Saturday, December 2, 2023


Weed, California: It’s not what you think!

Those traveling north on Interstate 5 in Siskiyou County inevitably pass through the small town of Weed, California. I daresay a large percentage of these folks stop at The Weed Store, or another local merchant, in order to purchase what seems like an almost obligatory travel souvenir when passing through these parts, namely, an “I heart weed” T-shirt.

On my travels, I have encountered people all over the country proudly wearing the souvenir Weed, California, shirts. Interestingly, the double entendre proclamations seem to appeal to both cannabis users and abstainers alike.

But what may surprise many is the fact that the town’s name has nothing whatsoever to do with the plant. However, that has never stopped local entrepreneurs from capitalizing on the joke. (Did I mention how many times I have seen people around the country wearing Weed, California, shirts?)

view of Mt Shasta from Weed, CA

Ironically, in a state that pioneered the legalization of medical and, later, adult-use marijuana, legal “weed” dispensaries have only recently opened in Weed.

Jokes aside, the town actually got its name from its founder, pioneer Abner Weed, who discovered that the area’s strong winds were helpful in drying lumber.

In 1897, Abner Weed bought the Siskiyou Lumber and Mercantile Mill and 280 acres of land for the sum of $400. By the 1940s, the mill town of Weed, California, boasted the world’s largest sawmill!

Weed transitioned from its company town status in 1961, when it was incorporated as a General Law City.

Weed, California: The Steinbeck connection

While I was previously aware of Weed’s mill history, I was unaware of its John Steinbeck connection, until fellow writer Randall Brink enlightened me.

In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck references Weed as a real town in Northern California near Mt. Shasta.

It is the town that George and Lennie were forced to flee after Lennie terrified a girl by grabbing her dress.

Weed, California, for RVers

Harvest Hosts parking at Mt. Shasta Brewing Company, Weed, California
Harvest Hosts parking at Mt. Shasta Brewing Company, Weed, California

A stop in Weed offers RVers more than the chance to buy a funny T-shirt. Nestled in the shadows of Mt. Shasta, breathtakingly beautiful mountain scenery surrounds the town.

It’s the best place to stop until Oregon for food and fuel. A quick Google search provides a surprisingly wide array of public and private campgrounds.

However, if you are a Harvest Hosts member, I suggest forgoing these and opt instead for a night of dry camping at Mt. Shasta Brewing Company. You’ll enjoy a safe, relatively level, quiet place to park, plus a great microbrewery with lots of choices, both standard and creative. They also serve hearty snacks and bar food like the loaded brat in the photo below.

loaded brat at Mt Shasta Brewing Company in Weed, California

My favorite, at the suggestion of my amiable barkeep Zack, was the Jalapeño lager served with a splash of dill pickle juice and dill pickle spear. It might sound odd—but it was delicious, especially with the aforementioned bratwurst.

Zack, at Mt Shasta Brewing Company, Weed, California

The exceptionally friendly staff provided a lot of local suggestions, history, color, and fun.

Even the building housing the brewery is steeped in local history, as it served as the town’s dairy for decades before its current incarnation.

After a good night’s sleep, I motored off the next morning towards Williamson River National Forest campground in Oregon, but not before making note of this terrific overnight Harvest Hosts stop in Weed, as I do find myself driving through this way fairly frequently.


Cheri Sicard
Cheri Sicard
Cheri Sicard is the author 8 published books on topics as diverse as US Citizenship to Cannabis Cooking. Cheri grew up in a circus family and has been RVing on and off her entire life.



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Greg Bryant (@guest_257777)
1 month ago

We stayed a night at the Mt. Shasta Brewing Co. in Weed, CA. My sister and her husband joined us there. We had a terrific stay. Absolutely beautiful area.

Neal Davis (@guest_257730)
1 month ago

Thanks for the tips, Cheri! We rarely pass west of the Mississippi River, but I’ll keep the attractions of Weed in mind. Thankfully, it is a memorably named town. 🙂

Big RabbitMan (@guest_257718)
1 month ago

I pass through there several times a year as I grew up in California and now live in Oregon. I have fueled up and spent the night but never visited the brewery. Need to do that next time!

Alan (@guest_257682)
1 month ago

I have relatives that live in Weed and the Mt Shasta area. The Mt Shasta Brewing Co parking lot (where the Harvest Host lot is) is not flat at all. There are always RV in the lot due to its proximity just off I5 and they compete for the flattest spots. Get in early for a spot as close to the east side or bottom of the lot as possible. It is a great stop over for food and drink in the town of Weed and surrounding area.

Last edited 1 month ago by Diane McGovern
Cheri Sicard (@guest_257713)
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan

The entire lot is not flat but I had no trouble finding a flat spot there.

Donn (@guest_257749)
1 month ago
Reply to  Cheri Sicard

We were the third RV at this HH and got stuck up close to the top of that dirt lot. Had to pull up on blocks and the field was COVERED in goat head stickers. However the beer and food was GREAT. I had the Cubans sandwich and it was fantastic. My wife had the same beer with the pickle and all, liked it so much we bought 4 cans!

we love HH

if you continue north be sure to look at two in WA. Willapa Bay Heritage Farm in Long Beach. Farmer Deb is a hoot. We stayed two nights.

Cheri Sicard (@guest_257763)
1 month ago
Reply to  Donn

Will have to check it out Donn. What is the second one?

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