Adventure entry by Steve Evans | Wild and Scenic Rivers Director
Hike Name: Hike to Iron Canyon Trail to Jed’s Point
Name of area/general location: Sacramento River Bend Area
Land Acknowledgement: This trail is primarily located on the ancestral homelands and traditional territories of the Yana and Nomlaki People. To learn more about the original residents and stewards of the lands, visit native-land.ca.
Trail rating: Easy to moderate: 272-foot elevation gain/loss on rocky tread and one stream crossing (easy to cross at low flows)
Permissible trail uses (dogs, horses, mountain bikes, others): This is a dog-friendly trail although dogs must be on leash or under voice control because you may run into grazing cattle.N/A
Description of the area, sights, wildlife, and any key markers on the trail: The Iron Canyon Trail is a short loop route that leads to scenic Jed’s Point overlooking the Sacramento River. The total loop is 3.6 miles with 272-foot elevation gain and loss. The trail tread is rocky and there some small stream crossings. Within the first half mile, the trail crosses an upper tributary of Sevenmile Creek, which later in the summer may be nearly dry. This is a great trail in the late winter and spring, particularly when the grass is green and the oak trees have leafed out.
This is a classic hike through the oak savanna that dominates the Lassen foothills. The entire area is dotted with blue oaks with some patches of scrub. In addition to enjoying the wild landscape of the Sacramento River Bend Area, the Iron Canyon Trail to Jed’s Point provides an outstanding opportunity to observe raptors enjoying the thermals above the Sacramento River Canyon. Osprey, bald and golden eagle, and other raptors are common in this area, so be sure to bring binoculars.
Jed’s Point is a rock formation overlooking the dramatic Sacramento River canyon. Hikers who wish to enjoy the view of the river from Jed’s Point must carefully work their way around some poison oak, which partially blocks access to the Point. In addition to the river canyon, the trail provides magnificent views of Mt. Shasta to the north, Lassen Peak to the east, and the Coast Range to the west (on a clear day, you may see the Trinity Alps to the northwest).
This rock formation has been called Jed’s Point because it may be the site in 1828 where explorer and trapper Jedidiah Smith weighed his options to continue northward along the Sacramento River or heading directly west across an apparent low gap in the Coast Range. He ultimately headed west through the Coast Range and then north along the Oregon Coast.
The trail provides a great introduction to the public lands in the Sacramento River Bend Area managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM manages the 18,000 acres of public land surrounding the Sacramento River and its tributaries as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), due to its extensive natural and cultural values. As part of the BLM’s Northwest California Integrated Plan (NCIP), the BLM has determined 15 miles of the Sacramento River and several of its tributaries in the Sacramento River Bend Area to be eligible and suitable for National Wild and Scenic River protection due to their outstanding scenery, recreation, fish, geology, cultural, and ecological values. The NCIP also updates management for the Sacramento River Bend ACEC. Submit your comments for the NCIP now!
Directions to the trailhead: From the Lassen Park/Highway 36 exit from Interstate 5 in Red Bluff, drive east on Highway 36, and turn left to follow the highway towards Lassen Volcanic National Park. The Iron Canyon Trailhead is just a few miles east on Highway 36 from Red Bluff. There is a small, fenced parking lot on the north side of the highway. Unfortunately, no restroom facilities are provided.