You may not spot a Sasquatch on this route, but you will definitely encounter beautiful forests and winding rivers
Known as the “Gateway to Big Country” thanks to its position as the southernmost point of the Bigfoot Scenic Byway, the town of Willow Creek fully embraces its nickname. A certain hairy hominid stands guard outside almost every establishment and is featured as the main attraction in gift shops, museums, restaurants, and hotels. Visit the kitschy-cool Willow Creek-China Flat Museum to study Sasquatch photos and supposed footprint casts.
Grab breakfast at the Bigfoot Steakhouse where two pancakes topped with two eggs should fill you up nicely for the drive ahead.
The Hoopa people have called the banks of the Trinity River home for more than 1,000 years. Today, the Hoopa Valley Reservation is a thriving community that honors the tribe’s long-held traditions of fishing, basketry, and horn carving. Visitors are welcome at the Hoopa Valley Museum where hundreds of artifacts, including colorful baby baskets and dentenia shell capes are on display. Check the schedule for upcoming classes like traditional dress sewing and bow-quiver crafting.
Located near the E-Ne-Nuk Campground in Six Rivers National Forest, the Bluff Creek Historic Trail is a wonderful way to experience the majesty of the mighty Klamath. Look for signs just off of the Bigfoot Scenic Byway and get ready for a climb. The 1.25-mile uphill trek rewards with a lovely view of the river (cerulean waters, green mountains, rocky riverbeds). Make sure your camera is handy: You’re not far off from where two filmmakers captured famous footage of a supposed female Sasquatch in action. The infamous Patterson–Gimlin tape, shot in 1967, sparked a still-simmering debate about the existence of the mythic simian.
First home to the Karuk Tribe, Orleans was known as Panamik before the miners renamed the town in the mid-19th century. The first post office was established in 1857 and aside from roads and real estate, there’s been blessedly little build-up since. If you’re looking to unplug, book a cabin at Sandy Bar Ranch where guests can help milk the goats in the morning before moseying down to the Klamath River to fish, kayak, or swim. Even if you’re just passing through Orleans, you should stop to take a stroll over the pretty suspension bridge to search for frolicking otters and running steelhead below.
As the name suggests, this tiny town off the Bigfoot Scenic Byway boasts glassy water just begging for a dip. In the summer, locals flock to two popular Clear Creek swimming holes. The first and easiest to access can be found right off the byway. Look for an old country store across the street you’ll find the perfect place to splash around. For a more secluded swim, head to the No Mans Trailhead, located about 8 miles off the main road. Hike along the river for a mile and you’ll find a natural pool with water so clear you can see all the way to the bottom.
The little town of Happy Camp marks the northern edge of the Bigfoot Scenic Byway. The town was named as such by satisfied miners and it retains its joyful spirit to this day. Stop in at Marble Mountain Gifts Co. to try a banana-bread latté before taking a Sasquatch selfie next to the 12-foot-tall statue, made entirely of scrap metal. As you’re driving into Happy Camp, heading north, keep your eyes peeled for Wyman Gulch, located just south of town. Hidden behind the pull-out is a roadside waterfall with a single stone bench, perfect for quiet reflection.
The Seiad Cafe, a PCT favorite, serves hearty sandwiches and breakfast all day. If you can finish five “challenge-sized” pancakes within two hours, your meal’s on the house.
This former gold rush hotspot marks the northernmost border of Shasta Valley. Get a sense of Yreka’s boomtown past on Miner Street, where historic buildings now house charming little shops and restaurants. Find locally roasted beans and something to read in Zephyr Books & Coffee. Kids will love bellying up to the counter and ordering an old timey ice cream soda at Shasta’s Chocolate Emporium. Adults may prefer Etna Brewery and Tap House, which serves organic craft beer in a family-friendly setting. Don’t miss the Siskiyou County Museum where a $3 entry fee gives you access to Native American artifacts, antique firearms, and early transportation vehicles in the 2.5-acre outdoor gallery.
While in Yreka, stop in for a pint at Etna Brewery and Tap House, serving organic craft beer in a family friendly setting. Honor your wild ride with a toast to Sasquatch and an ice-cold Blackberry Blonde.