Low Water Levels Allow Kayakers to Paddle Through a Historic Train Tunnel on Shasta Lake

California’s historic drought brings plenty of negative impacts on the region, including water shortage and an already historic wildfire season. With low water levels plaguing Northern California waterways, we are beginning to find structures from our past that can bring a silver lining to this bad situation.

When the Sacramento River was flooded with the building of the Shasta Dam in 1945, water covered the town of Tennant and put nearby highways and railroads underwater. Now, as Shasta Lake reaches incredibly low water levels, we can see some of the areas that have been underwater for so many years.

The Shasta Railroad Train Tunnel was built in 1884 and was used until it was covered in water 60 years later. With water at the right height – not too high and not too low – kayakers were able to take a rare paddle through the historic train tunnel. They posted their adventures to social media:

Here’s a great video by Headwater Adventures that documents the entire trip through the tunnel:

This is a rare opportunity with the lake dropping at about a foot a day, so the tunnel will dry up again soon, like we saw in 2015:

Nothing like a fun silver lining during a historic drought!

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


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