As we discover errors or additional information–whether through our own exploration or comments that come in from our loyal readers–we’ll provide corrections and/or updates here. Please contact us if there is anything you feel we should consider, including any good trails in the area not in our book. Note: all previous updates and notations have been included in the 2015 Revised and Expanded edition:
SPECIAL ALERT: We are hearing more and more from various PG&E officials that they are likely to begin fencing off the most popular entrance points to the flumes! They have already begun posting new signs, as follows: “DANGER. Keep Off Elevated Walkway–Not for Public Use.” Because all of this is surely being done to protect themselves from potential legal liability in the event someone is injured, we have considered these signs to be more advisory than prohibitive. However, in a certified letter sent to us July 20, 2017 (which can be seen in its entirety on our FaceBook page) we were informed that this interpretation is “inaccurate.” If they go ahead with plans to actually fence off the flume trails (there is even talk of hiring security personnel to enforce a new “no trespassing” prohibition!) then we’ll all regrettably be deprived of this marvelous recreational opportunity that PG&E has made available over the past century. Because of that, we believe a public prescriptive easement has been effectively created and if push comes to shove we’ll do our best to defend that argument if any of this ever ends up in the courts. So, word to the wise: if you’ve not yet gotten out to hike every mile of these flumes, we suggest you do so before it’s too late. (And you might want to start with the Centerville flume as there is talk of completely taking that out now that they are no longer sending water down it for the Centerville Powerhouse which, sadly enough, will likely never be brought on line again.) Moreover, PG&E is trying to divest itself of all its local reservoirs, ditches and powerhouses (most recently including the Miocene Canal per the local papers), so there is no telling what the future of the flume trails might be at this time. To be clear, PG&E has asked that we NOT encourage the public use of these trails. Should you decide to use them anyway (thus far, their signage only applies to the waterway itself and the elevated walkways), we encourage you to exercise extreme caution should you opt to walk across the elevated walkways contrary to PG&E directives. NEVER ride a bicycle on these catwalks and please come to a complete stop before looking around at all the pretty scenery. And if you suffer from vertigo or a fear of heights, it’s probably best to skip these entirely. That said, you should know that newspaper reports of young people being hurt “on the flumes” almost always refer to accidents that occur when people take steep trails off of the Miocene Canal down to the West Branch and then jump off rocks into the river. When used properly, with appropriate footwear, not pushing children in strollers, etc., the flume trails themselves are actually quite safe. If you’d like to discourage PG&E from fencing off the flume trails, you might want to contact their P.R. representative, Mr. Paul Moreno. His email is PMMm@pge.com. You might also contact Meg Richardson, with PG&E’s Office of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Her email is MRMq@pge.com. Her office phone number, in San Francisco, is (415) 973-5661. Be polite, of course, but let them know what a huge loss it would be to us if they were to fence us off from our local history and that doing so would undoubtedly create some serious P.R. problems for their company. As if they don’t already have enough problems what with the San Bruno explosions, the 2017 fires in Santa Rosa and elsewhere (allegedly caused by their faulty equipment) and the recent tree-cutting debacle in Oroville. It’s good that they are concerned about “public safety,” but it seems to us that flume walkers are the least of their problems.
Pg. 10-11, “Private Property”: Given the above, it should be obvious that our statement that PG&E is “happy” to allow hikers on their flume trails is not accurate. Nonetheless, we believe a prescriptive easement has been effectively created given that the public has used these flume trails for river access and other recreational purposes for a full century now. Although we’ll likely comply with PG&E’s request by no longer encouraging public use of same via our FaceBook page, we feel an obligation to our readers to continue to provide updates on all the trails in our book here on our website. And we’ll continue to offer our book for sale, at least until such time as we exhaust the current stock or PG&E purchases the book rights from us.
Pg. 24: We learned from the 1966 edition of the Gold Nugget Gazette that zzzz’C.L. Durban, of Pentz, was the first man to manufacture raisins in California. These first raisins were sold to Gov. Perkins. Mr. Durban afterwards sent raisins o Paris where they won a prize at the World’s Fair.”
Pg. 32, “Special Interest Hikes”: Under “Waterfall(s)” delete T33 and add T35, though they are mostly seasonal.
Pp. 36 (F1) & 38 (F2): Due to a rash of break-ins of cars parked at the top of the head-dam road, we suggest parking in the lot at the corner of Skyway and Coutelenc. That will mean walking just a tad farther, but your vehicle will be much safer alongside the much busier Skyway. Also, please note that another small stand of the rare McNab cypress trees (same as found on hike T28) is located here. For that reason, the area with the cypress trees is part of the Lassen National Forest.
Pg. 41 (F2 Alternative Access): The steel catwalk that used to cross the flume at this point became very twisted and was since removed all together. Also, you’ll note that some major new cement work was done on the canal about half-way between here and the head dam in March/April of 2016. A sub-contractor told us that his portion alone came to $400,000 and he estimated that due to the fact that all the cement and excavating equipment had to be brought in via helicopter from Kunkel Reservoir that the total cost of this project had to be in excess of $1,000,000. And we wonder why our electric bills are so high!
Pg. 42 (Dean Road Access): The bottom of Dean Rd. has also been the site of numerous break-ins. (In fact, our car was broken into by using some kind of shim, as the doors were locked, but the windows weren’t broken. The thieves stole our GPS, a pair of pants, and even Roger’s prescription glasses–go figure. We’d originally planned to hike somewhere else that day, where there would be a lot of poison oak, so Roger had initially put on a second pair of pants. But then we decided it was too hot, so he took them off and left them in the car at the last minute. BIG mistake, as his camera was attached to his pants and his wallet and keys were inside one of the pockets. And yes, the thieves grabbed the pants as well. One of them is apparently a local transient well known to the police by the name of Shawn Meyers; we know because Mr. Meyers was identified as the person trying to use our credit card at a couple of local establishments. By the time we re-keyed our cars and house, bought a new camera, etc. this little break-in cost us well over $1,000. (Mr Meyers was subsequently found guilty of credit card fraud and sent to jail; thus far we have recovered a whole $40 or so from him via court order, so we’re not holding our breath on being made whole.) Long story short: hide any valuables out of sight; better still, leave them at home! (And if you happen to know Shawn Meyers please warn him against ever setting foot on our property or even looking at one of our vehicles!) In early 2018 a new gate was installed here to keep vehicles from driving all the way down to the canal, which we completely support, as doing so damaged a drain pipe and is hardly necessary. (People who did this reminded us of folks who would drive to a local gym only to circle around, trying to find a parking spot right next to the door; c’mon folks–you’re here for the exercise, after all.) Some additional, less than welcoming signage has been added to this new gate, but in late February of 2018 we arrived just as a bunch of PG&E workers and either upper management officials or prospective buyers were leaving the area. They asked us if we were there to hike and then simply said “Have a good hike and be careful.” We have NEVER been told by local PG&E workers, whom we often encounter while hiking along their canals, that we should not be there.
