The Lower Trinity Ranger District is bisected by State Highway 299, the main travel route in Northwestern California to reach the Northcoast. Willow Creek is Approximately 100 miles west of Redding and 45 miles east of Eureka/Arcata. At one time, a major timber producing area, Willow Creek no longer supports a major manufacturing industry. Willow Creek however, is a recreation destination for sport fishing, including salmon and steelhead, kayakers, and river rafters who heavily use the Main Stem and South Fork of the Trinity River most of the year. The area is also famous for Bigfoot, achieving notoriety through the years as a hub for sightings. Hunting also is a big draw to the area with large deer and bear populations.
The Mad River Ranger District is located on Highway 36 approximately 50 miles east of Highway 101 and the Eureka/Arcata area and 100 miles west of Interstate 5 and the cities of Redding and Red Bluff. Traveling south for 20-30 miles on county roads brings you to the communities of Ruth and Zenia.
The Mad River Ranger Station is at an elevation of 2550 feet. The remainder of the district varies from 2000 to 6000 feet.
The climate is characterized by warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Average precipitation in the area is 60" with the majority of the moisture falling between October and April. Snow is uncommon at elevations under 3000' but many areas on the district receive substantial snowfall.
There are a variety of trails in the Mad River District that are sure to appeal to everyone. One very popular trail is the Discovery Trail. The Discovery trail is primarily open to street legal vehicles and makes for a great weekend activity.
The District is one of four on the Six Rivers National Forest, encompassing approximately 500,000 acres. Located about 30 miles from the Northern Coast of California and subsequently under a coastal influence that produces a long summer season.
The Marble Mountain Wilderness is one of California’s oldest formally designated wilderness areas. Originally established in 1931 as the Marble Mountain Primitive Area, it later became one of the original wilderness areas established by the Wilderness Act of 1964. It contains over a quarter of a million acres of rugged mountainous terrain, diverse vegetation and picturesque high elevation lakes and streams. It was named for Marble Mountain, a monolith of white limestone standing 6,880 feet above sea level. Boulder Peak at 8,229 feet is the highest point in the wilderness and the mouth of Wooley Creek at the wilderness boundary is the lowest point at 640 feet.
The Orleans District has twenty documented trails to choose from. Trails destinations range from the scenic beauty of the Siskiyou Wilderness high country to short fishing trails leading to one of the many river access points in the Orleans District.
Recreational activities abound in the Smith River NRA. The beautiful Smith River offers fishing for steelhead, trout, and salmon. During the summer months, the pure, clean waters of the Smith River are perfect for swimming, rafting, or fishing and the forested mountainsides present occasions for hiking, bird watching, wildflower walks, or perhaps just lounging in the sun.
Winter temperatures drop into the 40s and 50s, with an occasional snow storm. The rainy season normally runs from October through April with an average annual rainfall of 92.55 inches. Summers are dry with highs in the 80-100 degree range. Contact the National Recreation Area Headquarters at the Gasquet Ranger Station for current weather conditions.
There are a wide variety of trails in the Smith River National Recreation Area that range from Siskiyou Wilderness trails to the botanical beauty of the Myrtle Creek and Darlingtonia interpretive trails where visitors can view a variety of rare and endangered plants and wildflowers. There are also quite a few short trails (under four miles) that offer scenic views of the Smith River National Recreation Area.