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Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
482.00 ft (146.91 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
3.60 mi (5.79 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Sacramento Valley, part of California's Central Valley, is primarily dominated by agriculture and tends to export visitors into the surrounding mounain ranges for outdoor recreation. One exception to that rule is the Sacramento River Bend Area. This lightly visited area provides diverse recreational opportunities and important riparian, wetland, and grassland habitat. Ancient lava flows forced the Sacramento River to cut large bends through volcanic tablelands. The remaining canyons offer beautiful vistas, especially when paired with the surrounding mountain ranges or seasonal wildflower displays.

The Yana Trail is longest trail in the Sacramento River Bend Area and roughly parallels the river. It is possible to park a car at each end (Perry Riffle and Jellys Ferry) for an 8.5-mile shuttle that involves a stream crossing at Inks Creek. This adventure details the closest route to Massacre Flat, one of the few designated camping locations along the entire length of the Sacramento River. This being BLM land, there are dispersed camping opportunites as well. Massacre Flat is named after an attack that took place against Native Americans by early California settlers.

Perry Riffle is the closest trailhead to Massacre Flat. Note that the sign at the trailhead says 4.5 miles to Massacre Flat. This distance is now closer to 3.6 miles because a cutoff trail was developed. Another note about the Perry Riffle Trailhead is that several trails stem northeast from the trailhead parallel to the river. Although the Yana Trail is signed, these other trails will intertwine with the main trail, offering opportunities for more exploration. After about 0.75 miles into the hike, a gentle climb will begin leading you to the top of a plateau with excellent views of Lassen Peak and surrounding mountain ranges. This section of the hike is mostly exposed with little shade, so sun protection is needed. At 2.75 miles into the hike you will see signage directing you west toward Massacre Flat. This is the cutoff mentioned before. Mountain bikers should keep right and take the longer way to Massacre Flat. The trail drops into a shaded riparian area next to the Sacramento River. Although mostly flat, the trail is narrower and there are several very brief rock scrambling opportunities.

When you see the well constructed vault toilet, you have arrived at Massacre Flat. A prominant campsite exists on the southern end of the flat, but other campsites are available nearby including one at the top of a hill overlooking the area. Massacre Flat is also visited by boaters, fisherman, and hunters making their way down the Sacramento River. There is abundant wildlife in the area including wild turkey, otters, mule deer, kingfishers, and eagles. A ranch exists on the other side of the river, so the sound of cattle may also be heard.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall
Winter
Summer

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Seasonal wildflowers. Riverside camping. Extensive views.

Cons

Hot in summer.

Trailhead Elevation

342.00 ft (104.24 m)

Highest point

468.00 ft (142.65 m)

Net Elevation Gain

148.00 ft (45.11 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Wildlife
Fishing
Big vistas
Horseback riding
Big Game Watching
Wildflowers
Bird watching
Family friendly

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Horseback
Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

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