Begin your tour from
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
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
Enjoy your visit!
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
- You are in the Klamath Mountains. Metamorphosed
volcanic rocks and granite form this range which is
closely related geologically to the Sierra Nevada
- 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
Old Highway 99 Bridge at Mouth of Shasta River
Photo courtesy Siskiyou County
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
- 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
- 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.