From I-5, just north of Red Bluff, CA, take the Jelly’s Ferry exit and head east. Turn right on Bend Ferry Road and follow the road to the recreation sites and trailheads.
BOATING, FISHING, HIKING, HORSEBACK RIDING, HUNTING
The Sacramento River Bend Area is a valuable historic and natural resource that presents many recreational and educational opportunities. From the lush riparian areas surrounding the Sacramento River and it’s tributaries to the expanse of the rolling hills of blue oak savanah, the Sacramento River Bend Area offers diverse habitat for bald eagles, osprey, migratory and song birds, deer, and salmon. The area also offers numerous recreation opportunities for hunting, camping, hiking, boating, picnicking, and wildlife viewing.
The Sacramento River (from Balls Ferry to Red Bluff) is served by a variety of developed boat ramps and primitive river access sites. Public boat ramps are available at Balls Ferry, Bend Bridge Park, and Lake Red Bluff Recreation Area. Jelly’s Ferry, Barge Hole, and Perry Riffle (walk in only) offer primitive launch sites. The boat ramp at Reading Island can be used by small watercraft, but is usually overgrown with vegetation during the summer months making it challenging for any watercraft. Please see the Sacramento River Bend Area map for specific locations and directions.
Paynes Creek Wetlands
Concerns have increased in recent years over population declines of migratory bird species that breed in North America and winter south of the United States – Neotropical Migratory Birds. The BLM recognizes this problem and has created the Payne’s Creek Wetlands with the help of partners like California Fish and Game, Bureau of Reclamation, California Wildlife Conservation Board, and Ducks Unlimited in an effort to enhance populations of these birds and other species. The BLM manages this wetland area, located along the Pacific Flyway, to protect and enhance the existing riparian habitat and wildlife communities, as well as provide for recreational use, cultural and natural interpretation, and educational opportunities.
Most attractions along the river can be reached by foot, mountain bike or horseback. Trailheads begin at Hog Lake Plateau, Iron Canyon, the Paynes Creek Recreation Area (Bass Pond), Jelly’s Ferry and multiple trailheads surrounding the Paynes Creek Wetlands. The Paynes Creek Wetlands trail systems and Hog Lake Plateau allow for great springtime wildlife viewing. The Yana Trail, with trailheads at Perry Riffle and Jelly’s Ferry, is a great way to explore the backcountry. Most trails are rugged and unmarked and encourage self-discovery. Please remember to close any gates behind you after you pass through.
This area offers amazing wildflowers viewing in the spring. The rolling hills of this oak woodland are carpeted with purple and yellow in all directions. The Hog Lake Plateau and the Yana Trail are great locations to view open expanses of blooming wildflowers.
Although there are no developed BLM campgrounds in this area, camping is allowed on most BLM lands for up to 14 days per calendar year. Day-use sites such as the Jelly’s Ferry site, the mouth of Inks Creek, and the Bass Pond parking areas are closed to camping. Group camping is available at the Reading Island Group Campground, under a special use permit issued by the BLM. Massacre Flat is a popular primitive campsite for boaters. The state managed Battle Creek and Cottonwood Creek Wildlife Areas are closed to camping. There is no garbage collection in most of the area so if you PACK IT IN please PACK IT OUT.
Most BLM lands are open to hunting under California Department of Fish and Game regulations. Some sites such as Reading Island and the state managed Battle Creek Wildlife Area are closed to hunting and shooting. Be courteous to private property owners adjacent to public land. Remember, it is against State law to discharge a weapon within 150 yards of a dwelling or outbuilding. Target shooting is prohibited with the exception of one designated target shooting area along Spring Branch Road. Please remove all shells and debris to keep your public lands clean and safe.
¢ The Sacramento River water is cold (45°-50°) year-round and is deceptively swift and powerful.
¢ Always wear an approved floatation device when on the river.
¢ The Yana Trail fords Inks Creek and is impassible at times of wet weather. Contact the BLM Redding Field Office prior to a wet weather hike on the Yana Trail.
¢ Rattlesnakes are a common sight on warm days. Watch your step.
¢ Summer temperatures in this area can exceed 100°F and there is no potable water available in the area, so bring plenty of drinking water.