By Melissa Wynn
As the mountain snows of the long winter melt away, the hills come alive with the music of falling water. Seasonal spontaneous Spring waterfalls cascade down the awakening slopes throughout our mountain valley neighborhood. As summer warms the woods, several of these natural wonders disappear, but the song never ends. Waterfall lovers are right at home in our neck of the woods. All summer long we are blessed to enjoy the following five fabulous falls.
BURNEY FALLS: Burney Falls is my number-one pick. Cascading down over a horseshoe type area, gives dimension and character to the 129 foot natural wonder that pours into a deep blue pool full of rainbows. The hike gives several perspectives, but a short walk for a good look is also an option. Several camping, dining , lodging and world class fishing options are available nearby. Located in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park northeast of Redding, six miles north of Hwy 299 on Hwy 89 near Burney, these favorite falls of mine are an advised “must see”.
[media-credit id=4 align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]FRAISER FALLS: Next our waterfall wanderings take us to the Lakes Basin Recreation area where raging Fraiser Falls plummets 248′ with a 176′ free fall. Very family friendly with a paved trail, Fraiser is a waterfall everyone can enjoy. Located about five miles from Graeagle on Fraiser Falls Rd just off of the Gold Lake Hwy, Fraiser Falls is sure to take your breath away. Wheel chair accessible picnic area and on site restrooms are extra assurance all can bask in the glory of plunging Fraiser Falls. Wheel chair assistance may be necessary due to an area of the trail with a sustained eight percent grade.
FEATHER FALLS: No Nor Cal waterfall tour would be complete without a look at the towering Feather Falls near Oroville. This waterfall asks that you take a bit of a hike to stand at her greatness. The round trip hike is over eight miles and takes several hours, but is sooo worth it. Hiking to the top rewards you with an awesome view right over the edge at the top. Feather Falls is among the tallest in the state. My research uncovered measurements ranging from 400′ to 640′ . Either way, it is a huge thundering natural wonder, amazing to behold. From Oroville, head east on Hwy 162, right on Forbestown Rd, Left on Lumpkin RD then left again at the Feather Falls sign. Bring a picnic and enjoy a family day adventure.
INDIAN FALLS: Indian Falls has been a regular spring and summer time stop for me throughout my teens and adulthood. I have built many a treasured memory in this special place in my own neighborhood. Located just a few miles outside Crescent Mills on Hwy 89 in the mystical Indian Valley, Indian Falls is an effortless visit with no hiking required and a great little picnic area. Indian Falls doesn’t cascade off of a tall cliff. It is actually quite short, but wide. During the Spring melt, these falls roll and churn over their modest drop and give an up close and personal view of the magnificent power of moving water. Tucked into the woods, Indian Falls is not visible from the highway, just watch for the sign. Along the trail, you will learn facts about the trail and it’s rich Maidu history.
PIT RIVER FALLS: Pit River Falls and the Pit River offer majestic beauty on every view. Several fingers of whitewater rapids rush over the rocks in thundering turbulence. Located on Hwy 299 just a few miles from Fall River Mills, Pit River Falls offers a glimpse of brilliance for all. There is a distant view from the look out on Hwy 299 and two options for hiking in. Several PG&E powerhouses dot the river in this area and Powerhouse #1 Camp is the first hike in choice. The other hike includes exploring the Shoshone Trail. Both hikes are quite steep.
Sources: Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce, Oroville Chamber of Commerce, sierraoutdoorrecreation.com, waterfallswest.com