Pg. 44 (F3): The trail found at minute 12 is to one of the best and most popular swimming holes on this part of the river. It is named “the Nose,” though it could have just as easily been named for some other part of the male anatomy, given the remarkable geological formation on the other side of the river. Btw, if anyone knows what the cement footings were used for, found half-way down the trail, we’re dying to know.
Pg. 52 (F4): Due to the Saddle Fire, from September of 2016, the “heavy wooden planks” across the old intake tank for the siphon that once went down the hill, under the river, and back up to the Wilenor Ditch are no more. (In fact, the next flume, immediately downstream, was also completely destroyed and then re-built.) But an upside of the fire is that it cleared a lot of the brush in the area, making it much easier to hike down to and then back up to the top of “Cape Horn,” where you’ll find a survey benchmark at the top of that hill. Furthermore, an old road is now visible, beginning at the tank, which we had never noticed before. Want to access the river/lake at this point? Just follow the road downhill, but when it switches back to the right keep going straight. (The switchback to the right peters out a bit further downhill.) So keep going straight and then, after quite a distance, look for a trail off to your right. (If you come to a relatively flat, widened out area you’ve gone too far.) This trail–which we imagine might have been a mule trail at some point in the past, perhaps for miners, will switchback down to the river/lake. Thanks to the fire, it is very easy to negotiate.
Pg. 59 (F6): Sometime in late 2017 or early 2018 new “no trespassing” signage was added to the gate at the beginning of this trail, but it’s difficult for us to believe that PG&E is serious about this, as we have hiked to the powerhouse since the new sign went up when there were PG&E workers there and no one said a word to us. We assume this is there to discourage vandals from messing with their equipment, but respectful hikers seem to always be tolerated, if not downright welcome.
Pg. 60: On either side of the old cement stairs you’ll find red flowering quince bushes. These blooms are gorgeous in the early spring, but watch out for the thorns. These heirloom shrubs are often found at historic home sites, which is the case here. You’ll also find one of the two types of jonquils that were also planted at the Parrish Camp, as noted on the next page. (Update: due to the fire that ravaged this area the quince bushes are gone and only time will tell whether they will come back.) To get a good view of the penstock, walk along the canal past the powerhouse, where the water comes out, and then work your way up the hill behind it, on the north side. You can also approach it from behind the powerhouse, from the cement steps with the flowering quince–just keep heading north, looking for the penstock to your left. For an extra adventure, you can hike up the penstock for a short distance, over a barbed wire fence and then, shortly after you pass a section of old pipe coming out of the penstock, bushwack your way over to the steel building on the left, now largely hidden by brush. (As always, watch out for that pervasive poison oak.) Inside is a huge wooden tank (doubtless made of redwood), used by the former residents as their water source. It’s really quite fascinating, but be careful, as the floor in the building has rotted out in places. (Update: sadly, the fire completely destroyed both the wooden tank and the steel building.) An historic PG&E photograph from 1917 (the year PG&E took over the 1906 powerhouse from Oro Electric Corp.) shows two residences, two other structures, the building with the wooden water tower, as well as the powerhouse. Only the last of these are extant today, but if you look closely you should be able to figure out more or less where the other buildings once stood.
Pg. 61: The abandoned ditch-tender homes we mention here are no longer. Now, all you’ll see is a large, empty field. It’s probably just as well that they tore them down, as they were likely an attractive nuisance for kids looking for a place to party. Still, it’s a little sad to see history erased in this manner. TIP: in the very early spring there are two types of lovely jonquils blooming here, likely planted some 60 years or more in the past.
Pg. 62. We recently came across the following info. on the lime kiln that was printed in the 1966 Gold Nugget Gazette, precursor to the newspaper used to advertise our annual Gold Nugget Days: The Parrishes own this lime kiln. The Curtis’s had a lime kiln at one time in the same vicinity, but it has gone to pieces. This particular one we visited in 1964 is about 25 to 30 feet high and 10 to 12 feet wide and still in good condition. Frank park who took us to see this kiln explained that wood (digger pine) was spread on the ground inside the kiln, then pieces of lime slack then more wood until filled to the top. When heated the lime rock would become molten and then reduce to powder as it cooled. Operation of this kiln was stopped about 70 or 75 years ago. This makes a very pretty picture the way the moss and vines have grown around the kiln. Inside was a lot of slag still around the walls.” Of course the construction of Lake Oroville washed away any vines, etc., and the kiln is a mere shadow of its former self, but we’re betting this is the one they are talking about as it is located at Parrish Cove.
Pg. 62 (TIP): We have recently discovered a spot where one can easily view Lime Saddle, the powerhouse and a good portion of Lake Oroville from the cliffs above. As you drive down Pentz Road, just before you get to Lime Saddle Road, turn left on Silvera Court and drive down that road until you see three mailboxes, on the left. There is a turn-out here where you’ll want to park. Then, look for the trail down to the edge of the bluff just north of the mailboxes. There might be a small clump of poison oak here, so watch out, but this is a much better trail than the one on the other side of the mailboxes. Exercise extreme caution as you walk along the trail that parallels the canyon, but be sure to bring your binoculars and camera for some truly stunning views. (Looking for a memorable place to propose marriage? This could well be the spot!) Then, as long as you are in the neighborhood, continue down Silvera Ct. to the very end, where the road is chained off. Park here and continue down the old two-lane asphalt road that was, we’ve been informed, the original Pentz Rd. Notice how Nature is taking over what was once a major thoroughfare. The road will dead-end at a culvert and a U. S. Geological bench mark after a leisurely stroll of fifteen minutes or so, though a trail does then lead back up to the “new” Pentz Rd. (Note: local landowners do not appreciate folks turning around in their driveways, so please be respectful of private property.)
Pp. 63-66 (F7): Inasmuch as the first gate (pg. 64) is now always locked–though someone has cut it open, as well as a section of the fence up level with the canal–and because the second gate (pg. 65) is now both permanently locked and posted against trespassing, the only way you can experience all but the first two minutes along this section of the canal is to begin at the other end by following the directions in the Alternative Access (pg. 66), easing yourself under the non-posted fence at the beginning. (We self-servingly assume that if a fence or gate is locked, but un-posted, it is there to keep cattle in rather than nice hikers like ourselves out.) This means a steep climb up the hill to the canal, but as of January of 2018 you won’t encounter any “no trespassing” signs or locked gates until you get close to Lime Saddle. In fact, should we do another edition of the book we’ll completely rewrite this section accordingly..
Another big change on this trail is that as you approach the end, PG&E has installed a new gauging station, which you’ll walk right past. We mention it because it is not mentioned in the book and that might come as a surprise. Also, as you walk along the canal be on the lookout for four interesting pieces of equipment consisting of a small side gate right in the canal and a pipe leading to a small box situated over a larger tank. We can only conclude that these are left over from folks who had water rights to the canal, all but one of which (the one with the round holding tank) looks to be defunct now. Look closely at the small steel boxes and you’ll see that the opening for the water varies in size, likely due to the number of miner’s inches of water allotted. If anyone can tell us more about these boxes and any current water rights, we’d love to hear from you.
