by Shasta Cascade on February 1, 2009

Yreka, CA is the seat of Siskiyou County. It’s located alongside I-5 about 20 miles south of the Oregon/California border.

It’s population is about 7,290 and the town is located at the 2,500 foot elevation. It’s climate can be describe as high-desert. It’s often hot and dry during the summer. The surrounding landscape is filled with rock and sagebrush.

Yreka has a charming old down section of downtown which looks straight out of the 1880’s. You can find a number of bars, galleries and restaurants. Most of the rest of the town seems to be filled with tattoo parlors, cheap hotels, and various other services like well drilling companies and chain saw dealerships.

Most often, Yreka is used by I-5 travelers to spend the night because there’s not much to do in town. It’s also used by travelers as a jumping off point to explore regions and wildernesses to the south and to the west.

Also, there’s not much to explore east of Yreka, unless you’re willing to drive long distances. Most land to the east is filled with ranches that stretch as far as the eye can see. The spectacular Lava Beds National Monument is located about 50 miles east of Yreka, but to get there by car it’s a 122 mile drive because there’s no direct road. (It’s better accessed by Highway 97 from Weed, about 30 minutes south of Yreka).

Since Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax, many people hop over the border to do their shopping. (Legally, California residents are supposed to report these purchases and pay tax on them, but few do). If you intend on getting supplies in Yreka, there is a Walmart there.

Overall, Yreka is a good place to spend the night on the way to other destinations.

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