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Stories from the valley

Sacramento River Exploration: Final Discoveries

Contributed by Lewis Kemper

Based on the recommendations of my guide, Lance Law of North Country Raft Rental, we decided to explore two areas of Clear Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River. The first area we visited was the confluence of Clear Creek and the Sacramento River.  Where these two bodies of water meet there are some islands that create several backwater channels on the Sacramento River that are easy to explore by kayak. In this area I found beaver ponds, white pelicans, herons, mergansers, mallards and even a bald eagle! The Gorge, Clear Creek 4000-150506-_KDX8830-EditBecause the islands block the strong force of the main river channel we were able to paddle all around with little challenge. The biggest challenge was crossing over the beaver dam in both directions, but that added to the excitement of the morning!

These quieter waters were more conducive for the waterfowl and I found lots to photograph in this area.  When we first put in there were three American White Pelicans floating in a calm area ahead of us, I was able to get a few pictures from a distance but they didn’t stick around long enough to allow me to get close. Of course the biggest thrill was looking up and spotting a bald eagle in a large pine overlooking the channel we were in. It reminded me to look in all directions, because you never know what you will see, and what is watching you!

Lewis Kemper 4000-150504-_KDX8317-EditThe second section of Clear Creek was located about five miles up Clear Creek Road from Hwy 273; in an area know as The Gorge. This was a really spectacular area where Clear Creek cascades down a narrow gorge with steep cliffs and many boulders, creating many dramatic rapids and falls. This area offers many great hikes and there are several access points off the road that lead to the creek, so you can hike a long distance if you have a partner and two cars. We hiked along the gorge and found many great views and some trails that led down to the creek. This was one of the most scenic creeks I have ever seen and would recommend anyone coming to the Redding area to go check it out.

This area of Northern California offers so much for a curious explorer. From the famed Sundial Bridge (I recommend going for sunset and staying until it lights up!), to the raging Sacramento River with it’s rafting and boating adventures, to the quiet waters and spectacular gorge of Clear Creek and outdoor enthusiast will be enthralled by what they find.