Pg. 69: Because some large trees fell across our original trail, to get to the foundations for the old ore processing mill, look for a trail just BEFORE you get to the ramp that stretches across the canal to the old “telephone booth” structure. We’ve laid some logs along the trail to make it easy to find, but who knows how long they’ll remain? Someone also painted a bluish=green X on a tree next to the path, so you should have no problem finding it. The new path runs parallel to the telephone line and it will soon join the original trail down to the cement foundations. Incidentally, if you are ever in Coloma you may find there a drawing of a three-tiered processing mill that must have been very much like this one. We include it in our PowerPoint presentation on “The New Trails” and would be happy to email it to anyone who might be interested. Note that the catwalk crossing over the flume to the small metal building is now chained off with a “No Trespassing” sign, another of which has also been attached to the building itself, so we can no longer recommend exploring this road back up toward Cherokee and Vinson Gulch Roads. We imagine the signs were put up by the land owner and we would especially recommend against trespassing during the growing season.
Pg. 70: The last time (early 2018) we passed by the Eureka Tunnel we noticed what for us is a new sign, despite it being old. (Did we just not notice it before, or was it re-purposed from somewhere else?) Anyway, just east of flume 6/1 you’ll see “Hazardous Area/No Trespassing” signage. We assume this is in reference to the land east of the flume, where there are, indeed, a few vertical shafts leading down to the transportation tunnel, which could be hazardous indeed. The tunnel itself was still without any signage, with the gate wide open, but this could of course change at any time. Another update (10/2/18): We’d not explored the tunnel for some time and found that true to rumors we’d heard, the old mine car and other debris has now been pulled out at the end of the tunnel, revealing a large wooden platform and two side tunnels, which we would NOT advise trying to explore. But then, after posting new photos on our Facebook page, we received the following notification from Jeana Poor Benning, on behalf of the reputed owners: “To whom it may concern; It recently came to the attention of the owners of the property you write about – the Cherokee mine – that you and others have not only been trespassing on this posted private property, but have also been encouraging others to do so. Please be advised the owners (Leen Brothers Enterprises LLC) have not given you, or anyone, permission to be on this property. They are ready and willing to prosecute anyone found trespassing on this property to the full extent of the law, and they have notified the sheriff of their concerns about the number of trespassers on this property. Please make sure than any FaceBook posts or anything you’ve published in your Hiking book indicate this is private property and nobody has permission to be trespassing on the property. We hope you will understand this is not because of any ill will toward you or your followers, but out of genuine liability concerns of the owners.” Our response was as follows: “OK. Understood. But please advise them that the no trespassing signs are ambiguous, as they seem to cover the area immediately behind the signs. Wouldn’t it make more sense to place signage immediately in front of the tunnel opening? Or better still, close and secure shut the large iron gate? We will update our website (which contains Errata/updates to our book, which we’ll also update should there be additional printings) with this new information from you and will refrain from either entering the tunnel ourselves or posting photos of same on our Facebook page, though we will do so regretting the fact that concerns for potential liability continue to close people off from a fascinating history we all share.” What a shame! One more exciting local adventure no longer available. While a case could be made that ongoing public access over many years has, in effect, established a public prescriptive easement, our advice must now be to avoid entering the tunnel without specific permission from the reputed owners, Leen Brothers Enterprises, LLC.
Pg. 71: The gate here is now posted; not only that, but the land owner has strung barbed wire across the canal, making it impossible to swing (or even float) around the gate. We can only hope that this particular individual will one day have a change of heart or that the property gets sold to someone who is not paranoid about hikers walking along the ditch past his property. But for now, this is pretty much the end of this trail for law-abiding citizens.
Pg. 72: The lower section of the Miocene was purchased by Cal Water back in 1927. From that time until recently up to 3,000 acre-feet of water ended up at the Cal Water treatment plant for the benefit of its Oroville cusomers. Beginning in 2014, as a pilot project which was then implemented for at least another ten years in late 2017, that water is sent back into Lake Oroville as soon as it passes through the Lime Saddle Power Plant. It is then captured by Cal Water via the Thermalito Power Canal. While this means Cal Water no longer has to maintain that section of canal, much of which was destroyed by the October 2017 Cherokee fire, some twelve landowners have now been deprived of their former water rights. Here is a link to an article in the E.R., including a photo of the damaged flume: http://www.chicoer.com/article/NA/20171115/NEWS/171119820.
Pg. 84, Alternative Access 1: See changes re. this access point under Pg. 173, below. Note that taking 40B2 is your best bet if you want to connect with the canal farther downstream, whereas the road to the right at that sign (which is actually 40B4) is your best bet if you are trying to get upstream as fast as possible. However, for the most direct route to the canal from Alternative Access 1, you can take 40B1 and then follow that truck road until it peters out after five or ten minutes; then bushwack you way straight up the hill through the cut to the canal, another five or ten minutes above you.
Pp. 90-91 (F12): We understand that the ornery cuss who erected the sign on page 90 has left the area, but the last time we were in the area, the sign was still there. Still, best not to mess with the pump and other equipment there even if you don’t risk getting shot. Further update: a fellow named Aaron Spangler posted the following to our FB page: “Do not touch that sign, shouldn’t even be on the property, you’re trespassing on my road.” While we seriously doubt that Mr. Spangler owns the road (which is an access to both the powerhouse and several other properties) we certainly agree that no one should touch the sign or even leave the road. And as to the gate mentioned on page 91, we found it open the last time we were there, which was a most welcome change. Whether that will be permanent or is only temporary remains to be seen.
Pg. 92 (F13): Since we learned of a woman tragically losing a child by pushing a stroller along a flume trail in another part of the state we no longer wish to suggest bringing anyone in a wheelchair on this or any other trail paralleling a body of water. If the wheelchair were to roll into the canal that could be a very dangerous situation.
Pg. 102: In the third paragraph the road number, in parantheses, should be 110C rather than 100C.
Pg. 104 (F16): The sign for Road 110C was missing in January of 2017. However, the road number has been written on the white gate. There is a kind of “circular driveway” in front of this gate, so look for that, on your left, as you drive up Powelton, which can be a real mess right after precipitation, so you may need to come in an all-wheel-drive, high clearance, vehicle. Also, PG&E has recently posted some, frankly, misleading signs. While the road is indeed private, it belongs to Sierra Pacific Industries, which allows hikers and cyclists on their roads, and not PG&E. Don’t mess with PG&E’s equipment, but do not be intimidated by the “no trespassing” signs they have posted here.
Pg. 111 (F 17): In October of 2017 we noticed that the tree on which the sign for Road 140C1 is affixed had broken and fallen over. The sign was still there, but pointing straight up. But even if the sign is completely gone by the time you get there, just look for the dead third of a large tree atop a cleared hill, with some large rocks stacked at its base; this is where you turn off to your left if headed straight to the Phantom. This S.P.I. road has now become our favorite Autumn adventure–whether via bicycle or on foot, as the foliage is simply spectacular if you hit it right. For a shorter ride or hike, make the crossing over Clear Creek your destination and turn-around point, as that is where the yellow maples and red dogwoods are at their best. If you opt to go down to visit the Phantom at Clear Creek Falls, that will be a total of about 7.3 miles, with an elevation differential of 698 feet.
Pg. 119 (F19): While this is still a fine hike, much of its beauty has been destroyed (only temporarily, we hope!) by PG&E’s decision to aggressively spray herbicide on both sides of the road all the way down to the powerhouse. Even protected species like the White-Stemmed Clarkia were not spared, which could be very problematic for PG&E if we wanted to make an issue of it. We understand and fully support cutting back and even eradicating invasive species like Scotch Broom and of course they need to keep the road free of tree branches that might interfere with their vehicles, but this seems to us as (pardon the pun) major overkill! It will be interesting to see how many years it takes for the flowers to return. We did stop by Camp One to voice our disappointment, so perhaps they’ll think twice before doing this next time. (Then again, it’s hardly as if that road is there for our convenience.) Update: the flowers are definitely beginning to return, including a lovely stand of protected White-stem Clarkia, just a short distance down the road, on the left. (They were in full bloom in mid-June of 2016.) Also, the old plywood signs, with numbers, are now all about gone, having been replaced with newer signs. We are not sure what they are used for, but will try to find out. We imagine they are simply reference points in the event a problem along the road needs to be noted for repair, etc.
Pg. 120: When we visited this trailhead in October of 2015 we were pleased to see that the erroneous “property not owned by PG&E” no trespassing sign has been removed. In fact, since then an entirely new gate has been erected–still without the erroneous signage.
Pg. 132 (F20 TIP): We particularly recommend this trek right after a lot of precipitation. On a hike after prolonged rain down as far as the “private property” gate we counted no fewer than nineteen waterfalls, only a few of which run year-round!
Pg. 164 ff (T2-5): In September of 2017 the Paradise Memorial Trailway was officially renamed the Yellowstone Kelly Heritage Trail. (But of course locals will doubtless continue to refer to it simply as “the bike path.”) As they are erected over the coming months, be sure to check out the 32 dedication plaques that will honor Kelly and other early Paradise pioneers.
Pg. 170: Please note that since we wrote our book a portion of the rock cliff as you approach the entrance to the Doon tunnel has since calved off. This hasn’t made the access any more difficult, but please be reminded that if this old railroad tunnel collapsed once it could do so again at any moment, so exercise great caution as you approach and then enter the tunnel; you do so completely at your own risk.
Pg. 171: An interesting factoid we picked up by watching one of the late Huel Howser’s “California God” segments is that the Shay steam locomotives that hauled the logs for Diamond Match and other regional lumber companies required 100 gallons of water for each mile of track they traveled. That is a LOT of water! Little wonder that several of these water tanks were found along the route of this railroad.
Pg. 173: S.P.I. has blocked off (and relocated the old gate) to the trail to the Hendricks Canal immediately across from the string of boulders, 12.7 miles up the Skyway from Wagstaff. The new road is a hundred feet or so farther up the Skyway from the old road, but you won’t see the yellow gate until after you start going up that road as it turns back to the left. (You can’t miss it as the first portion of that road is now paved.) Actually, one can still walk up the old road as the two join together just before passing Road 40 B2. The new road is dustier (once you get past the new paving) and not as shady, but the old road is more covered with debris, so take your pick. (This is Alternative Access 1 to trail F10.) More importantly, rather than have to try to find the trail from the parking area at the string of boulders down to the old railroad line that is the extension of the Memorial Trailway (as mentioned on pg. 176), or “bike path,” (as mentioned on pg. 176) just walk down the dirt road (now paved in the parking area in front of the gate and marked as Road 39B), past the other yellow gate, for about two minutes, or .o7 miles, where you’ll run right into the old railroad right-of-way leading from Coutelenc to Stirling City. (The lesser dirt road you’ll pass on your right just before getting to the old rail bed simply winds back up to the Skyway, but this is a superb place for picking blackberries when in season.) If you are headed from this direction toward the large ravine and the collapsed Doon Tunnel, just before it, here are some helpful mileage markers: it will be .25 miles to the stonework, on your right, that used to be the base for the water tank for the train; at .5 mile you’ll come to what is now, essentially, a new “gravel pit”; at 1.67 miles you’ll reach the path up to the tunnel, again on your right; and at 1.75 miles you’ll come to the ravine, where the large tressel used to stand. Coming back from the ravine, look for the first old marked logs at .72 mile, on your left, and at 1 mile on your right.
One other tip for our loyal website readers: for a fun loop hike of about 1.5 miles that is not included in our book, after parking off the Skyway and walking down the road past the yellow gate, just head up the railway for .4 of a mile toward Stirling City; then take the first major newly improved road off to your right. After .1 of a mile you’ll arrive at the Little West Fork of the West Branch of the Feather River. Then, in another .1 of a mile, stay left, arriving at what would be a lovely camping spot if that were permitted, again on the Little West Fork in another .2 of a mile. From here, you could continue forward, but the road pretty much ends here, so we suggest back-tracking .2 of a mile to the side road you earlier passed, now on your left. Follow it up .3 of a mile, then turn right and in another .1 mile you’ll be back on the old rail line, just down from where you first entered from the Skyway. It will be marked “”60 B16” in blue paint on a tree. This will wind down to a lovely place for a rest and a snack at the Little West Fork and if you continue on the path at the end of this logging road it will loop back up to the rail line, just below where you came down from the skyway, close to where the Little West Fork crosses under the rail line via a huge culvert. Although there are a couple of hills involved, this is a great little side-trail, whether on foot or on your mountain bike.
Pg. 179 (T6): The old parking area outside the gate at the boat ramp mentioned in the Alternative Access is now posted “No Parking / Tow-Away Zone.” So there is really no good way to visit the lake without purchasing a parking pass. Also, the lake is closed on Wednesdays, with only very limited parking just outside the main entrance off Lucretia.
Pg. 183, Paradise Pines Greenbelt and Trails: Wade Killingsworth graciously leads a free bimonthly hike along these trails every other Saturday throughout most of the year. For further information and to sign up to receive email reminders, visit his site: https://paradisepineshikes.shutterfly.com/
Pg. 185 (T7): Beginning after the winter precipitation in 2017, the culvert carrying the Middle Butte Creek under the cement bridge at the bottom of Ponderosa Way got silted up, resulting in the stream running over the bridge and creating a new three-foot waterfall. Whether the silt will be removed remains to be seen.
Pg. 187 (T8): A new switchback is now found about a minute down the Potato Chip, or “Wobbly Bridge” trail (though the wobbly bridge is wobbly no more–thanks to Wade Killingsworth and crew!) The switchback makes that trail much less steep.
Pg. 188 (T8): Another new switchback (also created by Wade Killingsworth and his POA Trails Group) is found at the bottom of the Fall or Goat Pen Trail and leads back up to Ponderosa Way. (To find it from Ponderosa Way, look for it to the left, just under a minute below the waterfall pictured on page 183.) Also, as of May 10, 2016, the new bridge at the former end of this trail has been installed by Wade Killingsworth and his P.O.A. Trails Committee. (We were fortunate to be able to assist them in moving the materials into place for the construction, which was no easy task!) After you’ve crossed over the bridge you’ll find that the trail now continues along the other side of the creek for an additional quarter of a mile. About half-way along this trail, there is a new side-trail, to the right, which rejoins the Memorial Trail toward its end. (Eventually, it will tie into yet another trail, heading uphill.) One day, yet another bridge will be built here, crossing back over to the other side, with a new trail continuing on into B.L.M. property, assuming that can be arranged. This may well be a swing bridge.
Pg. 192 (T9): Wade Killingsworth and other volunteers with the P.O.A. Trails Committee are installing another new bridge, just before you get to “Dusty’s grave.” It is found at the bottom of the Volcanic Cap Trail, just prior to the conjunction of the Lower and Flume Trails. When completed, it will tie into a dozer line on the other side of the creek and will connect to a new trail that will end at the lower portion of the Amherst Plunge Trail. This will give hikers yet another loop option, which can be tied into any of several hikes, including the current Three Bridges Loop, which could be extended to four bridges.
Pp. 193 (T9) & 264 (T26): As a result of posting a photo of the spillway and the butterfly valve found at the bottom of the spillway on our Facebook page and asking our loyal readers if anyone knew anything about them, we received the following valuable information from Ed Chombeau: “Back in 1999 I asked that same question of old timers at the PPPOA; one of them gave me a man’s name and number who was involved with construction of the dam; but I lost that note. I do remember that is simply a contol valve for Middle Butte Creek to flow throug–after the water filled up behind the dam (built back in the 70’s). It was used to contol the depth of the “swimming hole” —as they called it back then. So, it appears that the now silted-up pond was originally constructed, sometime in the 1970’s, as a local swimming hole. Wouldn’t it be neat if the POA were to remove the silt and restore it to its original purpose??? But no, that’s highly unlikely, especially due to the locked gate at the top of Ponderosa. Moreover, as Ed also noted, “The PPPOA ‘abandoned’ this area as a picnic and swiming area sometime before the floods of New Years day1997—so no attempt was planned to ever dredge the swimming hole of all the silt which filled it up and plugged the upstream end of the pipe ; on that eventul New Years Day.”
Pg. 196 (T10): While admiring the small waterfall at the end of this trail you might take note of the notches in the large tree stump across the creek. These were made by an ax some 70 or more years ago and were used to insert wooden planks called “springboards” which the tree fallers, or sawyers, stood on while cutting down the tree with a long two-man crosscut saw. The tree was simply too large in diameter to easily accomodate the saw at ground level, at the butt swell. You’ll see these springboard notches quite often in the largest trees. Since this method was abandoned about 70 years ago, when the first U.S. chainsaws were manufactured, you can be assured that any stumps with these notches are quite old.
In December of 2017, the POA Trails Committee, led by our friend Wade Killingsworth, installed a new bridge at Slaughterhouse Ravine and began work on a short new trail. It ends at the POA property line, of course, but until/unless the continuing trail onto what we assume is private land is posted you might want to consider further explorations. At what until now has been the end of the “Flume Trail,” when you arrive at Hog Spring (most easily accessed via the Alternative Access from Carnegie Rd.), look for the new footbridge, slightly upstream from where the flume trail joins the trail coming down from Carnegie. Cross over and keep left and in less than a minute you’ll be back on what was once Captain Hupp’s ditch, which took water from his diversion dam at today’s Hidden Lake all the way over to Nimshew Ridge, where it fell below to power his hydraulic mining operation behind the school house in Centerville. You’ll now be able to hike along this “Flume Trail Extension” (our name for it) for another two and a half minutes, at which point the trail will lead away from the overgrown ditch. But look over your left shoulder and you’ll find more of Hupp’s old iron pipes, dating from 1859. These are the same pipes mentioned on page 196, except now you have a nice bridge and trail to get you here. Then, continue along the trail for about another minute, at which point you are no longer on P.O.A. property. (Look to your right for another example of an old tree stump that was obviously sawed by hand, given the tell-tale notches for the spring boards upon which the sawyers stood.) Should you feel adventurous, and the trail is not posted against trespassing, continue along the same old dozer line you’re on and within another two and a half minutes you’ll arrive at a glorious 16″ x 22′ deck that someone–presumably the current of former land owner–constructed. You’ll likely find two Aderondack-style chairs, with cushions, a small table, and even two iron bed frames here. It’s the perfect spot for a nice rest and lunch break, as you enjoy the sound of the creek below you. But as always, please take special care of everything you find here and don’t leave trash, graffiti, or any damage that will induce the owner to bar access. From here you can continue straight ahead, bypassing the steep road to your right, down and up the road you are on, where you’ll ultimately come to a lovely bench overlooking what we believe is the private section of Ponderosa Way, leading up to Nimshew Road. Then, continue up the hill until you re-connect with Hupp’s Ditch which, at this point, has been well maintained. Turn right and continue along the ditch until it becomes overgrown again, at which point you can either bushwack your way back or you can turn back to your right and then take the steep dozer line back down to the deck mentioned above. Or, from the deck, you can take the steep road up to the ditch and take the loop in the other direction. Either way, this makes for a nice loop hike until the inevitable happens and someone does something stupid and the land owner decides to fence it all off. (By the way, one could continue following the maze of dozer lines and roads up to Nimshew Road, but at some point you’ll definitely find yourself in “No Trespassing” country. As always, we encourage our fellow hikers to always respect the clearly stated wishes of any landowners or their signage.)
Pg. 197 (T11): The heading hear for the Amherst Loop should obviously be carried over to the top of the next page; we somehow missed this in our final editing.
Pg. 198 (T11): The upper trail is called the “Villherst Trail” by the P.O.A. Trails Committee, as it extends between the P.O.A. Village and Amherst Way. The lower one is informally called the “Amherst Plunge” due to its sharp descent.
Pg. 201 (T12): We’d like to give a shout out here to Mr. Wrobel’s “Ridgeview Rangers” who, in the summer of 2017, did a wonderful job of removing the graffiti at this site that had been created, apparently, by some of their less enlightened classmates. We have also encountered them working with Wade Killingsworth to create new trails within the Paradise Pines Greenbelt and Trails. It’s wonderful to see young people who share a deep love and respect for Nature. Note that if you access Little Pearl from Milton Court, both of the original “Trail” signs have now disappeared. (There seem to be some vandals in the area with a penchant for collecting trail signs. Sighhh.) However, the trail is now much more distinct than it used to be, so you’ll have no problem finding it. And once you get down to the lower trail (the access road that begins at the Skyway) and turn right you’ll likely also find the “Trail” sign to Little Pearl also missing. But just look for a trail leading down to your left, by two dead, but still standing trees, whose bark has been peeled off, and you’ll be on the right trail. Ditto if you come in from the Skyway. And please, if you find any trash there, please haul it out as that helps discourage others from dumping garbage in this beautiful place. And if you find that the graffiti has again proliferated, please let us know and we’ll see about getting it removed once again.
Pg. 202 (T12). We now have good news and bad news about this Alternative Access 1. First the good: the grumpy old man who used to live at the bottom of Bader Mine Road no longer lives there. The place is still heavily posted, so stay off that property, but at least he won’t be coming out and yelling at everyone. And Bader Mine itself is no longer posted. Now the bad, and this is really bad: P.I.D. has not posted the access road past the green gate against trespassing. We can see them stopping people once they are near the treatment plant, but why here? It’s a short hike, but a lovely one and we intend to pursue the matter with P.I.D. to see if they would be willing to change their signage. After all, this is all downstream from our water source, so we don’t see why they would have a legitimate need to restrict hikers from that side of the creek.
Pg. 220, ff (T17): The “pile of crushed basalt” noted on page 220 is now gone, the remaining pieces all but obscured by trees that have now grown in that area. The “two to eight feet tall” pines mentioned on page 221, are now more like ten to twenty feet high and the “widened area” is now even wider, so you really can’t miss it. Gratefully, our blue and red trial tape leading up to the foundations is still intact, but you’ll find the trail is being quickly overgrown by new trees, etc. The stamped marks on the large logs mentioned on page 226 are now much more difficult to find and read, as the paint that used to highlight them is now completely gone. All of the above changes speak to the inexorable march of time and its effects on Nature.
Pg. 228 (T18): The large chunk of white quartz mentioned on page 232 is no longer there (we assume someone wanted it for landscaping purposes), so just keep to your right as you head down the road, following the instructions in the book. Once you get to the trail you’ll find that the trail ribbons are now all but gone from when we first put them up several years ago, but the trail is fairly easy to find; just stay a bit above the creek and follow it until you get to the upper waterfall. Note that Jordan Hill Road has continued to deteriorate badly, so don’t even attempt driving on it unless you have four-wheel drive with good clearance. We are barely able to make it in our Honda CRV and even then, it’s a challenge not to scrape bottom in a couple of places. Note that the look-out tower mentioned on page 232 is no longer manned and can no longer be visited; the gate is locked and “no trespassing” signs have been put up by Cal Fire to help protect the expensive cameras that now take the place of the individuals who used to staff the tower. One should still be able to hike up to the tower via the trail from the Miocene head dam, however (see pg. 46).
Pg. 234 (North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve): Effective 2018, anyone over the age of 16 wishing to access this area must now either possess a valid fishing or hunting license or must purchase a day pass for $4.32 from the following website: https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales/. Alternatively, one may also purchase an annual pass (good for the calendar year) for $24.33. Sadly, there is no way to purchase a day pass at the site itself; it must all be done ahead of time via the Internet. Will rangers be patrolling the area to make sure everyone has a pass? Very unlikely, especially on week days. But we imagine this might happen during the peak wildflower season on the weekends. We feel this is a ridiculous requirement–especially the odd amount and the need to purchase it ahead of time–but this is the world we live in. We recommend purchasing your passes (they are per person, rather than per vehicle) on the day you head out, because if it rains or you have to change your plans for whatever reason, they are only good for the day issued.
Pg. 238 (T20): Somehow we dropped a couple of lines when producing this latest edition, after the word “Continue.” Here is how it should read: “Continue straight ahead. At 13 minutes you should be crossing the second small stream and t 15 the third.” (Of course the number and location of various volunteer streams may change depending on the amount of recent precipitation.) But better still, the most direct route to Fern Fall and the waterfalls in Coal Canyon is as follows: Head NW toward the large trees in the distance, slightly to your right. As you continue on, you’ll see a large home off to your right. Look for a marked fence, where the public land ends and private property begins; it is well posted. From the corner of this fence, which is .8mile from your starting point, you can either follow along the fence line–first north and then west–or, for the most direct route, head WNW again toward where the fence ends at Ravine Creek (about 1.3 miles from the parking lot). We never climb over or go under posted fences, but in this case, we have no problem easing around the very end of the fence, at the ravine, especially since we’ve never found the “Fish and Game trail” that a sign further up the posted fence directs us to. Here you’ll encounter Fern Fall, an especially nice photo op. From Fern Fall, look for a trail heading NE. It will soon parallel, then cross, another ravine. At about 1.5 miles you’ll cross a downed fence (which may be posted on your return, but if the landowners aren’t willing to maintain their fence we see no reason to be overly concerned–especially as you’ll need to come this way to get back to the parking lot. Continue WSW toward the end of the ravine dead ahead. From this point, continue to follow the directions on page 240, beginning with “At about 34 minutes” . . .
Pg. 243 (T21): At the bottom of the page we suggest one can bee-line to Beatson by taking the trail straight ahead at the wooden steps, but unless one wants to take a long and circuitous route we advise against that. So definitely, turn to your right, visit Phantom (Hollow) Fall, and then proceed according to the directions in the book. Also, on page 245, when you get to the combined Beatson Creek, if you would like to view the fall from the North Side (where you can actually see more of it, all the way to the bottom, and including another cataract above it) cross the creek and make your way up to the top. Then just head west until you first hear and then can get in position to see the waterfall, directly across from the first vista point mentioned on page 246. BUT please exercise extreme caution as you approach the edge of the cliff. Stay low to keep your center of gravity close to the ground, shed your backpack or anything else that could throw you off balance and by all means, use those treking poles to give you additional stability until you get to the point where you need to get down on the ground. But man, what a view!
Pg. 249 (T22): The trail to Parrish Cove is a great place to enjoy a variety of wildflowers in the spring.
Pg. 263 (T26): Since publication we have learned that this bridge has been named the “F&T” bridge–an abbreviation for “Flumes and Trails”–in recognition of the funding made possible for the construction of the bridge from the sale of our books by Wade Killingsworth. Thanks, Wade! Also, please note that Wade and his crew have created a new switch-back which you’ll discover on your left as soon as you head uphill from the bridge. It makes it possible to avoid the very steep, and eroded, original trail, which it rejoins very quickly.
