17. Happy Camp

State of Jefferson Scenic Byway - Highway 96, to Davis Road to Indian Creek Road to Oregon
Bigfoot Scenic Byway - Northern end is here in Happy Camp and travels south to Orleans

Services: Forest Service District office, gas (cardlock), restaurants, lodging, campgrounds, RV parks, airport, bank, post office, medical clinic, grocery, mercantile, auto parts, hardware, office supplies, river park, guide service, and Karuk Tribe Administration Offices.

You have reached a fork in this tour. One choice is to continue along the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway up Grayback Road to O'Brien, Oregon and Redwood Highway 199. Another choice is to travel downriver along the Bigfoot Scenic Byway through Orleans to Highway 299 leading to Redding or Eureka. This portion of the guide continues along the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway up Indian Creek and Grayback Road. To continue downriver to Orleans, click here for Ferry Point.

Cuddihy Hotel & Bar
Built in the late 1800s, now a private residence.
Photo courtesy Siskiyou County Museum

  • Happy Camp was originally called Athithúfvuunupma in Karuk. It was referred to as Murderer's Bar in 1851 by the newcomers. Some say it was due to cultural clashes, others say because of claim jumpers. Later that year the settlement was named Happy Camp for the easy and rich gold pickings in the area.

  • James Camp Brick Store located on Second Avenue and Indian Creek Road is over 135 years old. It was built by James Camp and John Titus to supply the townsfolk. The upper floor is made of solid brick. Parts of the cellar ceiling in later years were glass tile. Now the old building is the occasional spring and summer stopping point for hundreds of Vaux Swifts. It is a rare and awesome sight to see these birds funneling into or out of the chimney.

Original bridge over the Klamath
in Happy Camp

Photo courtesy Hazel Joyner

James Camp & John Titus Brick Store
Built in 1861 and still standing today.
Photo courtesy the Head Family

Chinatown, early 1900s
Was located at present First Avenue.
Photo courtesy Siskiyou County Museum
  • The 1880 census showed a population of 597, which included 97 Indians and 250 Chinese people. Many Chinese had immigrated into the area to work the numerous mines. A "Chinatown" was established in the area that includes First Avenue. It burned to the ground in 1910.


  • The airport is located on what was known as Schoolhouse Flat in 1880. Later it was known as the Van Brunt/Davis Mine. This was a 298-acre hydraulic mine which received its water via ditch/flume from the South Fork of Indian Creek, 12 "ditch" miles to the north.
  • Happy Camp's colorful history revolves around gold, copper, chrome and jade mining; numerous large and small sawmills with accompanying logging, salmon and steelhead fishing, whitewater rafting, wild game hunting, and organic cultivation of exotic crops and animals. These activities are depicted in numerous murals painted by artist Diann Hokanson on the exterior walls of local businesses.

Van Brundt/Davis Mine, early 1900s
Currently the Happy Camp Airport
Photo courtesy Hazel Joyner

Early mule logging in Happy Camp
Photo courtesy Siskiyou County Museum
  • Logging was a major industry until recent times. During the late 1950s the Happy Camp area boasted at least four fully operational sawmills. They produced assorted wood products including dimension, kiln dried lumber, veneer and peeler cores.
  • The River Park is a great spot for a picnic, playing frisbee and enjoying the natural wildlife in the nearby pond. You also will find a river access for launching boats, rafts and kayaks.
  • This tiny rural community is surrounded by the Klamath National Forest, as well as the Marble Mountain, Siskiyou and Red Butte Wilderness areas.

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