A suspension bridge over the Illinois River leads to the McCaleb Ranch Boy Scout Camp. [Photo by Curt Kline]

Wildflowers, a swinging bridge and the Illinois River

Editor’s Note: Day Trippin’ is a recurring feature that gives readers a chance to play tour guide and tell us about a nearby getaway.

For several years now I have driven the paved, two-lane road that starts at the main store in Selma on the Redwood Highway.

All along the way, there are beautiful views of the Illinois River, the hillsides and, in the spring, there are flowers galore. There are also several places to pull over, take a break, enjoy the views and go potty, if necessary.

Most of the pull-outs are paved, also. So if you take the trip in your car, don’t worry, the road is paved 98 percent of the way, and the parts that are dirt are not that bad.

To get there, take Interstate 5 to Grants Pass and take Exit 55. Head west on US 199/Redwood Highway for about 22 miles, and when you get to the town of Selma, turn right at the store and follow the Illinois River Road along the Illinois River for about 12 miles, at which time it turns to dirt.

When you get to the “end” of the road, where it turns to dirt, you can turn left toward the Illinois River and go down a fairly steep road toward the river, where you’ll see the huge swinging bridge, a suspension foot bridge that leads across the river to the McCaleb Ranch Boy Scout Camp, which is owned by the Boy Scouts of America.

The bridge, built in 1963, is about 60 feet above the river. During the summer you might see kids jumping into the Illinois River from the bridge.

When you get down to the river, you’ll find a flat bridge you can drive across, and on the other side of the river to your right you’ll see the Boy Scout camp, which sits on 106 acres. It burned to the ground during the Biscuit fire in 2002 and was rebuilt from donations.

Enjoy the drive — and the walk across the suspension bridge, if you dare. It’s well worth it.

— Curt Kline was born and raised in Medford and has been going on local road trips for most of his 71 years.

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