semi-serious State of Jefferson movement, which sought to create a new state from several counties of northern California and the adjoining counties of southern Oregon. The movement has seen a revival in recent years.

The origin of the word Siskiyou is not known. It may be a Chinook Jargon word for a "bob-tailed horse" (ultimately originating in Cree), [6] or as was argued before the State Senate in 1852, from the French Six Cailloux (six stones), a name given to a ford on the Umpqua River by Michel Laframboise and his Hudson's Bay Company trappers in 1832. Others claim the Six Cailloux name was appropriated by Stephen Meek, another Hudson's Bay Company trapper who discovered Scott Valley, for a crossing on the Klamath River near Hornbrook.

The county is home to the Black Bear Ranch, a commune started in 1968 with the slogan "Free Land for free people."

On September 4, 2013, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to secede from the State of California. [7]


Mossbrae Falls, near Dunsmuir, California Mossbrae falls.jpg
Mossbrae Falls, near Dunsmuir, California

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,347 square miles (16,440 km2), of which 6,278 square miles (16,260 km2) is land and 69 square miles (180 km2) (1.1%) is water. [8] It is the fifth-largest county by area in California.[ citation needed ]

Siskiyou County is geographically diverse. From towering Mount Shasta (elev. 14,179 ft/(4,322 m)) near the center of the county, to lakes and dense forests, as well as desert, chaparral, and memorable waterfalls, the county is home to world-famous trout-fishing rivers and streams, such as the Sacramento and McCloud rivers. The county is dotted as well with lakes and reservoirs, [9] such as Castle Lake and Lake Siskiyou. Mount Shasta itself has a winter sports center. Pastoral Scott Valley in the western part of the county has many wide, tree-lined meadows, supporting large cattle ranches. The basins of northeastern Siskiyou County, including Butte Valley, Lower Klamath and Tule Lake basins, have some of the deepest and richest soils in the state, producing alfalfa, potatoes, horseradish, and brewing barley. Butte Valley nurseries are the leading source of premium strawberry plants in North America. Much of the county is densely forested with pine, fir, incense-cedar, oak, and madrone; Siskiyou County is also home to the rare Baker's Cypress Tree, Cupressus bakeri, which grows in only eleven scattered locations in the world, five of which are in Siskiyou County. The county's natural resources are most often used these days for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, camping, and wilderness recreation, as historic logging practices have been largely discontinued due to Federal and State environmental regulations. The county's water is viewed as sufficiently pure and abundant that the county is a source of significant amounts of bottled water, distributed throughout the country. A large Crystal Geyser plant is at the base of Mt. Shasta, near Weed.

Flora and fauna

Substantial amounts of the county are forested within the Siskiyou and Cascade Ranges, including significant oak woodland and mixed conifer forests. Siskiyou County is the northern extent of the range for California Buckeye, [10] a widespread California endemic. The Klamath National Forest occupies 1,700,000 acres (6,900 km2) of land which includes elements in Siskiyou County as well as Jackson County, Oregon. [11]

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Cristobalite on obsidian, found near Lava Beds National Monument. Cristobalite-Fayalite-40050.jpg
Cristobalite on obsidian, found near Lava Beds National Monument.


Southern Pacific 4449 at Bray, en route to Railfair 1981. SP 4449 and 3208 at Bray April 26 1981xrp - Flickr - drewj1946.jpg
Southern Pacific 4449 at Bray, en route to Railfair 1981.

Major highways

Public transportation

Siskiyou Transit And General Express (STAGE) [12] operates buses connecting the more populated areas of the county. Amtrak trains stop in Dunsmuir. Amtrak California motorcoaches operate from Sacramento and Medford, OR, with stops in Yreka, Weed, Mount Shasta, and Dunsmuir, for passengers connecting to and from Amtrak trains in Sacramento or Stockton.


Siskiyou County owns and operates Butte Valley Airport, Happy Camp Airport, Scott Valley Airport, Siskiyou County Airport and Weed Airport (all general aviation). Dunsmuir Municipal-Mott Airport and Montague-Yreka Rohrer Field are also within the county.

The closest airports for commercial domestic plane departures are Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport north of the county in Medford, Oregon, Crater Lake–Klamath Regional Airport, northeast of the county in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Redding Municipal Airport south of the county in Redding, California.


Voter registration statistics

Cities by population and voter registration


Siskiyou is a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964; however, Bill Clinton won a plurality of votes in 1992.

