Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Canoeing Iron Canyon Reservoir, Shasta County, CA

We had a pretty mild 2012/2013 winter in CA but the spring has been equally mild and kept the snow pack in the Sierras (limited as it is this year) from melting. All of a sudden in the end of April and 1st week of May the weather turned and the high-country began to give up its stored melt-water and the lakes began to fill.

Without actually having eyes on the lakes it’s difficult to ascertain when this begins to occur. You can try calling marinas, if they exist at the lake you are interested in, or you can try calling Ranger Stations, if you can get someone on the phone who has a pulse but neither of those methods are particularly reliable. I use an online resource provided by the California Data Exchange Center to track water levels in the lakes I am looking to visit http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/staSearch (select the radio button for “Station ID/Name” and enter the name of the lake in question).

I’ve had my eye on Iron Canyon Reservoir for a couple of years now. Iron Canyon is in Eastern Shasta County and is rather remote. It’s a 25mi drive SE of Lake McCloud (which I visited last springCLICK HERE ) and 22mi North of the intersection of Big Bend Rd. & CA 299 (Intersection is 37mi East of Redding). The lake sits at 2,660’ altitude and was created in 1965 when PG&E erected an earthen dam impounding Iron Canyon Creek and feeds the James Black Powerhouse which incidentally is one of the larger hydroelectric plants in PG&E’s system.