Home of the Best Water on Earth!
California’s Historic Railroad Town… Dunsmuir’s historic district reflects the town’s association with transportation. First came the railroad, which in fact, created the town. Early surveys determined that the upper Sacramento River Canyon was the most viable route for a railroad linking California with Oregon. By the mid-1880s the railroad had entered Siskiyou County and in August of 1886, the Central Pacific Railroad arrived. Their camp, about one mile south of today’s historic commercial district, was first called Pusher for the helper or pusher engines that were based there to assist trains over the steep grades to the north.
British Columbia coal baron, Alexander Dunsmuir donated the town fountain and Pusher became the historic town of Dunsmuir. A huge roundhouse, machine ships, and rail yards were soon built and the town’s population quickly increased. Dunsmuir was incorporated in 1909. You will find this historic railroad town on Interstate 5, just 12 miles south of Mount Shasta City and about 45 miles north of Redding, California.
Mossbrae Falls is a beautiful waterfall cascading over a hillside of brilliant green plants into the pristine Sacramento River. This is a must-see for visitors. Located in the Sacramento River in North Dunsmuir.
Sweetbrier Falls is located about 8 miles south of Dunsmuir, a short distance from I-5. Take the Sweetbrier exit, drive east a short distance, park on the west side of the railroad tracks. Walk across the bridge and the falls are just a few steps to the right.
Hedge Creek Falls
Hedge Creek Falls offers a lovely little walk from the parking area located by the north Dunsmuir exit of i-5. The Sacramento River provides a musical background as you make your way down the winding, serene path. At the end of your five-minute walk, you will arrive at beautiful Hedge Creek Falls where you can sit on the bench, walk behind the falls or frolic in the cool, clean water.
The Sacramento River is famous for its native and rainbow trout which can be taken by fly, lure, or bait! Some of the best hunting anywhere can be found in the wilderness areas that surround Dunsmuir. From some of the best bear hunting in the state, each fall to deer, ducks, elk and quail, the surrounding mountains provide hunters with excellent hunting adventures. The River also offers you an abundance of swimming holes with refreshing pools of crystal clear water. Some of the classics are:
- Cantara Loop – located about 5 miles north of Dunsmuir and 3 miles south of Mt. Shasta City
- Dunsmuir City Park – Walk on trail upstream and go down the hill, take a right on the northbound trail, walk about a quarter mile to large rocks and go down the hill to the hole.
- Soda Creek – South on I-5 to Soda Creek exit, drive down to the bridge and park on the right or left, the hole is just upstream from the bridge.
- Conant Hole – 10 miles south of Dunsmuir on Conant exit, go under I-5 to the east side, take the first right on dirt road and park facing train tracks, walk 100 yards downstream and look for a small trail leading to the river.
- Sims Hole – 15 miles south of Dunsmuir on I-5, Gibson Hole – 20 miles south of Dunsmuir, Gibson exit.
- LaMoine Hole – 25 miles south of Dunsmuir, LaMoine exit.
- Volmers/Delta & Dog Creek – 27 miles south of Dunsmuir, Volmers/Dog Creek Exit.
Castle Crags State Park is located just six miles south of Dunsmuir and features soaring spires of ancient granite and about two miles of the quick running upper Sacramento River and lovely Castle Creek. Elevations in the park range from 2,000 feet to more than 6,000 feet at the top of the Crags. There are 18 miles of improved trails available to hikers and backpackers including several miles of the famous Pacific Crest Trail.
Average (mean) Temperature:
- January – 38.0°
- April – 48.9°
- July – 72.1°
- Oct. – 55.4°
- Jan. – 11.9
- April – 3.96
- July – .31
- Oct. – 3.64
Humidity (avg. at noon):
- Jan. – 74
- April – 73
- July – 67
- Oct. – 71
In its heyday, many resorts, some world famous, were situated in the Dunsmuir vicinity and the town with its beautiful surroundings was popularized in travel literature developed by the railroad. Later, in 1912, California’s state highway began, extending up the canyon through Dunsmuir (old Highway 99). The ‘twenties were boom years for Dunsmuir and the population swelled to 3,100 in 1920. However, by the 1950s, the phasing out of steam locomotives drastically cut the railroad’s presence in Dunsmuir. In 1961, Interstate 5 bypassed the commercial district, thus preserving the “small town” flavor with its 1920s architecture still intact.
In 1982, the downtown was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Buildings have been renovated and new art galleries, coffee shops, and restaurants have moved in to support the historic atmosphere of Dunsmuir.
The population of Dunsmuir in 1998 was 1,980 and it has remained just about the same with no industrial sites within the city limits. Pure spring water is supplied by the City of Dunsmuir.
For more information, visit the Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce.