Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
8.00 mi (12.87 km)
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Offering great canyon views, a massive waterfall, a few smaller falls and creeks, wildflowers, and Native American history, the hike to Feather Falls is a great way to spend an afternoon. There are three trail options that allow visitors to choose a route based on time and difficulty. You can make it a loop, or you can opt to take one of two single trails there and back.

The 4.5-mile trail is easy and gradually follows a ridge through old-growth forests that offer shade, a smaller set of falls, and wildflowers. The 3.5-mile lower trail is intense going downhill and even more so coming back, but it offers beautiful views of Bald Rock Canyon and great views of Bald Rock Dome. A plutonic dome reminiscent of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, it rises nearly 2,000 feet above the canyon and river below. The best idea may be to take the 3.5-mile trail to get to the falls and to take the 4.5-mile trail on the return; this will allow you to see everything this trail has to offer.

As you begin your descent down the trail you quickly drop into the woods and then walk along the ridge above the canyon. As Bald Rock Dome comes into view, take a while to enjoy the scenery and read the information boards along the way. The dome was formed at the time Half Dome was being formed 140 million years ago, and it is 2 miles wide and 3,509 feet above sea level. It is a very cool site to see. There are six separate resting benches along the trail to enjoy as you hike the shorter route. This connects with the longer trail for the final climb to the falls.

You'll be able to tell just how massive these falls are as you get close enough to hear them. At over 600 feet tall, they put on a great show. You will have a great view of the falls and Bald Rock Canyon from the viewing deck. For those who backpack, this is also a killer spot for a campsite if you can arrive later in the afternoon and crowds have left. You also have the ability to continue on the trail and loop around to be right next to the massive drop and the falls. The rocks there also offer a very cool campsite.

As you return on the longer trail, you will be rewarded with more views of Bald Rock Dome as well as blooms of wildflowers and old-growth forests. This trail is fairly level most of the way. Frey Creek also offers a nice little waterfall and another nice spot to rest and relax. If you hike the entire 8-mile loop, expect to spend at least four hours or longer depending on how extensively you want to explore and enjoy the riparian ecosystem this area offers. The parking lot offers a restroom and multiple free campsites, so you can easily make this a great weekend trip. Please make sure to pack out what you pack in, and enjoy one of the coolest falls in Northern California!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Gorgeous fall. Backcountry camping at the falls. A lot of shade.

Cons

Tends to be busy.

Trailhead Elevation

2,500.00 ft (762.00 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,675.00 ft (510.54 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Waterfalls
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers
Geologically significant

Suitable for

Biking

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Comments

06/30/2017
The trail wasn't crowded. But there were mosquitoes at the beginning of the trail so, be sure to bring an insect repellant. Also, if you take the 3.5 mile trail going back, it was a bit kind of hard because the trail is mostly going up. Another thing is, there were plants with thorns that almost covered the way. Be sure to bring a stick to get those plants move out your way instead of using your bare hands.
04/08/2017
Hiked the Falls on Saturday. It took just over an hour to drive from Chico.
Started hiking just before 8am. It was cool and the air is damp the whole way. Expect to be wet, even if it isn't raining.
The initial forest area is very "rain" forest like: moss covered trees, fern covered hillsides and rushing creeks.
Frey creak falls is rushing really hard and Feather Falls is absolutely roaring right now.
Don't forget to take the side trail near the falls that goes around the canyon to the top of the falls.
I took the 4.5 loop out and 3.5 trail back. Definitely a good work out for the calves going up the shorter route.
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