Its hard to believe that a 220ft waterfall would remain hidden on any map until 2005. This is only possible in places as wild as the temperate jungles of Northern California. Fortunately this gem can be hiked in 1/2 a day.
|Whiskeytown Falls, California|
The Northwestern Mountains of Northern California are some of the most sparsely populated and seldom traveled places in the state. The area bound between Route 101 and Interstate 5 is characterized by lush, green forests covering surprisingly rugged coastal ranges. Its certainly not the California where you see people sunbathing and surfing but its beautiful in its own right. Only a few highways and logging road permeate the area and most of it is National Forest Land. I suppose that's why Whiskeytown Falls remained off the grid until the 21st century.
Whiskeytown Falls is located in Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area
Its located about 10 miles west of Redding, California, 2.5 hours from Sacramento and about 3.5 hours from San Francisco. The lake/reservoir lies at the foot of the coastal ranges of Northern California and is surprisingly accessible. To get to the trailhead for Whiskeytown Falls, follow these directions
|Upper Cascades of Whiskeytown Falls|
Hiking to the falls is not far nor very difficult but it is a little steep and slippery in some sections. I'd recommend bringing rain gear in the winter and lots of water in the summer. This part of California tends to have extremely hot summers without the benefit of the Delta Breezes that Sacramento has. Total round-trip distance is about 3.4 miles. The trail is well marked and easy to follow.
Once you reach the bottom of the falls, you can stop here and get some pictures or ascend the slippery slopes, using the hand rails for balance. This part is a little dangerous!
If the 220ft falls does not satisfy you thirst for waterfalls, there are an additional three falls to hike to. Boulder Creek Falls
is a 138ft drop and the second highest in the park. Brandy Creek falls
is a nice group of cascades also worth seeing. Finally there's the Crystal Creek Falls
which are very easily hiked.
Its rare to hear of something being off the map until the 21st century, but that just goes to show that Northern California is one wild and rugged place. Its nice to know that things are still being "discovered"!
Read. Plan. Get Out There!