As I climb the hill, with the sun pouring down,
I break into a sweat and start breathing more
heavily. Locals call this portion of the trail the
roller coaster. It gets steeper as I pedal on. Signs
warn bicyclists to proceed slowly on the descents.
The trail rises above the river, which turns into
Keswick Reservoir beyond the dam. Here I get a
breathtaking view of the vast river canyon below.
A fork in the rail-trail at the top of Heart Rate
Hill leads to a spectacular viewing area built by
the local Rotary Club. “We didn’t have any money
for it and they came to us and said ‘Hey, that’s a
great spot; we’ll do the work for you,’” explains
the BLM’s Kuntz. That community spirit is typical
of how the river-trail was built: volunteers pulling
together to turn an abandoned railbed into the
magnificent rail-trail it is today.
The rail-trail ends at Coram Road, which
ascends to the top of Shasta Dam. From atop the
dam, the view is simply incredible. To the north
sprawls an endless lake, with Mount Shasta reign-
ing above. To the south lies a spectacular canyon,
The Road to a Thousand Wonders.”
For Kuntz, the trails are not only about redis-
covering the river, or the rich history of the area,
but also about getting people off their couches.
There is a deep sense of accomplishment for him
and others who worked tirelessly to build this
remarkable trail system.
I meet so many people who didn’t have much
opportunity to go out and use trails around here,”
says Kuntz. “Some of them have lost 20 pounds,
pounds, and they’ll come up to me and shake
my hand and say ‘Thank you for your trails. They
saved my life.’”
Bryan Goebel is a reporter at KQED Radio in San Francisco
and the original editor of
Streetsblog San Francisco
advocacy journalism site covering biking, walking and
transit issues.