August 5, 2001
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.
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.
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
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.
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