McCloud River California

This trip was to the McCloud river in northern California. It’s located north and east of Redding near Mt. Shasta. The river is one of three that flow into Shasta Lake.

View of the McCloud river from the road

View of the McCloud river from the road - Nature photography by Alan

Click “More” to see the rest of this article and photos

Getting to the river is pretty straight forward. Just take I-5 to Hwy 89 east. Take hwy 89 to the town of McCloud and then turn south on Squaw Valley Road. Squaw Vally road will take you to the McCloud lake and from there follow the signs toward the forest service camp ground “Ah Di Na”. The road has had some slides and a couple of trees have fallen across it in the past but there is plenty of room to get around those. We went past the campground and found a place to camp right on the river just about a 1/2 mile down the road.

Right now, you will see loads of flowering plants along the road including dogwood and redbud.

Road to the river

Road to the river

It’s a great drive and the scenes change quite a bit as you travel along.

Misty mountains

Misty mountains near McCloud river

The camping was pretty good for the most part. The trip up and most of Monday were both sunny and fairly warm. There was rain Monday night and the rest of the trip had a bit of a mix of rain and partly cloudy days. The only bad part of the whole trip was the last night when I managed to crack a tooth in half while eating supper! I was lucky enough to find a great dentist in Vallejo CA the next day to get that taken care of. See the end of this article for full praise for that dentist!

There is a huge black tail deer population and several visited the camp site even coming right into the camp!

Black tail doe visits the camp

Black tail doe visits the camp

The guy in the photo is my friend Soren. This doe simply came right into camp in broad daylight and started looking for a snack!

Black tail doe

Black tail doe

The visits from the deer were a fairly regular thing and we even saw a doe and young yearling buck stroll up to the tent.

Other critters I found signs of were raccoon, bear, squirrel, moles, and gophers. Keep this in mind when camping and take required precautions.

I did a very small amount of gold panning as well. Though I didn’t get very serious with it, I did find a couple of very tiny flakes. Don’t go thinking that you should run up there and file a claim though. The river in that area is not open to dredging and panning would not at all be profitable.

I took a few more photos so here they are! Enjoy!

Dogwood

Dogwood in bloom

mccloud-flowerriver-02river-03river-flower

Now, as for that dentist who rescued me from some serious tooth pain, Dr. Joshua Walker D.D.S. of Vallejo, CA was just fantastic! On very short notice, he was still able to take all the time needed to ensure that I felt NO PAIN during the procedure. The tooth needed to be pulled and I have to say that the entire thing was the most comfortable I have been in a dentist office in a very long time. The office he works in is the CrossRoads Dental Care and is owned by Vincent P. Lim D.D.S. If you ever find yourself in need of a good dentist in Vallejo CA, give these folks a call!

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18 Responses to McCloud River California

  1. Bobby says:

    Hi there…actually been wanted to get away from civilization for quite some time…but i really do not want to go to a place where i will see a vast majority of humans….sounds mean but i feel that i need to venture off and try something new and isolated to grow. do you know of any undeveloped grounds in northern california? and how would you recommend getting there?

  2. Bobby says:

    Hi there…actually been wanted to get away from civilization for quite some time…but i really do not want to go to a place where i will see a vast majority of humans….sounds mean but i feel that i need to venture off and try something new and isolated to grow. do you know of any undeveloped grounds in northern california? and how would you recommend getting there?

  3. Bobby says:

    oh and preferably a place where they do not charge

    • admin says:

      I don’t know where in Northern California you are willing to go or where you will be starting out from. I can suggest a few areas in the Tahoe National forest or a couple of places in the Mendocino National forest.

      The way I work things is go get the best map I can find and study it in detail to find a place that looks good on the map. Once I have a spot or area picked out, I go there and look around quite a bit to find my camping spot.

      A little know thing about National Forests is that you can camp almost anywhere you want. You are not limited to a campground! The only time you have to pay to camp in the National Forests is when you stay in a developed campground.

      Also, pay a visit to a BLM office and pick up a map showing BLM owned land. You can camp on BLM land without paying and it is usually less used than the National Forests.

      If Nevada isn’t out of range for you, head over the mountains! Most of my posts on the blog here are of Nevada wilderness areas so perhaps you can get some good ideas from those.

      Good luck!

  4. Bobby says:

    oh and preferably a place where they do not charge

    • admin says:

      I don’t know where in Northern California you are willing to go or where you will be starting out from. I can suggest a few areas in the Tahoe National forest or a couple of places in the Mendocino National forest.

      The way I work things is go get the best map I can find and study it in detail to find a place that looks good on the map. Once I have a spot or area picked out, I go there and look around quite a bit to find my camping spot.

      A little know thing about National Forests is that you can camp almost anywhere you want. You are not limited to a campground! The only time you have to pay to camp in the National Forests is when you stay in a developed campground.

