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Spooky Day Trips
Bigfoot Days - Willow Creek, CA

August 5, 2001

Bigfoot statue in Willow Creek, CaliforniaWillow Creek is the Self Proclaimed Gateway to Bigfoot Country. Every Labor Day weekend Willow Creek plays host to Bigfoot Days the largest celebration of the creature anywhere.

The annual event attracts visitors from all over Northern California and many from other parts of the world. It has it's roots in local Native Americans and their lore regarding a huge manlike creature and his family that dwelled in the Bluff Creek area along the Klamath River. The earliest known report of this man-animal was probably recorded in Crescent City in 1886. There were numerous reports from the area between Willow Creek and Happy Camp of large human-like creatures seven to eight feet tall and weighing from 350 to 800 lbs. These creatures were reported to be man-like, with a light covering of hair on their bodies. These prehistoric-looking man-apes faded away for many years only to appear again in 1935 when huge tracks were found in snow on a nearby mountain.

In 1958, in the Bluff Creek area, an entire new epic of Bigfoot was begun. Heavy equipment was moved, loaded drums were tossed about, foot prints were everywhere, and workers were followed about through the dense underbrush by foul-smelling, haunting visages. In 1960, there were sightings by reliable people and over 50 sightings have taken place since that time. Perhaps the most talked about encounter happened in 1967 in a nearby canyon of Bluff Creek where the famous, or infamous, Patterson/Gimlin video was shot showing what appears to be an adult bigfoot crossing the creek bank.

Bigfoot statue in Willow CreekIt is this heritage that prompted Willow Creek to erect a statue in the center of town and hold it's annual Bigfoot clebration.

Bigfoot Days is held every Labor Day weekend, this year September 1st -3rd with most events held on Saturday.

On Saturday September 1, there will be a pancake breakfast and ice cream social from  9am until noon downtown. A parade will be held at 10 a.m. Then at Veterans park there will be, food and craft booths, live music, entertainment vendors, a horseshoe tournament, Steak barbecue from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m; Outdoor live theatre (downtown) at Cinnabar Sam's restaurant 8:30 p.m., "Elixer of Life"( very funny). Save-Our Strays sponsors a public dance (for the adults) at Redbud Theatre Salyer, 9 p.m. -1 a.m. featuring the live music of Roadmaster.

On Sunday there is a breakfast at VFW hall sponsored by VFW auxiliary. Food and craft booths and the horseshoe tournament will continue.

Monday is Kids Day, sponsored by the Kiwanis club at Trinity Valley elementary school from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Games, races, etc.

To be honest Bigfoot Days in Willow Creek, at a 6 hour drive, isn't what you'd consider a day trip but it is well worth considering for a nice relaxing weekend getaway and who knows, maybe you will catch a glimpse of this elusive creature.


Willow Creek History

Willow Creek has a long and prominent history. First settled in the early 1800's as China Flat, it boomed during the gold rush as a supply center for the Northern Sierra mines. The boom times continued until the Great Depression caught up with the trade in the 1930's. The economic slowdown didn't last for long as the postwar boom brought lumber mills and logging companies to the area. Demand was so high for Willow Creek's quality timber the mills ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until the late 1970s. It was at this time that tourism and recreation became the dominant trades.


Driving Directions

Map of Willow Creek areaWillow Creek is located in the middle of Six Rivers National Forest and is near the Trinity Wilderness Area and Trinity National Park.

From the San Francisco area: Drive north on Highway 101 past Eureka.  In Arcata connect to Route 299 eastbound toward Redding. Willow Creek is near the intersection of Route 299 and Route 96.

For more information about Bigfoot Days or Willow Creek contact the Willow Creek Chamber of Commerce at 800-628-5156 or email them at info@WillowCreekChamber.com.

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