United States presidential election results for Siskiyou County, California [15]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
2020 13,29056.62%9,59340.87%5892.51%
2016 11,34155.34%7,23435.30%1,9189.36%
2012 11,07755.40%8,04640.24%8704.35%
2008 11,52053.42%9,29243.09%7523.49%
2004 12,67360.64%7,88037.71%3461.66%
2000 12,19861.55%6,32331.90%1,2986.55%
1996 8,65347.30%7,02238.39%2,61814.31%
1992 6,66032.21%8,25439.91%5,76527.88%
1988 9,05650.88%8,36547.00%3762.11%
1984 10,54458.25%7,13039.39%4272.36%
1980 9,33155.75%5,66433.84%1,74310.41%
1976 7,07048.37%7,06048.31%4853.32%
1972 7,56351.46%6,43443.78%6994.76%
1968 6,33446.13%6,26045.59%1,1388.29%
1964 5,18636.18%9,12663.66%230.16%
1960 6,27942.95%8,24556.40%960.66%
1956 6,84149.79%6,83749.76%630.46%
1952 8,73555.69%6,80043.35%1510.96%
1948 5,31542.53%6,74954.00%4343.47%
1944 4,35142.15%5,91457.29%580.56%
1940 4,38735.92%7,71463.17%1110.91%
1936 2,91929.46%6,86569.28%1251.26%
1932 2,45826.76%6,36769.33%3593.91%
1928 3,75855.49%2,91643.06%981.45%
1924 2,43740.58%5849.73%2,98449.69%
1920 2,90960.05%1,50231.01%4338.94%
1916 2,05934.13%3,44757.15%5268.72%
1912 290.58%2,46549.57%2,47949.85%
1908 1,81347.40%1,65743.32%3559.28%
1904 2,10459.67%1,21934.57%2035.76%
1900 1,89852.36%1,66846.01%591.63%
1896 1,47344.98%1,72452.64%782.38%
1892 1,49346.27%1,60549.74%1294.00%

Siskiyou County is in California's 1st congressional district , represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa. [16]

In the state legislature Siskiyou is in the 1st Senate District , represented by Republican Brian Dahle, [17] and the 1st Assembly District , represented by Republican Megan Dahle. [18]

On November 4, 2008, Siskiyou County voted 60.1% for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages. Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta voted against Prop 8. [ citation needed ]

On September 3, 2013, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4–1 in favor of secession from California to form a proposed state named Jefferson. [19] [20] A similar move was made in 1941, but was shelved due to the attack on Pearl Harbor. [21]


The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.

Cities by population and crime rates



Places by population, race, and income


Historical population
1860 7,629
1870 6,848−10.2%
1880 8,61025.7%
1890 12,16341.3%
1900 16,96239.5%
1910 18,80110.8%
1920 18,545−1.4%
1930 25,48037.4%
1940 28,59812.2%
1950 30,7337.5%
1960 32,8857.0%
1970 33,2251.0%
1980 39,73219.6%
1990 43,5319.6%
2000 44,3011.8%
2010 44,9001.4%
2020 44,076−1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census [30]
1790-1960 [31] 1900-1990 [32]
1990-2000 [33] 2010-2015 [3]

The 2010 United States Census reported Siskiyou County had a population of 44,900. The racial makeup of Siskiyou County was 38,030 (84.7%) White, 571 (1.3%) African American, 1,814 (4.0%) Native American, 540 (1.2%) Asian, 80 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 1,491 (3.3%) from other races, and 2,374 (5.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4,615 persons (10.3%). [34]


As of the census [35] of 2000, there were 44,301 people, 18,556 households, and 12,228 families residing in the county. The population density was 7/sq mi (3/km2). There were 21,947 housing units at an average density of 4/sq mi (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 87.1% White, 1.3% Black or African American, 3.9% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.8% from other races, and 3.7% from two or more races. 7.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.5% were of German, 12.0% English, 9.8% Irish, 9.5% American and 7.1% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 91.7% spoke English and 5.7% Spanish as their first language. As of March 2012, the largest self-reported ancestry groups in Siskiyou County are 15% German, 13% English, 12% Irish and 6% Italian. [36]

There were 18,556 households, out of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.1% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 24.0% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 28.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.1 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,530, and the median income for a family was $36,890. Males had a median income of $31,936 versus $22,650 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,570. About 14.0% of families and 18.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.6% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.


