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Shasta Valley & Copco Lake, CA
mini location map2017-04-29
10 by photographer avatarmdfabbrini
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Shasta Valley & Copco Lake, CA 
Shasta Valley & Copco Lake, CA
Scenic Drive avatar Apr 29 2017
Scenic Drive118.30 Miles
Scenic Drive118.30 Miles   6 Hrs      19.72 mph
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My wife & I are trying to get out once a week and explore the various corners of Northern California and Southern Oregon since moving to Mount Shasta from Tucson in late March. Though born here, and having family here, my knowledge is limited to the more popular and closer areas to Mount Shasta - so we are trying to systematically explore the greater area an afternoon or a weekend at a time.

Today's drive took us from my parents' house in Lake Shastina north through the eastern side of the Shasta Valley, along western edge of the Cascades crest. Most of the route was on county farm roads, mostly gravel, sometimes zigzagging around larger ranches or geographic features. The lower part of the valley is dotted with
deposits of an exceptionally large debris avalanche extend from the base of Mount Shasta volcano northward across the floor of Shasta Valley in northern California. The debris-avalanche deposits underlie an area of about 675 km*, and their estimated volume is at least 45 km3. Radio- metric limiting dates suggest that the debris avalanche occurred between about 300,000 and 380,000 yr ago. Hundreds of mounds, hills, and ridges formed by the avalanche deposits are separated by flat areas that slope generally northward at about 5 m/km.
(Gigantic Debris Avalanche of Pleistocene Age From Ancestral
Mount Shasta Volcano, California, and Debris-Avalanche Hazard Zonation, USGS Bulletin 1861, by Dwight R. Crandall, 1988). The upper valley slowly climbs towards the Klamath River drainage, with roads meandering around stubborn pieces of basalt flows that have resisted efforts to erode into the valley floor.

Along the way, we passed large ranches and alfalfa farms, smaller homesteads, a few sites of small settlements past, and made numerous notes of places for further exploration. One small country school we came across made us chuckle - Bogus School - I lie not - which invariably led us to think of all the associated puns and jokes. It seems the little valley the school sits in was the site of a counterfeiting operation in the 1880's that minted fake half dollars; once closed down, the Bogus moniker stuck to the area.

Our route finally turned west, bringing us to the settlement of Ager, where once again we turned east and finished our climb to the Klamath River. The Ager-Beswick Road travels about 13 miles before reaching Klamath River, impounded here as Copco Lake. The road comes up near the west end of the south side of the lake (actually a reservoir operated by the power entity Pacificorp - this dam plus 3 others are slated for removal in 3 years, restoring a 300 mile salmon run). This road is paved, but once you wind around the inlet, the road is a rough one lane gravel track along the north side of the reservoir until you reach the dam area. This segment is not suitable for low clearance vehicles. From there, pavement and some well maintained gravel is the norm until reaching Interstate 5. Below Copco is Iron Gate Reservoir, also operated by the power company, which too will removed in coming years. While the south shores of both reservoirs sport vacation homes and ranches, the north shore is pretty much devoid of development. Both reservoirs have campgrounds and boat ramps operated by the power company.

The Klamath River below Iron Gate runs unfettered until it reaches the Pacific Ocean. Both sides of the river on the drive to the interstate have homes, ranches, RV parks and private campgrounds along the banks.

We stopped in Yreka for dinner at Strings Italian Cafe.
et deinceps per nebula
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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