Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film site: driving directions to some of the most famous sites in Bigfoot history.
Authored by the Bluff Creek Project
The Patterson-Gimlin film site is arguably the most famous location in Bigfoot history. It has been Called the Bigfoot “Mecca”, but to us at the Bluff Creek Project, it is our favorite spot to go for a day hike into the wilderness. When I talk to people who are interested in the site they have a few preconceived misconceptions; the first and foremost is that the location of the actual site is lost. This was partially true until the summer of 2012 when the site was not just rediscovered, but proven to be the actual film site (bigfootbooksblog.blogspot.com/). These detailed directions will assist any adventurer on their journey to the spot where Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin met Patty in 1967.
A few safety notes of getting to the site:
The film site is in the middle of nowhere. It is over an hour drive out of the nearest town or Orleans, Ca. If you decide to go to the site, first and foremost please tell someone exactly where you are going. I always have a deadline for being home and an emergency plan. I tell a friend “If I don’t call you by 10pm, get in your truck and come find me”. The road getting down there isn’t too bad but can be rugged at times. I've had my Subaru Outback down there many times but I wouldn’t take anything smaller. Please travel in groups, with multiple cars if available, that way you can get out if something on your vehicle breaks. Stay on marked roads and trails! If you go off trail wandering and you get hurt you might die! If someone knows where you are then they can come find you but if you wander off you might not make it out of the forest. The area itself is very safe and suitable for families and kids. It’s the perfect environment to teach them about outdoor safety. There is a stereotype that the hills are full of pot farms, meth labs, and drugged up crazy people, this is not true. It is very rare that you will cross a drug operation, and the upper part of the creek has no pot growers on it. There are some by Fish Lake but that is tens of miles away.
Steven Streufert says:
"GO AT YOUR OWN RISK. BE PREPARED. BRING A SPARE AND LOTS OF FOOD AND WATER. BEAR SPRAY, GPS, AND A TOPO MAP."
Be careful out there! You don't want to turn this movie into a reality!
The easiest and quickest way to get to the film site is to take the Eyesee Rd (the GO road) from Orleans. This road cuts north from town and heads into the mountains. Follow this road for about 17 miles until you get to the 12N12 intersection. This intersection is marked with a large sign that is hard to miss, it has driving distances to Louse Camp and other places on it. Take 12N12 for a couple miles (~1.7mi) until you get to the intersection of 12N13, this is marked by a large gate which is locked from late September to early June. Forest Road 12N13 is the road to louse camp campground if you wish to camp out. Take 12N13 for about four miles (~3.6) until you get to 12N13H which is on the right. The sign might be pushed over, but there is a large pullout on the left side of the road just opposite 12N13H. 12N13H is the road down to the film site. It is rough in some spots and high clearance is recommended, subarus are okay but a low clearance sedan would risk getting hung up. The road is about two miles to the berm at the end of the road, which is a large pile of dirt that was set by a dozer to block further vehicle access. There is some room to park cars, we have had up to six cars at the berm, more space is available further up the road to park if more room is necessary.
Getting to the film site from the parking lot:
From the parking area at the berm the film site is a short 30-45 minute walk. It is suitable and safe for families and children but not recommended for people who people who have bad knees or trouble walking. We have had 400lb people hike down and back fine, as well as people in their 80s. The greatest risk is slipping and rolling your ankle. The hike down is steep at times and a hiking stick is recommended. The trail follows the old logging road cut to the creek. About two thirds of the way down the road is washed out into a ravine and a small trail is available on the left side. Be careful here, people have slipped scrambling up the steep sides. Continue until reach the bottom of the road by the creek, this is the location of the famous “bat boxes”. From here there are two paths possible. The first is just to wade through the creek until you reach the site. The second and easiest is to take the trail on the gravel bar. Just walk upstream on the trail through the woods below the road you came down. The paths are overgrown, just hug the canyon wall and follow the trails. There are a few interesting spots but just keep heading to the end of the gravel bar where it meets the creek. There is a bit of a scramble on the trail on the right of some downed logs. From here just hike in the creek itself, it's usually pretty flat and you can walk on the sandbars part of the way. Keep hiking until you reach a small set of rapids with small pool below. This is the famous "root ball". Just past these on the left side of the creek is a small cliff with a trail running up it. There should be some orange or pink flagging visible on the bank. The flat area above is where the Bigfoot walked in the film. There should be a couple visible trail cameras and some more flagging hanging the trees. Once you find them then you know you are at the right place. Rogers filming position at frame 352 was about five feet right of the top of this small footpath. This should be marked by a small flag suspended by a string. There is also a nalgene bottle strapped to one of the trees with the register log book. Please sign in with your info so we can keep records of who visits the site.
Getting to Louse Camp:
If you're thinking about camping for the night or a few nights, Louse Camp is the camp of choice. It's a bit hard to find but it's right on the creek, has a pit toilet, and some other amenities. To get there just take 12N13 west from the GO road. Louse camp is about ~9 miles from the go road and about 5 miles from the PG film site road. 12N13 takes you down to the small Bluff Creek bridge which is a good spot to take pictures. Continue along the road and stay to the left. There is another small bridge that crosses Notice Creek. Just up that creek a few hundred feet is where Jerry Crew first reported fuel drums tossed in the creek by a bigfoot. Keep going past that bridge and stay to the left at the next intersection. That drops you into camp. There are some picnic tables and some fire pits. The camp is historic and not "officially" maintained by the forest service. They don't stock the toilets with TP so make sure to bring your own. One of the most attract features of the camp is the crystal clear fairy pool, located just down a small trail at the back of the camp. This pool is famous and throughout the hot summer, locals traveling the road often stop to take a dip. Clothing is seldom worn and the waters regenerative powers are hailed as miraculous. It's a great spot to wash off the grime of a day's hike, reaching six-eight feet deep there is room to dive from a small overhang. There has been reports of Bigfoots coming down to spy on people bathing in the creek. The camp itself has some incredible history dating back to the 1950s. Loggers had reported Bigfoot tracks around the camp traversing up the creek. It was also the base camp for the 1958 Pacific Northwest expedition funded by Abominable Snowman hunter Tom Slick.
Alternative routes to the film site:
There are two other ways to get up to the film site. They take a bit longer bet can be of use if the G-O road is blocked by snow or if you wish to explore a bit. The first is on the Bluff Creek road past Fish Lake. Fish Lake is a favorite location for squatchers to camp, there is a very nice developed campground and it is suitable for small cars to travel to. There are tons of campsites and good fishing. The fish lake road is a dead end no it doesn't go through. Continue on the Bluff Creek road to the 12N intersection. At the 12N intersection turn right to go to louse camp.
The second way to get to the film site is on Slate Creek rd. Slate Creek rd is only a couple miles north of the Bluff Creek rd and is a good way to get to get to the film site. It's pretty steep and has some interesting sections but is generally passable in a sedan. I've driven my Prius this way before. This road takes you past Twin Lakes and Mosquito Lake. Both famous squatching spots and excellent spots to find bear tracks. Keep driving until you read cedar camp rd (12n12) then turn left. Continue for ~5(?) miles until you reach the green gate on rd 12N13 which leads to Louse Camp. The Patterson site is just down this road on the H spur 12N13H.