Fort Bidwell in Surprise Valley

water avenue in fort bidwell, in surprise valley, northern california.

Water Creek photographed from the bridge across from the
general store in Fort Bidwell, California.

The general store in Fort Bidwell is closed now. Not more than a few years ago it was still open ~ you could walk wooden floors that creaked as they did over a century ago. Everything but the retail items was original. Now it's gone.

In these pages of Surprise Valley I've tried to give a taste of what it was like walking back into time the first time Brad and I discovered the area. What it was like the first time we drove over Cedar Pass, and then, the drive over Fandango Pass, and our return to the pioneer trying to find an easier route west than the Columbia River of the Oregon Trail. My imagination ran rampant. Fort Bidwell is not a town of cattle ranchers, as are Cedarville and Eagleville, and it was dying. Beautiful houses that made me think of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird lay empty, marked with for sale signs that seemed desolate in their hopelessness. Since that first visit, the land has been restored to the native tribes. It seems funny to think that those new administration buildings, which will better the lives of their people change the peaceful, somnolent character of the town, but that's time ... ever marching. It will be nice to see those homes full of families, and children playing in the grass again ...

Surprise Valley displays much that is beautiful, Fort Bidwell is an ever present memory of our past carved out of a respect for the danger and beauty of nature. But that's a small part. In the southern valley find the open spaces of range land, hawks soaring the expansive desert skies, hot springs and the beauty of the Warner Mountains. Hike, bike or horseback ride in the South Warner Wilderness Area. There is much to invite.

deer in the yard south of fort bidwell in surprise valley, california.

Forward ~ Pioneer Church in Fort Bidwell in
Surprise Valley.

Back ~ Vista from the Fandango Pass in the
Warner Mountains in California.

USFS: Modoc National Forest in California.

Warner Mountains: South Warner Wilderness Area.

The pioneer house (pictured above) was photographed northwest of Fort Bidwell as we traveled a little on the Barrel Springs/Surprise Valley Back Country Byway. We haven't taken this route entirely, and Brad doesn't want to because the road in Nevada is gravel, albeit well-maintained, but it's still gravel. So I have to do it sometime on my own.:-)

Explore Surprise Valley and the Warner Mountains: Travel Directions, Map and Scenery: Mountains, hot springs, wildlife viewing, south Warner Wilderness Area, hiking trails, equestrian trails and more.

Travel Oregon and northern California while staying at Gathering Light ... a retreat
located near Crater Lake in southern Oregon.

the sunset log cabin at gathering light ... a retreat located near crater lake national park in southern oregon: cabins, tree houses on the river in the forest.

Travel to Gathering Light ... a retreat via the Shasta Trinity area of northern California: Directions, Map & Scenery.

Directions to and Day Trips, including the Surprise Valley, Outback Tour, of around 100 miles from the retreat.

Little known Scenic Places near Crater Lake and the retreat: hiking trails, wildlife viewing, birding, and more: Directions Map and Scenery.

Website Directory      Page Listings      Home Page

Contact Brad at Gathering Light ... a retreat.

Eagle Ridge Wetlands (pictured above), one of the many birding trails in Klamath Basin not far from Gathering Light ... a retreat. Rustic simplicity, a place to "Just Be", Gathering Light is nestled on the banks of the river, surrounded by the Fremont Winema National Forest of southern Oregon and is not far from Crater Lake National Park.