Siskiyou County map.PNG


Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2020 census of Siskiyou County.

county seat

RankCity/Town/etc.Municipal typePopulation (2020 Census)
1 Yreka City7,807
2 Mount Shasta City3,223
3 Weed City2,862
4 Lake Shastina CDP2,401
5 Dunsmuir City1,707
6 Montague City1,226
7 McCloud CDP945
8 Happy Camp CDP905
9 Tulelake City902
10 Dorris City860
11 Fort Jones City695
12 Etna City678
13 Karuk Reservation [38] AIAN 578
14 Grenada CDP314
15 Hornbrook CDP266
16 Greenview CDP208
17 Quartz Valley Reservation [39] AIAN 202
18 Carrick CDP143
19 Mount Hebron CDP103
20 Gazelle CDP95
21 Macdoel CDP86
22 Edgewood CDP72
23 Tennant CDP63

See also


  1. 1 2 Percentage of registered voters with respect to total population. Percentages of party members with respect to registered voters follow.
  2. Only larceny-theft cases involving property over $400 in value are reported as property crimes.
  3. Other = Some other race + Two or more races
  4. Native American = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander + American Indian or Alaska Native

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shasta County, California</span> County in California, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trinity County, California</span> County in California, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dunsmuir, California</span> City in the state of California, United States

Dunsmuir is a city in Siskiyou County, northern California. It is on the upper Sacramento River in the Trinity Mountains. Its population is 1,707 as of the 2020 census, up from 1,650 from the 2010 census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Weed, California</span> City in California, United States

Weed is a city in Siskiyou County, California, United States. As of the 2020 Census, the city had a total population of 2,862, down from 2,967 in 2010. There are several unincorporated communities adjacent to, or just outside, Weed proper, including Edgewood, Carrick, and Lake Shastina. These communities generally have mailing addresses that use Weed or its ZIP code. Weed is about 10 miles (16 km) west-northwest of Mount Shasta, a prominent northern California landmark, and the second-tallest volcano in the Cascade Range.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yreka, California</span> City in the state of California, United States

Yreka is the county seat of Siskiyou County, California, United States, near the Shasta River; the city has an area of about 10 square miles (26 km2), most of it land. As of the 2020 United States Census, the population was 7,807, reflecting a meager increase from 7,765 counted in the 2010 Census. Yreka is home to the College of the Siskiyous, Klamath National Forest Interpretive Museum and the Siskiyou County Museum.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Butte Valley National Grassland</span> Protected area in Siskiyou County, California

Butte Valley National Grassland is a 18,425-acre (7,456 ha) United States National Grassland located in northern California. Administered by the United States Forest Service, Klamath National Forest, it is located in northern Siskiyou County, near the Oregon border, between the communities of Dorris and Macdoel along U.S. Highway 97. It was dedicated in July 1991 as the nation's 20th National Grassland. It is administered as part of the Klamath National Forest, and is the sole National Grassland in California and in Region 5 of the Forest Service. Administrative offices are located in Macdoel, California.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Siskiyou Trail</span>

The Siskiyou Trail stretched from California's Central Valley to Oregon's Willamette Valley; modern-day Interstate 5 follows this pioneer path. Originally based on existing Native American foot trails winding their way through river valleys, the Siskiyou Trail provided the shortest practical travel path between early settlements in California and Oregon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Klamath National Forest</span> National forest in California, US

Klamath National Forest is a 1,737,774-acre national forest, in the Klamath Mountains and Cascade Range, located in Siskiyou County in northern California, but with a tiny extension into southern Jackson County in Oregon. The forest contains continuous stands of ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, Douglas fir, red fir, white fir, lodgepole pine, Baker Cypress, and incense cedar. Old growth forest is estimated to cover some 168,000 acres (680 km2) of the forest land. Forest headquarters are located in Yreka, California. There are local ranger district offices located in Fort Jones, Happy Camp, and Macdoel, all in California. The Klamath was established on May 6, 1905. This forest includes the Kangaroo Lake and the Sawyers Bar Catholic Church is located within the boundaries of the Forest. The Forest is managed jointly with the Butte Valley National Grassland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Area code 530</span> Area code for parts of northern California

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Klamath Basin</span> Region in the U.S. states of Oregon and California drained by the Klamath River

The Klamath Basin is the region in the U.S. states of Oregon and California drained by the Klamath River. It contains most of Klamath County and parts of Lake and Jackson counties in Oregon, and parts of Del Norte, Humboldt, Modoc, Siskiyou, and Trinity counties in California. The 15,751-square-mile (40,790 km2) drainage basin is 35% in Oregon and 65% in California. In Oregon, the watershed typically lies east of the Cascade Range, while California contains most of the river's segment that passes through the mountains. In the Oregon-far northern California segment of the river, the watershed is semi-desert at lower elevations and dry alpine in the upper elevations. In the western part of the basin, in California, however, the climate is more of temperate rainforest, and the Trinity River watershed consists of a more typical alpine climate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red Buttes Wilderness</span> Protected wilderness area in California and Oregon, United States

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Further reading