All trails at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in California, including the trail to Whiskeytown Falls, have reopened for the summer season—and just in time for the park's Waterfall Week. A number of trails in the park have been closed due to the risk of mudslides, after large wildfires in the park last summer.
Over the winter, the National Park Service had to close many trails and roads that were impacted by last summer’s wildfires. Over 6,244 acres burned on the rugged slopes of Shasta Bally in highly erosive soils. The potential for large scale mudslides and debris flows was high during and after rain events and snow melt.
While no one can determine for certain that mudslides and debris flows will not occur, after careful analysis of conditions on the ground and weather forecast data, it has been determined that the risk is minimal and that closure is no longer warranted.
Whiskeytown Falls is accessed by taking the Crystal Creek Road exit off State Highway 299 and driving 3.5 miles up to the James Carr Trailhead parking lot. The walk to the falls is 1.7 miles uphill and is considered steep. For many years, this 220-foot waterfall was a secret; only a few knew it existed until the park opened a trail to the area.
Reopening of the trails is just in time for the park's Waterfall Week.
April 25 through May 3 has been designated “Waterfall Week” at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Waterfall Week is timed to encourage visits to the park’s three major waterfalls during their peak flows when snowmelt off of Shasta Bally Mountain provides the most water for spectacular displays of rushing whitewater.
New trail construction and bridges have been designed to allow safe access year-round, including these high flow periods. Waterfall Week encourages families, friends and children to get outside, enjoy nature’s beauty and get some good exercise in the process. The celebration also includes a fee-free day on Sunday April 26, when the park will waive the normal daily entrance fee of $5.00.
Waterfall hikes will be scheduled in the morning on the weekends and each evening Monday through Friday during Waterfall Week. Space is limited for these special hikes and reservations will be taken starting Sunday April 12 by calling (530) 246-1225.
In addition, rangers will be available for school groups during the week through the end of the school year. Schools are encouraged to call ranger Clinton Kane at (530) 242-3451 to reserve a date and time for individual school hikes to Whiskeytown Falls.
The park offers plenty of other trails for a wide variety of skill—or conditioning—levels. You'll find information on the park website, along with maps and driving directions to the park.