Begin your tour from Yreka, CA

State of Jefferson Scenic Byway


This guide assumes you are beginnning your tour on Highway 263 north of Yreka, then traveling west down Highway 96.

North Main Street in Yreka turns into Highway 263. Highway 263 can also can be reached from I-5 at the Klamath River Highway 96 turnoff (Collier's Rest Area).

If you are starting in Orleans, begin the tour at the Orleans web page and continue back each link.

These routes will take you either to Redwood Highway 199 in Oregon, or Highway 299 leading to Redding or Eureka. The fork to O'Brien, Oregon is in Happy Camp.

Enjoy your visit!

1. Dry Gulch Bridge:
Mile marker 54.6

  • You are on Highway 263 which was old Highway 99, built in 1929. The original roadbed below along the Shasta River was originally constructed in 1914.
  • The five bridges along this route were built in the 1930s and are considered engineering marvels for their time period.
  • You are in the Klamath Mountains. Metamorphosed volcanic rocks and granite form this range which is closely related geologically to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
  • The large flock of rock doves roosting under the bridge survives on the local scrub oak acorns.
  • For the adventurous, the old road below can be accessed via the dirt road just after crossing the Pioneer Bridge which is located one mile north of the Dry Gulch Bridge. Look for the large oak tree and rock monument. Vehicles with 4-wheel-drive are necessary for this two-mile excursion.

Dry Gulch Bridge
Photo courtesy Brian Helsaple

Old Highway 99 Bridge at Mouth of Shasta River
Photo courtesy Siskiyou County Museum
2. Confluence of Shasta & Klamath Rivers: Mile marker 56.9
  • The State of Jefferson slogan "bring your dynamite and shovels" is defined by walking across the highway and looking down at the boulders resting on the road below.
  • The private residence seen beyond the Klamath River bridge abutments was the Richie Store, gas station and restaurant prior to the construction of I-5. The Klamath fluctuated six feet daily during the irrigation season (prior to Irongate Dam), bringing it within inches of the old bridge at 4 pm and causing hazardous conditions for fishermen.
  • The Shasta Tribe called the river Klamet. In Karuk language it is Ishkêesh. The Hudson Bay trappers called it Klamath.
  • Just downriver along Highway 96 you will view the first of many cone-shaped tailing piles formed by the miners. They used pivoting derricks to remove the rocks to get to the gold-bearing gravel below.

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