      Also, pay a visit to a BLM office and pick up a map showing BLM owned land. You can camp on BLM land without paying and it is usually less used than the National Forests.

      If Nevada isn’t out of range for you, head over the mountains! Most of my posts on the blog here are of Nevada wilderness areas so perhaps you can get some good ideas from those.

      Good luck!

  5. brthomas says:

    Camping at Ah Di Na is great, but next time you are in the area you should try the McCloud River upstream from Lake McCloud. When we kayak the McCloud River Upper Run we like to camp at Fowler’s Campground. From Fowler’s there is a trail upstream that goes to Upper Falls and Middle Falls and a trail downstream to visit the Lower Falls.

    Much of the river is inaccessible due to private property, so kayaking is about the only way to see many parts of it. Here is our McCloud River kayaking trip report and our McCloud River kayaking photos from my most recent trip there.

    • admin says:

      I’ll have to look into the upper McCloud. It may be quite a while before I get there though. Way too much open land in Nevada I still need to explore. My California trips are usually tailored so that I can take a friend of mine camping in a “less strenuous” manner.

  6. brthomas says:

    Camping at Ah Di Na is great, but next time you are in the area you should try the McCloud River upstream from Lake McCloud. When we kayak the McCloud River Upper Run we like to camp at Fowler’s Campground. From Fowler’s there is a trail upstream that goes to Upper Falls and Middle Falls and a trail downstream to visit the Lower Falls.

    Much of the river is inaccessible due to private property, so kayaking is about the only way to see many parts of it. Here is our McCloud River kayaking trip report and our McCloud River kayaking photos from my most recent trip there.

    • admin says:

      I’ll have to look into the upper McCloud. It may be quite a while before I get there though. Way too much open land in Nevada I still need to explore. My California trips are usually tailored so that I can take a friend of mine camping in a “less strenuous” manner.

  7. eddiey says:

    My daughter lives in McCloud and I have spent much time around the McCloud River. The lower falls are considreed on the the 10 best swimming holes in the US.

    I’ve also done a little hiking in Nevada, particularly the Ruby Mountains (not exactly “out of the way”), and Baker Lake in Great Basin National Park (very much out of the way). Fantastic hikes, both. My favorite place in Nevada is the Virgin Valley, by Denio, where they have the opal mines.

    And BTW, is you’ve ever wondered whether getting sweat in your eyes can do bad things to them, and what to do about it, check out a blog called “What is the Eye?” Great information.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the comment and the suggestions on other places to explore! I’ll get there one of these days but I never know where I am headed until about 2 days before I go!

  8. eddiey says:

    My daughter lives in McCloud and I have spent much time around the McCloud River. The lower falls are considreed on the the 10 best swimming holes in the US.

    I’ve also done a little hiking in Nevada, particularly the Ruby Mountains (not exactly “out of the way”), and Baker Lake in Great Basin National Park (very much out of the way). Fantastic hikes, both. My favorite place in Nevada is the Virgin Valley, by Denio, where they have the opal mines.

    And BTW, is you’ve ever wondered whether getting sweat in your eyes can do bad things to them, and what to do about it, check out a blog called “What is the Eye?” Great information.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the comment and the suggestions on other places to explore! I’ll get there one of these days but I never know where I am headed until about 2 days before I go!

  9. Amy says:

    Hi there…actually been wanted to get away from civilization for quite some time…but i really do not want to go to a place where i will see a vast majority of humans….sounds mean but i feel that i need to venture off and try something new and isolated to grow. do you know of any undeveloped grounds in northern california? and how would you recommend getting there?

    • admin says:

      Amy, find some good detailed maps of northern Calif and check out the Eldorado and Tahoe national forests. Shasta / Trinity also has some good spots. If you have a good 4X4 with good ground clearance, the dirt roads often offer great camping sites. In national forests, you don’t have to use an established “campground” to camp. Stay far, far, far away from any place in California with the word “park” in its name! Don’t bother with county or state recreation areas either unless you want to be packed in like a sardine and pay exorbitant prices just to camp in a noisy crowd.

  10. Amy says:

    Hi there…actually been wanted to get away from civilization for quite some time…but i really do not want to go to a place where i will see a vast majority of humans….sounds mean but i feel that i need to venture off and try something new and isolated to grow. do you know of any undeveloped grounds in northern california? and how would you recommend getting there?

    • admin says:

      Amy, find some good detailed maps of northern Calif and check out the Eldorado and Tahoe national forests. Shasta / Trinity also has some good spots. If you have a good 4X4 with good ground clearance, the dirt roads often offer great camping sites. In national forests, you don’t have to use an established “campground” to camp. Stay far, far, far away from any place in California with the word “park” in its name! Don’t bother with county or state recreation areas either unless you want to be packed in like a sardine and pay exorbitant prices just to camp in a noisy crowd.

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