Best Things to Do in Willow Creek, California
Get to know Bigfoot Country
Just as Roswell embraced its reputation as the UFO capital after the famous 1947 incident, Willow Creek swelled Bigfoot with pride after the release of the Patterson-Gimlin movie and the dozens of other sightings that have occurred before and since. (Locals would say, however, that while aliens probably never Actually landed in New Mexico, a small population of sasquatches actually exists in the backcountry of Northern California.)
Scattered throughout the city are twenty local Bigfoot-themed venues: there’s a museum, steakhouse, bookstore, motel, and more. But the Big Foot Museum, the city’s biggest attraction, is arguably the best place in town to learn about the more than 300 sasquatch sightings that have been recorded in the area. Inside you’ll find sections on the history of Willow Creek, as well as a room full of artifacts and evidence of sasquatch’s existence, including plaster casts of alleged Bigfoot tracks and a collection stories about first-hand encounters. (There’s also a stellar gift shop and, out front, a tktk-tall Bigfoot statue you can use to convince your friends you’ve managed to get a sighting.)
The fun continues along the Bigfoot Scenic Drive, which stretches 153 miles through Bigfoot Country beginning at Willow Creek and heading north to Yreka. You will pass through the natural beauty of the Hoopa Valley Reserve (stop at Hoopa Tribal Museum for exhibits on the history and culture of the local Hupa, Yurok and Karuk tribes); past Bluff Creek and Clear Creek (where in the summer you can swim in crystal clear swimming holes); and to the thriving old towns of Happy Camp and Yreka, the latter now home to historic buildings and museums, old cafes and craft breweries. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of beautiful places to camp and bask in nature, as well as plenty of places to park overnight in hopes of stumbling across a certain cryptid.
You can also schedule your trip for the year Bigfoot Stun Festival. During Labor Day weekend in September, the town of Willow Creek comes together to celebrate all things sasquatch with logging competitions, food, vendors, live music, a parade, a tournament horseshoe, a Bigfoot Call contest (!!!), and more. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the party is back for 2022; get ready to give your best primal cry.