The guide book directed us to the falls on the shorter, steeper trail and back on the longer, gentler trail. This was a great way to add variety to the walk but also give the legs and lungs a break on the return. From the falls, we took the suggested spur along Fall River (above Feather Falls) to the homestead site, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The campsites along Fall River are full of trash, ruining the illusion of a pristine wilderness. The “homestead” destination is undetectable, but for a few fruit trees. Finally, the chain-link “cage” directly over the falls looks extremely unsafe. I recommend hiking to the falls and directly back, saving any extra energy for a splash in Frey Creek.
Feather Falls is impressive and easily viewed from a well-constructed platform along the canyon cliffs downstream from the falls. The platform is the perfect place to rest, refuel, and take the pictures to prove you were there.
This hike is as good as it gets in the Sierra off-season. The only drawbacks were the gnats and the long drive from Sacramento. Otherwise, it’s a great late fall/winter/early spring trek.
Source: Soares, John R. and Soares, Marc J. "Feather Falls." 100 Classic Hikes in Northern California. 3rd ed. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books, 2008. Print.
Length: 8.8 miles
Water: The level of Lake Oroville was low, but the tributaries encountered on the hike, Fall River, Frey Creek, and seasonal streams, were all flowing.
Use: Moderate. We hiked this on a Friday and I saw more users than I expected on a weekday in March. I suspect that use is heavy on a summer weekend. Although horses and mountain bikes are permitted, I saw only hikers and dogs.
Differences from published description: The chain-link cage over Feather Falls is in disrepair.
Jasper’s rating: 4.5 paws out of 5.
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