12. Seiad Valley at Old Man's Pool:
Mile marker 59.4
Seiad Gold Dredge
Photo courtesy Brian
Services: Store, cafe, fuel cardlock
(with credit card), guide service, RV park and post office.
- Seiad is a Yurok Tribal word meaning "far away land." In the
Karuk language it is Sáamay.
- Daniel Cook and William Green came to this valley to trap for
the Hudson Bay Company. They were accompanied by the Reeves
Brothers who homesteaded and farmed 480 acres, supplying
vegetables for the local miners in the mid-1800s.
- In 1885, William Grider homesteaded the south portion of the
valley where he farmed, operated a hydraulic mine, and ran a ferry
and stage stop. From his converted sheep barn, the stage climbed
the 4,000 foot Evans Mountain to the southwest and then down to
- In 1940, a bucket lined gold dredge reshaped 300 acres of
river and fertile fields to extract the gold. This dredge rotated
70 buckets on an endless chain, each bucket weighing 3,000
- The view exemplifies river riparian habitat which is nature's
way of restoring the tailing piles. This is where numerous species
of migratory songbirds gather before venturing into or out of the
- To the east is a bald eagle sanctuary. Along the river is a
great blue heron rookery, and to the west is a pair of osprey
- River otters can be seen in this pool quite often.
- Easy access to the Pacific Crest Trail can be found 300 feet
to the east. Those inclined can walk up a short distance for a
Bittenbender Slide/Portuguese Creek: Mile marker 57.3
Monitor on mule
being packed to mine site
Photo courtesy Brian Helsaple
(Right) Osprey nest across river
Photo courtesy Brian
- This slide area allows close examination of the geology of an
elevated ancient river channel resting on bedrock. Look at the
contrast of solid bedrock with the crumbling, bare area upriver.
During wet years the fractured rocks and soils are known to slide
abruptly down the slippery blue shist slope.
- At Bittenbender, Chinese laborers used derricks to create the
pyramid-shaped rock piles across the river on Masonic Bar.
- Hoskins Bar mine, across from the mouth of Portuguese Creek,
was also operated by Chinese. During the flood of 1890, a land and
snowslide carried a house into the river with three Chinese miners
- Above the highway is a good area to explore geology. The
natural process and compaction that formed the soils created a
cemented material that combined river cobbles with gravel. This
formation is a likely spot to find gold.
- The Chinese attacked this type of deposit using a water nozzle
fed by pipes fashioned out of pigskin hides that were sewn
together. Later goldseekers used mules to pack in 2500 feet of
14-inch steel miner's pipe that ran three hydraulic giants (large
- The present-day stark absence of plants is the result of the
1997 flood. An explosion of creek runoff ripped timber from the
mountains, creating a gigantic impassable barrier on the highway
in this and other locations where creeks flow under the highway.
This flood prevented access and supplies from reaching the many
residents from Horse Creek to Orleans, over 70 miles away.
- Portuguese Creek river access is an excellent launch site for
boats, kayaks and rafts.