Holy smoke! Lori Quillen blew us away with this image of the Mormon Church in Etna surrounded by Near Peak exotic color and a meadow of native rabbitbrush.
Etna is in Scott Valley, at the foot of the Marble Mountain Wilderness (Siskiyou County) on CA-3. The town has but 737 souls living in it.
It’s lightly populated due to its remoteness, not its notoriety. After all, Etna was named after Italy’s famous stratovolcano Mt. Etna (10,991′) which happens to be 6,350 miles distant. Of course, Mt. Shasta (14,180′), the largest stratovolcano by volume in the Cascade volcanic arc, is a bit closer … 32 miles to the east as a crow flies, 62 by road.
The Scott Valley is a traditional center of cattle ranching, though also one now famous for outdoor recreation, serving visitors attracted to hike, fish, ride, bike, climb, ski, raft, kayak, camp and explore Siskiyou County’s great outdoors.
Route 3 is a popular fall color loop that begins in Redding (CA-299), continues to Weaverville, turns north to Trinity Center (CA-3), travels through the Trinity Alps, then loops back to Redding while passing through Etna, Greenview, Fort Jones, Yreka, Weed, Mt. Shasta City, Dunsmuir, and Shasta Lake.
The best fall color along this route is found along the Trinity and Scott rivers and their many tributaries including Coffee Creek.
A worthy detour is to head north from 299 to Lewiston where a silver, steel-truss bridge crosses the Trinity River and is surrounded by oak and maple, then either reverse course to 299 to include Weaverville or continue to CA-3 via Rush Creek Rd.
Although the color in Etna is now Near Peak, that’s only because non-native trees are peaking on their schedule. The rest of the loop is at the low end of Patchy, because the native trees peak later. The loop should be peaking the week of Oct. 20.