Friday, June 17, 2011

Mossbrae Falls Expedition

Mossbrae Falls is described by Wikipedia as one of the most scenic waterfalls in California. It is 50 feet high, 150 feet wide, and tumbles over a wall of verdant green moss and ferns ("brae" is a Scottish word for "hillside"). The falls are created by springs high up the mountain, which run down the canyon wall and into the Sacramento River, creating the effect of many waterfall streams falling into the river. This collage shows some views of the falls, with my son and I in the foreground. I was thankful for the automatic setting on my camera to get the photo of both of us, since there was not another person there to snap the photo for us! It is a very quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life!

Part if the fun of getting to Mossbrae Falls is the hike to get there. A visitor walks along an active railroad track, that follows the Sacramento River, for about a mile. We only met two other hikers whenever we were there, and we were fortunate that no trains went by during the time we were walking along the tracks. The upper sections of the Sacramento River where the falls are located, often attract fisherman, as evidenced by the photo in the top part of this collage. The sound of the rushing water of the river, coupled with the falling of the spring waters into the the pool in front of the waterfall, bring to mind the words of Jesus that say "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

You will know you have arrived at the falls when you get to the railroad trestle over the river, with the date "1901" on it. Although you cannot see the falls from the tracks, you will hear them. Look for a trail off to the right through some trees (see lower right photo of this collage), and follow it through the woods a very short distance to the falls.

After we finished the hike, we came back to the charming town of Dunsmuir, California, to have supper at an outdoor cafe that had delicious food, as well as live music outside, on the night we were there (lower right photo). Dunsmuir is known as a "railroad town", and in fact, still has an active Amtrak station there. I have ridden on the Amtrak train that goes through this section of northern California, but it was dark and snowy when we went through, so I could not really get a sense of the beauty the area has. You can find out more about visiting the Dunsmuir area by visiting their website, However, due to safely concerns about hikers along an active railroad track, they no longer give directions to the hidden gem, known as "Mossbrae Falls"on their website. Yet, there are plenty of sites on the Internet that give directions, plus I read about it in a publication called 101 Shasta Things To Do, also available on line at Next time you are in the mood for a little exercise, with seeing a beautiful waterfall, as the reward for that exercise, make a visit to Mossbrae Falls. Miles of smiles!! Tricia

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