Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area
Sacramento River Trail
1.5 miles round trip
Canoers, rafters and inner-tubers ﬂoat down to Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area, located in an oak woodland on the Sacramento River between Chico and Red Bluff.
The park is often the day’s-end destination for the above-mentioned ﬂotilla, which puts in up river at Los Molino or Red Bluff. For ﬁshermen, out for shad, striped bass, catﬁsh and salmon, Woodson Bridge is not so much a destination as a departure point for launching a boat on the Sacramento.
Walkers stroll beneath the grand old oaks growing along the river. Joining the oaks are walnut, sycamore, and cottonwood. The park’s trees muster quite a display of fall color. Beneath the trees grow a tangle of elderberry and wild grape.
The 428-acre park straddles both sides of the river; the west bank is undeveloped while the east bank offers 46 campsites amidst the oaks.
Immediately south of Woodson Bridge is Tehama County Park which offers a boat-launching ramp and picnic ground. The county park’s broad sand and gravel beach adjoins the state recreation area beach.
Woodson Bridge is open year-round, but the best times to visit are in spring and autumn when the days are warm, but not scorching, as they are in summer.
The trail system is not extensive, but does offer a leg-stretcher of a walk along the Sacramento River. On a clear day in the North Sacramento Valley, you can look up and see the Trinity Alps, Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen towering in the distances.
Directions to trailhead: From Interstate 5 in Corning, exit on South Avenue and head east 6 miles to Woodson Bridge.
From Highway 99 in Vina (about 15 miles north of Chico), exit on South Avenue and proceed 3 miles west to the park.
Best place to park and begin the walk is actually next door to the state park at Tehama County Park.
The hike: Below the bridge, you’ll notice a gravel bar where local tubers put in and take out. Above the bar, on the river bank, two trails head into the thick undergrowth. Take either trail and you’ll curve east with the river, soon joining the state park’s nature trail. The nature here is willow, alder and cottonwood trees, along with wild grape and thickets of blackberry bushes.
Eventually you’ll reach a small picnic area, a good turnaround point. You can extend your hike by walking 0.5 mile along the riverbank to the mouth of Deer Creek.
© 2012 The Trailmaster, Inc.
From John McKinney’s
Day Hiker’s Guide to California’s State Parks
Trail descriptions and maps have been reproduced with the permission of the author. To learn more about The Trailmaster and other related publications please visit their website at www.thetrailmaster.com.