List of Eel River crossings (California)

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Map of the Eel River watershed

This is a list of crossings of the Eel River, a 200-mile (320 km) river flowing from the Coast Range to its mouth on the North Coast of the U.S. state of California. It also includes dry crossings and earthfills (culverts). Crossings are listed proceeding upstream.

The Eel River begins near Bald Mountain, near Lake Pillsbury, and flows through that lake and flows north to the ocean near Rio Dell, where it spills into a river delta and an estuary. Along its course, it receives the Middle Fork at Dos Rios from the east, the North Fork also from the east, the South Fork at Weott from the southwest, and the Van Duzen River shortly downstream from the northeast. In total, the river drains about 3,684 square miles (9,540 km2). This list describes 37 crossings of the Eel.


Road or railway Description Coordinates
Cockrobin Island Road This bridge actually crosses the river only partway (on the right bank), to a sediment-deposit island of the same name, just above the mouth of the Eel River. It is 234 metres (768 ft) long.[1] 40°22′52″N 124°09′57″W / 40.3811°N 124.1657°W / 40.3811; -124.1657[2]
SR 211 Crosses a narrower stretch of the river above its delta, leading to the town of Fernbridge. It is 2,408 feet (734 m) long and is a concrete-arch design.[3] The bridge is a National Historic Monument.[4] 40°21′53″N 124°07′17″W / 40.3646°N 124.1213°W / 40.3646; -124.1213[2]
US 101 (1 and 2) Crosses the river on twin bridges just downstream of Rio Dell. The first built is 1,643 feet (501 m) long and was built in 1941.[1] The second is 1,729 feet (527 m) long and was built in 1973.[5] 40°18′13″N 124°04′20″W / 40.3035°N 124.0722°W / 40.3035; -124.0722 and 40°18′13″N 124°04′17″W / 40.3036°N 124.0713°W / 40.3036; -124.0713[2]
US 101 (3) Just upstream of Rio Dell, crosses the river running north-south connecting Rio Dell to Scotia. 40°17′36″N 124°03′19″W / 40.2933°N 124.0552°W / 40.2933; -124.0552[2]
Wildwood Avenue This bridge is directly upstream from but does not parallel the third Highway 101 crossing. 40°17′34″N 124°03′37″W / 40.2929°N 124.0602°W / 40.2929; -124.0602[2]
US 101 (4) This smaller bridge is shortly downstream of Stafford and a little downstream of the confluence with Stitz Creek. It is 1,020 feet (310 m) long and intersects both the Eel River and a railroad.[6] 40°16′20″N 124°02′24″W / 40.2723°N 124.0401°W / 40.2723; -124.0401[2]
Shively Flat Road Crosses from the steep slope, branching east away from Highway 254, leading to the river terrace that contains the town of Shively. Seasonal railcar bridge. 40°15′19″N 123°35′09″W / 40.2552°N 123.5858°W / 40.2552; -123.5858[2]
Larrabee Ranch Road (ford) This is a partially submerged dry crossing that leads east from the town of Holmes.[7] 40°15′00″N 123°33′37″W / 40.2501°N 123.5604°W / 40.2501; -123.5604[2]
Railroad bridge (1) This truss bridge crosses the Eel directly upstream of the South Fork Eel River's confluence with the Eel.[8] 40°12′40″N 123°33′01″W / 40.2112°N 123.5502°W / 40.2112; -123.5502[2]
Vinnum Road (ford) Again, this is a partially submerged dry crossing, just upstream of the Eel River's confuence with the South Fork Eel River.[7] 40°12′20″N 123°32′43″W / 40.2056°N 123.5454°W / 40.2056; -123.5454[2]
McCann Road This bridge is located approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) east-southeast of the South Fork confluence. The road crosses the channel of the river on a short bridge and continues over a gravel bar to the right bank of the river.[7] 40°11′37″N 123°30′07″W / 40.1935°N 123.5020°W / 40.1935; -123.5020[2]
Fort Seward Road Crosses the Eel River directly upstream from the community of Fort Seward. It is a double-span truss bridge that crosses on a downcut stretch of the Eel.[7] 40°11′37″N 123°30′07″W / 40.1935°N 123.5020°W / 40.1935; -123.5020[2]
Alderpoint Road Crossing directly upstream of the town of Alderpoint. It is a beam bridge with two spans. This bridge also crosses a railway.[7] 40°06′08″N 123°21′41″W / 40.1023°N 123.3613°W / 40.1023; -123.3613[2]
Dos Rios Road This crosses near the town of Dos Rios directly downstream of the confluence with the Middle Fork Eel River. 39°25′31″N 21°12′39″W / 39.4253°N 21.2109°W / 39.4253; -21.2109[2]
SR 162 (Covelo Road) This bridge is directly upstream of the Eel River's confluence with Outlet Creek, about 6 miles (9.7 km) upstream of the town of Dos Rios. 39°22′25″N 123°12′15″W / 39.3735°N 123.2042°W / 39.3735; -123.2042[2]
Unnamed Road (1) Crosses near a sharp bend in the Eel, a few miles southeast of the Outlet Creek confluence. This also is a dry crossing, not a bridge.[7] 39°21′10″N 123°10′32″W / 39.3529°N 123.1756°W / 39.3529; -123.1756[2]
Unnamed Road (2) Crosses on the other side of that incised meander, on the same road. It is also a dry crossing. Most of the crossing is on gravel, rather than on open water, as the Eel is very narrow at this point.[7] 39°21′08″N 123°10′33″W / 39.3521°N 123.1759°W / 39.3521; -123.1759[2]