Pg. 266 (T27): OK. We blew it. Telling you to bushwack your way upstream for this hike works during a very dry year in the middle of the summer, but we just found a MUCH better (and shorter!) trail. But first, please note that Jordan Hill Road is now the worst we’ve ever seen it. Unless you have a four-wheel or AWD vehicle, with HIGH clearance, don’t even attempt this. (Forget about using your annoying brother-in-law’s sedan, as you likely won’t make it back up to the pavement!) So, if you are still game, here’s the way: instead of driving all the way down to the bridge, pull over and park at the wide turn to the right about 1.3 miles down. (Incidentally, the trail to the old mine shaft referenced in T18 just above this point is now, sadly, posted against trespassing.) You should be able to catch glimpses of the lower Empir Fall from this point. After parking, look for a trail downhill to the east of the road. Work your way down here, looking for a well-trodden trail just after you pass over the seasonal drainage. From here, it’s less than five minutes, or about a quarter mile, to the remains of the Steiffer Mine powerhouse. After exploring the old foundations, flywheel, dynamo and turbine, head straight up the hill atop the penstock. It’s mostly buried, but just continue uphill in the direction it began. At the top you’ll find a long section of riveted pipe that was used to convey the water to power the powerhouse. After a bit it will disappear under the earth, but just continue in the same direction along the trail and before too long you’ll see where a short section of iron pipe bends up from underground. It has some flanges and old nails. We presume that there must have been some kind of wood frame here back in the mining days, but don’t know if the original source of the water was the river (in which case, it would have to come up hill for quite a distance) or if there was some other source, uphill. If you feel like more adventures, continue along this trail until it abruptly ends at a wash-out. Here, make your way uphill, then around to the other side of the washout where you’ll pick up the trail again. Before long you’ll see where Empire Creek comes in from the other side and you’ll see more pieces of riveted pipe, including that mentioned in the side-trail in T18. Farther upstream you may also spot some old stonework and concrete vestiges of an old dam. You will likely come across a number of old timbers, some of which were used to support electrical lines, judging by the ceramic insulator we found still attached to one of them. We only took this trail as far as a second dead end at another washout, or canyon, but suspect one could continue farther upstream by again hiking uphill at that point, looking for a trail on the other side. This can be quite an adventure and is very much worth the effort, even if you only come as far as the old powerhouse equipment.
Pg. 269 (Hollywood Hills Hikes): There is now a fence that extends along the end of Hollywood Road. However, if you look carefully, you’ll see that you can still access the BLM lands through an opening where the fence meets some large pieces of concrete.
Pg. 276 (T30): The r.t. for this hike will be more like 2.9 miles if you take the recommended side trail over to the junction of the Little West Fork and the West Branch of the North Fork of the Feather River. Oh, and in case you are interested, the total descent to the waterfall from your car will be about 661′.
Pp. 277-78 (T30): One of our readers recently got confused by our directions, though others found them clear. But let us try to be even more clear: BEFORE you arrive at the archery range at the bottom of Merchant Bar Road you’ll want to turn left, staying on Merchant Bar where it continues toward the northeast. If you need to use the porta-potties at the archery range, fine, but then come back up the hill to where the road turns. You should see a small tree there with a small arrow-like board with an address on it pointing the direction you want to go. (Do NOT follow the path at the bottom of the hill, which leads more gently to the left, beyond the toilets.) As you continue along Merchant Bar Road from the archery range the directions should be fairly clear. The pink tape we left previously has been removed, but we placed some rocks, showing the beginning of the trail, as well as a wooden stake on Jan. 14th, though both could be removed at any moment. Just remember to look for the trail off the road to your right at the big turn in the road to your left, about 6 minutes N.E. of the archery range, or 770 paces from the tree with the Archery Range sign above and the wooden address “arrow” below. And please–if you find any trash at the fall, please pack it back out. This is one of the most beautifully pristine spots anyone could hope to find anywhere and we’d love to keep it that way!
Pg. 293 (T34): As you come down 130B, from 90N it will be 1 3/4 miles to the gate at the Skyway; you’ll pass the unmarked 130B-3 on your right, rather than on your left as stated in the book.
Pg. 294 (T34): Recently, our favorite ride (especially in the fall) is a combination of T34 and T33, as follows: Taking just one car, head up the Skyway for 16 miles to Road 130B, on your left. Park so that you are not blocking the gate and then pass through it, heading up 130B. You’ll pass 130B3 and then turn left at .5 mile, which will be unmarked on this end. In another half mile you’ll come to a fork, but stay left, rather than taking 160C. You are now on Road 90N. After another mile you’ll come to a “T,” where you’ll want to turn right on the N Line for another 2.5 miles to Powelton Meadow. This is a fun ride, with no significant uphill or downhill stretches (unlike either T33 or T34 by themselves) and you’ll find a lot of color here in the fall.
Pg. 301 (T36): We no longer consider the skid trail mentioned in the first full paragraph as an optional adventure: by all means, take it. But don’t stop at the top. The road has now been improved due to recent logging, so continue for another five minutes or so and you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic view of Sawmill Peak, Sutter Buttes and the valley. There is even a fine sitting rock there just waiting for you.
Pg. 303 (T37): Either before or after your walk down the Skyway to the old Humbug Wagon Road to the cemetery, be sure to look for the plaque found a bit farther up the Skyway, across from the largest of the extant buildings. It will look a lot like the placque erected by the clampers at the cemetery, featured in the photo on page 304. (And that’s no coincidence, as the Clampers erected this monument, as well.) It will give you lots of historical information about Inskip and its still (more or less) standing hotel..
The following new trails may or may not ever make it into a new edition of the book. (We won’t even think about that until the current stock is depleted, likely sometime in 2018.) So as a special reward to our faithful readers who actually made it this deep into our website, here are some adventures you can go on any time you are ready:
The Old Pentz Road Trail: This is a short (less than one mile r.t.) hike, but one that can easily accommodate an electric wheelchair (or a regular one with a light passenger and/or strong pusher, as it does have a bit of an incline). It could also be a great place for a short family expedition on bicycles. Heading down Pentz Road toward the Lime Saddle marina, turn off on Silvera Court and drive to the end, parking there. Then head on down the old paved road, which we understand was the original Pentz Road. Much of it has been overtaken by Mother Nature, but it’s still a nice, flat surface. At our usual brisk 20 minutes-to-a-mile pace you’ll come to the end in about 9 minutes, but why hurry? You’ll see a nice view of the marina and the houseboats, with the Hiway 70 bridge off in the distance along the way and depending on when you come, you’ll likely see a nice variety of wildflowers as well. Be sure to check out the 1941 U.S. Geological Survey Bench Mark located at the end of the road. (The path that continues from there works its way back up to the current Pentz Road.) According to one of our readers, Jeanie Webb, these bench marks are important because grant deeds, hundreds of years old, identify the boundaries of what one owns. If corners need to be marked or there is a dispute, these are used by surveyors as a legal reference point. Without that, a simple survey can run into the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Note that the very best part of this adventure still awaits you, as you drive back up toward the current Pentz Road. Look for some isolated mailboxes off on the right, just past a very lovely home, and park in the adjacent turnout. Then take one of two or three paths a few feet down to the ledge below. (The easiest route is found just north of the mailboxes.) Watch your step here, as the drop is precipitous; please don’t get too near the ledge! But from here you’ll have great views of the lake as well as the Lime Saddle powerhouse. For our money, this is one of the very finest places to photograph our beautiful Lake Oroville. (If any of our readers can tell us more about this original Pentz Road (and why it suddenly ends where it does) we’d love to hear from you.)
