Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sporty Sunday: Hiking Feather Falls

100 Classic Hikes in Northern California describes this hike as a “smorgasbord of natural delights” and I agree. It has streams, forest, views, falls, wildflowers and wildlife. The spring flowers are blooming and we saw shooting star, bleeding heart, wild ginger, indian paintbrush, and California bay laurel in flower. Early in the hike, I found a pair of newts and subjected them to a photoshoot. We admired Feather Falls (the 6th highest in the U.S.) from a distance, but found plenty of other waterways and small falls to splash in. There is even a view of a granite dome, similar to Yosemite’s Half Dome.

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.

Sporty Sunday is a recurring feature in which I share my fitness routine and offer and solicit advice. While this content might seem a little out of place in an outfit diary, a healthy, strong body is the foundation of my wardrobe. I hope to inspire my readers to be fit as well as stylish!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So pretty! Love the picture of the newt, too.