By Melissa Wynn
Few places compare to the beauty of Plumas County along the wild and scenic Feather River. Rugged, forested terrain lines the river canyon along Highway 70 and that’s just where you will find Belden Town Resort. Perched on a hillside, on the edge of the Feather River’s north fork, it’s easy to see why visitors have been coming here to fish and relax for generations.
On a lovely day in mid-spring my significant other and I decided to take an overnight retreat to shake off the cabin fever and welcome in a new season. Belden Town Resort is near our Westwood home and I’ve wanted to visit since the first time I saw the big red bridge that connects Belden Town to Highway 70.
The 104 ft., Pratt-style bridge is itself a point of interest having occupied that space since 1913, some twenty plus years before there was even a highway. It was originally built for the Oro Light and Power Company and was used to deliver building materials to their Yellow Creek Powerhouse. Also used as a Western Pacific Railroad spur this aging little bridge allowed for speedy delivery of supplies during the 1930’s when the Feather River Canyon Highway project brought the first highway to this neck of the woods. That original highway from Oroville to Quincy was completed in 1937 and it was then that the tough and timeless bridge was converted to the one lane auto bridge connecting the town of Belden to the highway that it is today.
As we crossed the bridge I was enveloped in the peaceful feeling that comes only from the sounds of a spring breeze accompanied by the rolling waters of the North Fork Feather River. Several rentable cabins dot the property on the way to the main lodge that houses the hotel, full bar, restaurant and general store. We found Cory, manager of Belden Town Resort, tending the bar and quick as a wink he had us checked in. I wandered for several minutes taking in the eclectic mix of antiques and nostalgic what-nots that make up the unique and museum-like decor that defines this little gem owned by Ivan Coffman since 2000.
Steeped in a rich history, Belden was named for Sue and Robert Belden. Sue was a Maidu Indian and was the first to call this little piece of the peaceful Sierra home.
Across the highway sits an old stamp mill from the days when the gold rush raged through this part of Plumas County. It was used to crush the quartz to remove the veins of gold running through it. Rich Bar is just down the road. It was made famous when gold rush miners staked claims just 10 feet square as gold was so plentiful here. Most geologists agree that Plumas County is still hiding plenty of the precious metal that put this part of the Sierra on the map.
The railroad system through the Feather River Canyon is an engineering marvel and train enthusiasts are in the heart of it all at Belden Town Resort with the tracks running along the mountainside at the back of the property. We enjoyed hearing the trains chug by throughout our stay as several pass by daily.
After dropping our bags in our room we decided to take the camera and just explore the grounds. The largest of several totem poles was just off the back deck near the horseshoe pits and overlooking the river so I decided to start there. As we reached the sandy beach area Feather River College students William Hoxie and Shane Koskinen floated in by kayak. The Pacific Crest Trail also connects to Belden Town allowing visitors to arrive by foot or horseback as well.
We worked up an appetite hiking around so popped into the restaraunt for an early dinner of burgers and fries. Our friendly server, whose name was Moo, is one of only seven current permanent residents of Belden.
After dinner we went to our clean and comfortable room to catch the evening news. All rooms and cabins include satellite t.v. and free wifi and several of the hotel bathrooms are recently updated.
With 10 cabins offering full kitchens, 18 hotel rooms, 20 full RV spots and spaces for tent camping Belden Town Resort has a lodging option to fit every taste and budget.
Several music events are held at the resort annually and this year’s events include..
• Priceless Festival – June 29- July 2
• Sunset Campout – July 27-29
• Funk Fest – August 10-12
• Still Dream Fest – August 16 -19
Tickets and more information about the music can be found online along with more information on the history, the accommodations and this amzing area.
Visit www.beldentown.com and plan your next mountain retreat. Sit next to the river, soak in the sights and listen as the train rumbles by. Early reservations are highly recommended for all music events.