The R Line to Big Kimshew Creek “Kayak Falls”: Beginning in Stirling City, take Retson Road (AKA R Line), just as you would for the Hendricks Head Dam (F9). In fact, since you’ll be passing right by there you might as well combine that adventure with this one. Drive down on the R Line over the Hendricks Canal, over the West Branch bridge and then up to what will very likely be a locked gate, a little over six miles from the Skyway. If the gate is unlocked, count yourself lucky, but be sure you’re out of there before 5 PM, as you could get locked in; however, we’ll assume the gate is locked, as usual. From here you’ll either need to hike or bike slightly uphill (at times, unless you are in great shape, you may find yourself pushing your bike) for a bit over another six miles to Road 200R, which will branch off the R Line on your right. Continue down that road, perhaps ditching your bikes where it intersects with 200R1 on your left in half a mile. Then continue down for perhaps another half mile or so, staying left where it intersects with 200R2, which cuts down sharply to your right. (Caution: the sign for 200R2 here may look as if you should go to your right, but stay left.) Continue down this road until you begin to hear Big Kimshew Creek, off to your right. Look for a clear opening with a lot of bare rock, on your right. This is the lookout over a series of cascades that are considered Class V kayaking rapids when they can be accessed during peak water flow–hence our name for these waterfalls, which may also be known as “Triple Falls,” though there are actually more than just three. (For some great photos of expert kayakers here, check out this link: http://oregonkayaking.net/creeks/big_kimshew/big_kimshew.html. There are also some great YouTube videos out there showing expert kayakers putting in at this spot and then continuing down for 7.5 miles to the confluence of Big Kimshew with the West Branch of the North Fork of the Feather River; check out this one, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpcKtLosYH8.) From here, you can continue down the road for, perhaps, better access to the river (we understand there is an interesting diversion tunnel down there, as well, which we’ll explore if we make it here again), but this is where we turned back. Before leaving, however, be sure to look for at least three mortars ground into the rock here by ancient indigenous peoples. Just think: just as you may have sat on this rock admiring the view, others did the same, while grinding acorns, hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago! This is obviously a long hike, but it’s perfect for a mountain or hybrid bike as the R Line is all downhill on the way back. Oh, one more thing: this is definitely off the beaten path so if you want to avoid bears it might pay to make noise. Two very large black bears (which are typically more brown than black) crossed the road just ahead of us when we were here. They didn’t notice us, which was just fine by us, but we did manage to get one good photo of the second one. Huzzah!
Big Kimshew Falls on Big Kimshew Creek: This is more of a drive than a hike and takes some real doing to get there, but it’s one of the most gorgeous spots on God’s green earth. There are two ways to get there, the hard way and the harder way. In either case you really do need a 4wd vehicle. We made it in our Subaru Forester, but it looks like we damaged the muffler in the process, so borrow someone else’s vehicle–someone you don’t like very much–or make sure you have plenty of clearance. The harder way (the way we came) is to follow Concow Road from Concow (up Hiway 70) past the reservoir until it turns into a dirt road, where it is also S.P.I.’s U Line. Then continue on it for many miles past Ragdump, up Granite Ridge, through an unbridged creek (yet another reason for high clearance!), past Ramsey Bar and then over Big Kimshew Creek at a cement bridge. (If there is super high runoff the water actually goes over the bridge.) Then, take the first road branching off of Concow Road to the left as far as you can go, then walk down to the falls. The less hard way (with a slightly better road) is from Stirling City on Retson Road (AKA the R Line), down to the bottom, over the West Branch bridge, then turn left on the T Line toward Bald Mountain and Philbrook. When you get to the sign for Philbrook, take that up for a quarter of a mile to Bald Mountain for some stunning views if you’ve never been there, but then turn back down and follow Concow Road to the cement bridge over Big Kimshew Creek mentioned above, at which point you’ll need to backtrack to the last side-road to your left (it will be on your right if you find it before you get to the creek), then follow it on down to the creek. It is a tough place to get to, but well worth the trip, especially on hot days! (Sorry, but we didn’t pay any attention to our odometer on this adventure, so can’t give you more precise directions. But we did use up nearly half a tank of gas in the process, so come prepared to make a day of it.) If it’s a hot day, bring your swim suits and if you have a fishing license, well, you know the drill!
Bear Creek Fall: This is an ideal adventure for anyone who is unable to hike for more than a half mile or so, but would like to enjoy a gorgeous waterfall. Just head up highway 70, along the Feather River, as if you were headed for Quincey, and stop at the first rest stop, on your left. Park your car and cross the highway, looking for a gate and a gravel road on the other side. Walk up the road and you’ll soon come to Bear Creek, at which point, if you cross it, you’ll see a large tunnel which we understand was created back when the penstocks for the local powerhouses were constructed. You can’t go inside, as it is gated off, but it’s still a cool thing to see. Then, cross back over the creek and look for a trail leading alongside it, uphill. This is rather steep, but well worth the climb to a wonderful waterfall–especially in the early spring.
OTHER UPDATES OF POTENTIAL INTEREST:
CHESTER, Calif., September 26, 2017 – Lassen National Forest officials have announced that the Windy Cut Bridge has been reopened to vehicular use, following the completion of repairs. Located on the Forest’s Almanor Ranger District, the 59-foot-long bridge is composed of two steel girders with a timber deck and rail. The Windy Cut Bridge was closed in November of 2016 after Forest engineers discovered during an inspection that a concrete seat had deteriorated to the extent that the girder was not safely supported. To restore proper function of the bridge, the concrete seat was reinforced, a support beam was replaced and the approach on the north end of the bridge was repaired. Most easily accessed from Highway 32 just west of the Deer Creek Trailhead, the Windy Cut Bridge crosses Deer Creek on National Forest System Road 27N08, which connects to Ponderosa Way (NFS road 28N29). Forest visitors use the bridge to access the Black Rock Campground near Mill Creek and to hunt, fish, and cut wood. Lassen National Forest lies at the Crossroads of California, where the granite of the Sierra Nevada, the lava of the Cascades and the Modoc Plateau, and the sagebrush of the Great Basin meet. The Forest is managed for recreational access as well as timber and firewood, forage for livestock, water, minerals, and other natural resources. For more information, call (530) 257-2151 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/lassen.