Embracing the Past
Let’s Visit Some Local Towns. In This Issue: Red Bluff…
With an eye on the future and a heart that embraces its past, Red Bluff is a perfect blend of modern-day rural California life and old-time Western values.
The town of roughly 15,000 sits about 30 minutes south of Redding and is bisected by both Interstate 5 and the Sacramento River, which meanders through town on its way to the Pacific Ocean.
Founded during the Gold Rush booms that helped build the west, Red Bluff was originally known as Leodocia and Coverstburg before being named after the colorful banks of the Sacramento River.
And while Red Bluff moves forward in the 21st Century, there’s an ever-present feel of its roots. From the Red Bluff Round-Up, one of the west’s largest rodeos, to the annual Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale, the area fully embraces its rural heritage.
Both are held at the Tehama County Fair grounds and are rich in tradition and entertainment. The Round-Up has been crowning rodeo champions since 1921 and is known as “America’s Largest Three-Day Rodeo,” drawing more than 30,000 and bringing in more than $5 million annually to the community.
The Bull and Gelding Sale started in 1941 when a group of local ranchers started a Hereford show and sale, and has grown to become what is widely recognized as the greatest stock show and sale west of the Rocky Mountains.
The annual Tehama County Fair also packs in the crowds with carnival rides, games and the always-entertaining Demolition Derby.
But Red Bluff is also a destination for those looking for adventure and fun. A short trip up Highway 36 lies the entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park. Named after Peter Lassen, one of the first white settlers in the area, Lassen Park is an amazing outdoor playground in all four seasons. From hiking to the Lassen Peak summit and exploring the stinky fumaroles of Bumpass Hell and ranger-led snowshoe hikes at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitors Center, Red Bluff is a great starting place for your adventures in the mountains to the west of town. It’s also where many historical photos of the last Lassen eruption in 1918 were taken.
Sticking in the past, Gaumer’s Mining and Mineral Museum welcomes visitors of all ages for free to explore mining equipment, Native American artifacts, and rock and minerals from an age that helped build the west.
Or you can explore the William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park, a three-acre expanse on the homestead of the first and only president of the California Republic. Ide was an early California settler and the park houses a one-room house tucked under an old oak believed to be his home from the early 1880s.
The Kelly-Griggs Museum is a classic, two-story Victorian home from the late 1800s where guides lead tours where era-dressed mannequins recreate the period. The area is home to many Victorian homes as well as the iconic Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the heart of downtown Red Bluff.
Speaking of downtown, the stretch of Main Street is a vibrant area of shops, places to eat and a throwback of the town’s history. The Cone & Kimball Plaza is the “Heart of Red Bluff” and features a clocktower that was rebuilt and restored in 1997 after it was destroyed in a 1984 fire. The historic State Theatre also is a key piece of downtown Red Bluff, a community meeting place that hosts national touring music and theater acts.
And in addition to all the history in and around Red Bluff, there’s a host of outdoor activities to explore in places like the Ishi Wilderness and Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area just outside of Corning to the south.