Unnamed Road (1) This road branches off the previously described road and winds south along the Eel River before making this dry crossing. 39°19′52″N 123°10′15″W / 39.3311°N 123.1708°W / 39.3311; -123.1708[2]
Unnamed Road (2) Dry crossing 2 miles (3.2 km) upstream from the one previously described. 39°18′55″N 123°09′12″W / 39.3152°N 123.1532°W / 39.3152; -123.1532[2]
Hearst-Post Office Road This is a two span, beam bridge crossing just east of the town of Hearst. At this point the narrow and rugged Eel River canyon opens out into a broader valley. 39°17′38″N 123°07′24″W / 39.2939°N 123.1234°W / 39.2939; -123.1234[2]
Unnamed Road This road drops into the Eel River channel and crosses the river waters on a small bridge before ascending the west bank of the river. 39°15′39″N 123°05′02″W / 39.2608°N 123.0838°W / 39.2608; -123.0838[2]
Footbridge This narrow bridge crosses the river at the point where the previous road bends north in order to descend into the Eel River channel. Judging by its narrowness, it is most likely a suspension-type footbridge.[7] 39°15′36″N 123°05′00″W / 39.2600°N 123.0834°W / 39.2600; -123.0834[2]
Unnamed Road This is also likely a ford. 39°15′17″N 123°05′02″W / 39.2547°N 123.0840°W / 39.2547; -123.0840[2]
Unnamed Road This is also a ford, upstream of the Tomski Creek confluence. 39°15′05″N 123°04′52″W / 39.2514°N 123.0812°W / 39.2514; -123.0812[2]
Van Arsdale Road A ford very near the Hale Creek confluence, just upstream from it. 39°14′32″N 123°04′22″W / 39.2422°N 123.0729°W / 39.2422; -123.0729[2]
Unnamed Road A ford upstream of the Hale Creek confluence and downstream of the Salmon Creek confluence, closer to Salmon Creek. 39°14′24″N 123°04′12″W / 39.2400°N 123.0701°W / 39.2400; -123.0701[2]
Cape Horn Dam This is a small diversion dam forming a 1.4-mile (2.3 km) reservoir, just downstream of the Mill Creek confluence. It diverts water over a ridge to the south to the valley of the Russian River and is a primary component of the Potter Valley Project.[7] 39°13′52″N 123°03′57″W / 39.2310°N 123.0659°W / 39.2310; -123.0659[2]
Eel River Road This is a beam bridge about 1-mile (1.6 km) upstream of Van Arsdale Road, and directly downstream of the Rocky Creek confluence. 39°13′32″N 123°03′19″W / 39.2255°N 123.0554°W / 39.2255; -123.0554[2]
Forest Road 18N25 This is a ford just downstream of the Eel River's confluence with Soda Creek. 39°14′36″N 122°35′07″W / 39.2434°N 122.5852°W / 39.2434; -122.5852[2]
Elk Mountain Road/Simmons Road This is a two-span beam bridge very closely upstream from Forest Road 18N25, and is upstream of the Soda Creek confluence. After crossing the river and proceeding eastwards, it becomes known as "Scott Dam Road". 39°14′37″N 122°35′04″W / 39.2436°N 122.5844°W / 39.2436; -122.5844[2]
Scott Dam This dam crosses the Eel River to form Lake Pillsbury reservoir, which covers 2,000 acres (8.1 km2). It generates hydroelectricity and regulates downstream flow for the Potter Valley Project. 39°14′33″N 122°34′23″W / 39.2426°N 122.5731°W / 39.2426; -122.5731[9]
Forest Route 19N02 Dry crossing 8 miles (13 km) upstream from where the Eel River empties into Lake Pillsbury. 39°18′46″N 122°30′38″W / 39.3129°N 122.5106°W / 39.3129; -122.5106[2]
Forest Road 23N56 Crossing by an earthfill, 2 miles (3.2 km) upstream from Forest Road 19N02. 39°19′51″N 122°30′53″W / 39.3309°N 122.5146°W / 39.3309; -122.5146[2]
Forest Road 20N05 Dry crossing upstream from where the Eel River spills downwards and loses nearly 1,600 feet (490 m) in elevation in a run of about 2,000 feet (610 m).[10] 39°21′01″N 122°32′42″W / 39.3503°N 122.5449°W / 39.3503; -122.5449[2]
Forest Road M61 (1) About 1-mile (1.6 km) upstream from Forest Route 20N05. 39°21′12″N 122°33′42″W / 39.3532°N 122.5618°W / 39.3532; -122.5618[2]
Forest Route M61 (2) Although not technically a crossing, the road crosses directly upstream from the rocky ravine where the Eel River begins.[10] N/A; not a crossing

See also[edit]

General references[edit]


  1. ^ a b The National Bridge Inventory mentions that this bridge is "Functionally Obsolete"
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah Derived from Google Earth
  3. ^ The National Bridge Inventory gives the description as: "Concrete continuous arch - Deck"; it also mentions that the bridge is "Functionally Obsolete" and has a "Sufficiency Rating of 32 percent".
  4. ^ "Eel River at Fernbridge, CA". United States Geological Survey. California Water Science Center ( Retrieved 2009-07-16. 
  5. ^ National Bridge Inventory
  6. ^ The National Bridge Inventory describes the bridge as intersecting "Eel River and NWP RR" and "Functionally Obsolete".
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Judged by Google Earth satellite imagery, by Tele Atlas, Digital Globe (2009)
  8. ^ The National Bridge Inventory gives the name of the railway crossing this bridge only as "NWW Railway".
  9. ^ "Scott Dam". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.  19 January 1981. Accessed 2009-07-15.
  10. ^ a b Derived from Google Earth topographic map. Cartography by NAVTEQ, 2009.