Seeking Sasquatch

The most famous image of Sasquatch ever recorded. This is the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film shot in 1967. PHOTO Courtesy U.S. Forest Service

Bigfoot, Squatch, Skunk Ape, Woods Devil … the Sasquatch is known by many regional names throughout the world.

Tales of Sasquatch can be found throughout Native American culture. 

The Algonquian tribes of Eastern Canada referred to the beast as the Wendigo. Members of the Lummi in Western Washington tell tales about Ts’emekwes and Chinook tribes talk about “skoocooms” that inhabited the area around Mount St. Helens in southern Washington.

In Nepal, the creature is called a Yeti, his Siberian counterpart is the Almas.

The name Sasquatch originated in the 1920s when a series of stories by J.W. Burns ran in Canadian newspapers. Burns coined Sasquatch from the word Sasq’ets, meaning “wild men,” used by Salish tribes of British Columbia. 

What is a Sasquatch?

Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, is considered a cryptid, a creature presumed to exist on the basis of evidence considered insufficient by mainstream science.

Sasquatch is a very large, hairy, humanoid creature reputed to inhabit wilderness areas of the U.S. and Canada and range in height from 6-10 feet tall. They are believed to live in family groups in extremely remote wilderness areas. 

Bigfoot Clues

Perhaps the biggest clue you are close to a Sasquatch is the smell. Those who have reported sightings all make note of the exceptional foul odor that accompanies the creature.

The most common sign of Sasquatch activity are enormous footprints left in soft earth or mud. Footprints as large as 24 inches long and 8 inches wide have been reported. 

Bigfoot “nests” are large collections of forest materials, branches, leaves, pine needles and brush that can look like a giant bird’s nest or look like giant “huts” made from sticks and branches. They usually have the distinctive Sasquatch “smell,” as well.

Sasquatch are also said to twist, or “weave” branches in trees along their trails. To spot a Sasquatch’s trail, look up in the trees to see the twisted or broken branches that might indicate one has passed along the way. 

Where Can You Look?

More than a third of all Sasquatch sightings have occurred in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. Summer is the best time to head out to some of these remote locations to start your own search. However, now is the time to plan the logistics of your journey. (It will also give you something to do if you currently have a lot of free time.) Get your kids involved in the planning, too.  

First, you’ll need a map. Visit for the Bigfoot Touring Map of Northern California. You can also find dozens of books and other Sasquatch hunting resources. 

The most important thing you need to have at the ready during your Sasquatch search is a camera. 

 Willow Creek-China Flat Museum

38949 CA-299

Willow Creek, CA 95573


Known locally as the Willow Creek Bigfoot Museum, you will be greeted by a 25-foot tall Bigfoot statue on the front of the building. The Bigfoot Collection includes Bigfoot footprint casts, Bigfoot pictures, maps and other materials exhibited in a building specifically built to house the collection. The sale of Bigfoot books and souvenirs helps fund the museum. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. The museum is open to the general public Wednesday-Sunday May through September. 

California Bigfoot Scenic Byway

This byway start in Willow Creek from the Willow Creek Bigfoot Museum and ends at the Etna Brewery and Tap House, 231 W Miner St., Yreka, CA 96097


You may not spot a Sasquatch on this route, but you will definitely encounter beautiful forests and winding rivers. For the best chance of spotting the Sasquatch drive the 153 miles which passes through some of the most famous Sasquatch-sighting locations. This remote, two-lane road claims to have “most sightings of Bigfoot of anywhere in the country.”

Orleans and Six Rivers National Forest

1 Ishi Pishi Road, Orleans, CA  95556


There are more than 500,000 acres of wilderness to explore in the Orleans and Six Rivers National Forest. The small town of Orleans, is completely surrounded by the Six Rivers National Forest, and is the closest town to the site of the infamous Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film shot in 1967.

Nearly everyone has seen the controversial film which shows a blurry image of an ape-like creature walking into the woods as it turns and stares at the camera.

The 655 residents of Orleans are convinced Bigfoot roams the area. To visit the site where the Patterson-Gimlin film was shot involves an hour-long drive to the film site along Bluff Creek.

The Dry Lake backcountry campground was the site of Bigfoot thermal imaging in 2011. Get to the park early, when the Sasquatch are reportedly most active.

Bigfoot Discovery Museum

5497 Highway 9, Felton, CA 95018


Michael Rugg owns the Bigfoot Discovery Museum located near Santa Cruz. Rugg, a graduate of Stanford, has been collecting Bigfoot “evidence” and memorabilia since the 1950s. You can watch the Patterson/Gimlin Film play on a continuous loop at the museum as you explore the displays of Bigfoot footprints and numerous other artifacts. 

The museum also documents local Bigfoot sightings in the nearby mountains with pushpins marking the spots on a topographical map. The museum, opened in 2004, is free to visit, but donations are welcome.

Bigfoot Helicopter Tours

Bend Municipal Airport, 63132 Powell Butte Road, Bend, OR 97701

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One of the easiest ways to look for Sasquatch is from the air. The tour costs $649 for 1-3 passengers and takes guests soaring over the Deschutes National Forest, near Bend, a showcase of the remote corners of prime Bigfoot habitat. There have been numerous Bigfoot sightings since 1963 in this location.

Happy “Squatchin!” 

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