There are plenty of outdoor adventures that await in the Salmon River region of the Klamath National Forest, but because of changing environmental conditions it is best to do some research ahead of time when making plans. Severe drought and rampant wildfires due to climate change have altered the northern California outdoor activity arena in recent years and the Salmon River tributary of the Klamath River certainly has been affected. Currently as of late summer 2021, there are National Forest closures statewide in California that will likely last till the wildfire season finally comes to an end.
In order to avoid misrepresentation it is best to mention that the photos for this article were shot when several big forest fires broke out during late summer in 2020. When I first saw the smoke rising from the mountains in the Klamath region, I immediately changed travel plans to head east to Nevada, simply because the surrounding forests were drought stricken and it was obvious that any wildfire would spread rapidly. Getting out of the way of the fire fighters was of utmost importance, which was difficult to do since I was so deep in the woods that it actually took 2 days just to get to the Nevada Border. Driving on the old one lane mountain logging roads with two way traffic certainly can be a hair raising experience, especially when large emergency vehicles are traveling in the opposite direction. Luckily I was driving a 4x4 Jeep, so hanging the vehicle over the narrow road shoulder so the big trucks could pass through was fairly easy to manage. Fortunately I had no passenger, because the views looking straight down into the canyon from the window were enough to cause sheer panic.
The panoramic views along the 20 mile stretch of the Salmon River to the Nordheimer Campground certainly were memorable, but there was no extra time for exploring all there is to do in this end of the Klamath National Forest during my evacuation trip. This roadside campground is located on a steep slope high above the river and there are foot trails that go to the water's edge. Trout fishing, kayaking and whitewater rafting are the traditional early summer activities along the Salmon River, while toward the end of summer the water levels recede and the mode becomes more like a classic lazy river. The humidity also builds up in the mountains during late summer and relief from the heat does not arrive till well after sundown, so be sure to pack a cooler full of ice cold drinks for a camping venture in these parts!
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