Today we journey to the quaint town of Cedarville and spectacular Surprise Valley. It's a three-hour drive from Redding via Highway 299 East, past Alturas and over Cedarville Pass.
Surprise Valley is like old California was 100 years ago. The main town is Cedarville, a quaint ranching town with a couple of motels, cafes a bar, an old school mercantile, a modern clinic and even a book store.
It is also home to many notable writers and artists. In fact there is a well-known writer’s conference held there every year. It is also home to the Surprise Valley Hot Springs Motel where you can bask in a private natural hot pool right outside your room as you gaze into the heavens above.
Surprise valley is primarily a ranching area with beautiful old ranches framed by split-rail fences and huge poplar trees that turn a majestic gold in the fall. To the east lies the wild and mostly uninhabited desert in Nevada.
To the west lies the majestic Warner Mountains that rise up in a vertical wall framing the quaint ranches and lush valley below.
The Warner Mountains are a smaller version of the eastern slope of the Sierras, but similarly majestic. They are forested with spectacular rock formations and canyons full of beautiful camping and fishing areas.
One can view herds of wild horses roaming the desert areas to the east of town. For a step back in time away from the rapid pace of modern life take that short day trip or an overnight trip to Cedarville and Surprise Valley and allow yourself to unplug surrounded by unequaled beauty.
You'll notice the painting I did in one of the canyons of the Warner Mountains. As you can see it's very reminiscent of the Sierras.
Once again, within a three-hour drive of Redding, there is so much natural beauty to be found and appreciated here in the north state. Cedarville and Surprise Valley are among them. Make the drive. You'll be glad you did.