Railroad Repeats

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American River     39°11'43.86"N, 120°46'50.58"W


The Hart photograph seems almost an illustration from the Crofutt guide. It shows men peering down into the canyon in the way that Crofutt described.

Shearer p. 247 “Just west of Trail Spur, and after passing Serpentine Ravine, one may look down the Great American Canon into Green Valley and Giant’s Gap, beyond. The view is sublime, with the bright emerald green of the pastures; the terraced and rounded, black, gloomy forests over Alta.”--- Shearer uses “canon” for “canyon”

p. 251 The Great American Canon is “by far the finest canon of the entire Pacific Railroad. The suddenness of approach, and the grandeur of scene are so overpowering, that no pen, no picture or language can give to it adequate description. Two thousand feet below, flow the quiet waters of the American River. Westward is seen the chasm, where height and peak and summit hang loftily of the little vale. Southward is a sea, yea an ocean of mountains—and the observer, seemingly on the same level, is bewildered at the immensity of Nature’s lavish display of mountain wonders;”

Crofutt p. 165-166 “Fronting Alta, and but a short distance from the town, it the Great American Canyon, one of the grandest gorges in the Sierra Mountains… The river here is compressed between two walls, 2,000 feet high, and so near perpendicular that we can stand on the brink of the cliff and look directly down on the foaming waters below. The canyon is about two miles long, and so precipitous are its sides, which are washed by the torrent, that it has been found impossible to ascend the stream through the gorge, even on foot.”


The current roadbed has been widened and is now double tracked.