This Hike Takes You To A Place Northern California's First Residents Left Behind
Editor’s Note: Due to the devastation caused by the 2018 Carr Fire, many parts of Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, including this one, are currently closed. You can check which parts of the park are open to the public by going to the National Park Service website here.
There’s no denying that our state’s existence is largely due to the California Gold Rush that took place during the mid nineteenth century. This historic era brought hundreds of thousands of people to the area and catapulted California to statehood. This is why it’s so thrilling to come across places that have been left behind by the state’s very first miners and prospectors. These sites are a fascinating reminder of our roots and visiting them is always a pleasure. The Tower House Historic District Loop takes hikers to an amazing spot that has long been abandoned by some of Northern California’s first residents. Both nature lovers and history enthusiasts won’t be able to resist this simple but incredible hike.
You'll find this wonderful historic district hidden in Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area. The hike is just a 1.1-mile loop trail which takes you through a beautiful and peaceful forest setting.
The hike begins near Willow Creek in French Gulch, California. You'll instantly start to feel far away from the noise of the bustling crowds at nearby Whiskeytown Lake. In fact, this area of the forest is incredibly silent.
With only the sound of the rushing creek below you, this is one of the most tranquil hikes in the area. The hike itself is very simple, with a wide and flat trail that is easy for all hikers.
One of the first notable areas you'll come across is the historic Camden House. The house was constructed in 1852 by Charles Camden, one of the first gold-seekers in the area. Tours are given of this incredibly preserved house during the summertime.
After viewing the Camden House, you'll continue down the trail where you'll be led through a shaded area that is surrounded by trees and foliage. This area is considered a fantastic birding spot with unique species like Lesser Goldfinch, Steller’s Jay, Bullock’s Oriole, and more that are known to dwell here.
You'll find that there is plenty to explore in the area, with signs pointing you in various directions. The gravesite of Levi Tower is definitely worth a visit. Tower is the other individual who owned much of the land in the area. In fact, Tower built a hotel that became one of the most popular stopping places near Whiskeytown.
As you continue down the trail, an old barn will come into view. The barn was built in 1913 and accommodated a caretaker for the Camden family at the time. Today it serves as the quarters for a National Park Service employee.
By far the most fascinating spot along the trail is the old El Dorado Mine. The mine was never considered a huge producer of gold or silver, but today it remains rich with history. Both the stamp mill and the blacksmith shed are still standing and they are an incredible sight to witness.
You'll even find several ore carts sitting inside the blacksmith's shed. It's been well over a century that these carts have been used, and seeing them sitting vacant in this forest setting is both eerie and incredible.
The Gold Rush may have ended long ago, but it's the places these miners left behind that remind us where our roots lie. Hiking to this hidden spot is a must for all Northern Californians.
Are you ready to find this delightful historic district? Click
to be taken to the trail map.
Have you hiked the Tower House Historic District Loop? What a cool place! You don’t see sites like these very often anymore. If you love finding places like this one, then you should check out these
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