By Michel Fike
Photos by Robert Fike
There is no more pleasant way to spend a crisp autumn day than on a hike in the mountains, and one of our family’s favorites is the Frazier Falls Trail in the Lakes Basin Area of the Plumas National Forest. Though this trail is just over a mile in length, it provides glacial vistas, an array of colorful rock gardens and wildflowers, an impressive waterfall, peaceful creek views, and a rare access to hiking and the outdoor experience for those with mobility challenges. Though outdoor recreational activities abound in the mountains of northeastern California, finding a trail that can accommodate wheeled or motorized chairs, or provide knee-friendly access for those of us of a certain age, can be problematic. Fortunately, in 2008 the Graeagle Lions Club adopted this national forest trail. Volunteers widened, straightened, paved and graded the trail and installed regularly spaced benches. The falls overlook, previously accessible only by serious rock hopping, was enlarged and smoothed, giving clear views of the Falls’ 176 drop from Frazier Creek to the Feather River below. The best times to visit are in Spring and Summer, when the creek and falls are at their fullest. However, the trail is open all year and impressive in all seasons. Now, is a particularly good time to view late season wildflowers and butterflies, before the weather turns cold. The trail is rated as moderate over all with some difficult short grades with a 12-14% rise. This is also a great kids’ trail. Some other accessible trails and outdoor experiences in the Mountain Valley Living area include the Headwaters Trail and fishing pier at McArthur Burney State Park; the Lakeshore Trail at Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park in Tahoe; and the Devastated Area interpretive trail at Lassen National Park. Both The Eagle Lake and Lake Almanor Recreation Trails offer lake, forest and meadow views for those who want a longer trek. Eagle Lake Trail winds along 5.2 miles of shoreline, and the Lake Almanor Trail covers 9.5 miles along the southwest shore. For more information about accessible trails in California, Check out the Rails to Trails Conservancy website at http://www.traillink. com/stateactivity/ca-wheelchair-accessible-trails.aspx .