Sacramento River
Redding, California

Sacramento River, its the longest in California. Its fed by the Trinity Alps and the Shasta Lake to the North. Now the smooth currents have a tranquil charm all its own, but don't be fooled, its rated Class 1 on the international scale of river difficulty. But it only has occasional small waves, usually its clear passages have no serious obstacles.

Now you put in at Jelly's Ferry above Red Bluff for a nine mile float down to the Bend Bridge boat ramp. Along the way you will enjoy a landscape rich in natural and cultural history.

The tranquility of the river belies the violent origins of the landscape for which it flows. The rocky cliffs and outcrops testifies to the regions volcanic past. Remnants of lava flows can still be seen along stretches of shoreline. Down river you will see just about everything. The shoreline changes from sandy beach and riverside forest to rocky cliffs and slopes. The lush riverside forest growing alongside the banks provides food and cover for wildlife. Stands of oak, cottonwood, and willow are home to blacktail deer, river otters, and an occasional bobcat. Osprey are common along the river, even nesting on an occasional power pole And if you keep a sharp eye you'll see deer browsing in the willows. Maybe a turtle basking on the sandy bank. The majestic great blue heron fishes the shallows while a turkey vulture soars overhead.

The Sacramento River is a magnet for those seeking to escape the summer heat. The cool blue green waters attractive to swimmers and boaters, that fly the current, and kayaks, canoes, and rafts. There is great shoreline fishing for salmon, steelhead and trout. Sandy stretches along the riverbank provide excellent sites for picnicking, camping, hiking, and wildlife watching.

Now don't forget the native cultures lived along this portion of the Sacramento at one time. The Midu and Wintu people left signs of their presence in the area, sometimes in very unusual places, like the prehistoric petroglyph carved into this rock in the middle of the river, the images of silent testimony of a very different time.

Now you may want to stop along the way and take a little hike. Overlooks along the Sacramento River offer a sweeping vista surrounding landscape. Now you can see how the river has carved its way down the volcanic rock. Now gaze down among the meandering current and just listen to the sound of the water below.

Take another moment to examine the gnarled bark of an oak, or the delicate petals of a wildflower. Just relax and explore. The Sacramento River, transports you to a different time and a different place.