Categorized | Northern California

Feather River Canyon

In mid-March, Mountain Man decided that we should take a drive around the Feather River Canyon. I had actually never heard of it, even though it is a very well-known travel destination.

The Feather River is one of the main tributaries of the Sacramento River. It was a rich source of gold mining in the 19th century and later, the Western Pacific Railroad operated a railroad through the Feather River canyon. This route was selected because it leads to a low pass over the Sierra Nevada mountains. It was built between 1906-09 to compete with the Central Pacific Railroad which had a monopoly on the rail service in Northern California. The build was evidently miserable and expensive, due to the fact that it was almost impossible to access the construction site, coupled with unpredictable weather, and high labor turnover.

Our trip started in the Redding area.  We went to check out Lassen Park, which was still pretty snowed over, however, the visitors center was open and bathrooms were available. They were heated and so nice and warm that I was willing to just stop and stay there for awhile.

Lassen Park Visitor Center

After our stop, we continued driving through some beautiful scenery and soon hit the canyon. One of the most outstanding elements of the canyon was all the water.  Coming from a water-starved part of the state (which has now been resolved during a recent period of record rainstorms) seeing all this water was a distinct pleasure.

dam and mountain view


feather river waterfall

One of the trip highlights was a stop at the Keddie Wye. Actually, we parked across the highway from it at a turnout.  Mountain Man put on his orange vest and listened carefully to the sounds of the road.  When it was clear, we ran across to take a peek.  The Keddie Wye, named for the fact that it is literally a “Y” shape, was built to join the east-west Feather River Route with a branch line (the “Inside Gateway”) north to Bieber. The Keddie part comes from  Arthur Keddie, who originally purchased the survey rights and the right to build a railroad through the Feather River Canyon. Evidently, if you are a train fan, this “Y” shaped junction is fan destination. Although I am not particularly railroad oriented in that way, I can appreciate the planning, the engineering, and the hard, hard work it took to put this project together. The Keddie Wye is just one example of that.

Keddie Wye

We stopped in Belden at the Eby Stamp Mill which is a type of mill machine that crushes material by pounding rather than grinding for extraction of metallic ores. The Eby Stamp Mill is also part of the Pacific Crest Trail.  There was a geocache hidden in the stamp mill.  I used my powers of deduction based on clues given on the geocache site to guide Mountain Man to the find.

bey stamp mill

Pacific Crest Trail Sign

In one of the small towns we stopped for lunch at a Mexican restaurant. The food was fine at the time, but during the course of the trip I started feeling worse and worse. By the next day I had one of the worst cases of food poisoning I have ever experienced. Not so great. Never went to the doctor, just toughed it out, drank a lot, took pain pills and slept. While looking back at the trip, I went to check out which restaurant it was.  I see that it has since closed and had low Yelp reviews. Some of the reviewers mentioned it was not clean and someone who ate there about a month before we did mentioned getting sick also. Did not diminish the wonder of this trip at all, just made me think about the type of food I should choose while on the road.I tend to go to chains usually when I am on the road, or get things from the supermarket, or often bring my own. I know that chains can somewhat diminish the experience, but after that food poisoning episode I have no problems diminishing the experience by eating generic food from generic locations. Trust me.

We ended up in Oroville for dinner.  I did not have any dinner because the Mexican lunch was already working it’s magic, but Mountain Man enjoyed his pizza at Mountain Mike’s.

We talked about returning for the fall season to take photos of the colors changing, but life has changed for both of us and we did not return.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *