Feather Falls

Known as the sixth largest waterfall in the United States, Feather Falls cascades over 640 feet to the canyon below. The hike is a little over 3 miles or a couple hours from the trailhead, which seems like a quick hike on your way back, but it can be a long and tiring walk on your way in with a moderate elevation gain (1,100 feet). You will probably keep asking "are we there yet." Once you reach your destination, there is an excellent viewing platform across from the falls among the lush setting and rock exposures. I feel like I am in the high Andes of Peru (although I have never been to Peru). Here is a map of where Feather Falls is located.

In the beginning you pass by amazing Black Oak and Madrone trees typical of the Sierra Nevada Yellow Pine Belt composed of trees like the platy Ponderosa pine, furrow-feeling Douglas-fir, slightly smelly Incense Cedar, and smooth-barked Madrone. Eventually you work your way to a lush creek valley about half way, which is good place to rest and drink some freshly filtered water. Beyond this stop you will find excellent vista points overlooking the granite valley which merges into the Middle Fork of the Feather River at a distance. Much of the trail is shaded as you work your way along the eastern edge of Fall River Canyon to your left. Once you see, smell and hear the falls ahead, split to the left toward the viewing platform or to the right to stand next to the plunge. Beyond the falls is a good place to camp for overnight backpackers and the trail continues for miles past the falls for the more adventurous explorer. If you have never been here, definitely check out this place because this is a popular, fun hike. Mountain bikes are allowed too.

Update: Two (2) trails now exist: an easier, less strenous one that meanders for about 4.5 miles and the original, shorter version about 3.4 miles to the famous falls. I also understand it is wheelchair accessible, albiet in need of a helping hand in rough spots.

Best Parts: setting, vegetation and overlooks

Directions: To reach Feather Falls is fairly easy to do if you can spy the road signs along the route past Oroville. First get to Oroville, CA. Off Highway 70 take the "Oro-Dam Boulevard" exit and drive a few miles to the "Olive Hwy." After cruising for a few minutes along this strip mall boulevard the majority of traffic turns right onto Olive Hwy. Continue about 6 miles to "Forbestown Road" posted on the right with a large green sign indicating "Feather Falls - 18 miles" this way. In about another 6 miles "Lumpkin Road" appears on the left side of the road. This is your route, so continue on this windy road for about 10 miles or so until you see a sign for Feather Falls. Keep your eyes open too because the turn-off sign can be hard to see.

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