The Canyon Creek Trail begins right at the confluence of the North Fork of the American River and the Middle Fork of the American River, both of which bring fresh water down from the Sierra Nevada.
Hiking this trail in early springtime means the wildflowers are beginning to crawl all over the hillsides and river's edge. But more importantly, the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta Falls are in full effect.
Black hole? Yes indeed! Coming off the tail-end of a wet winter, Calcutta Falls’ heavy water flow often gives its base a somewhat ominous and dark abyss feel. Not too worry though, it rarely gets more than a few feet deep throughout the year, so it’s relatively safe for families to dip their toes in.
If the falls aren’t enough to take your breath away, the trail meanders along steep cliffs that are often home to a variety of birds of prey whose screeches can be heard echoing up the rocky corridors. These are just a few species among a wide variety of wildlife that call this place home.
The Canyon Creek Trail also has historical ties to the California Gold Rush era, when thousands of immigrants came from far and wide to test their luck. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find some? If not, don’t fret. The real treasure exists within the vistas and natural beauty of a luscious river valley.
Park hours are 7 a.m. through sunset.