Crystal Creek Falls in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

If you only have a short time in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, then the .25 mile round trip hike to Crystal Creek Falls is a good way to experience the beauty of the area with very little work. The ADA accessible trail is ideal for families and those with young children. Here is all the information so you can explore this short trail the man made Crystal Creek Falls.

Details

  • .25 miles
  • Flat
  • ADA accessible

Getting There

Crystal Creek Falls is located on the west side of Whiskeytown Lake. It’s about 4 miles off the main road on Crystal Creek Road. There is a sign that points to either Crystal Creek or Whiskeytown Falls and you will proceed on a short half dirt, half gravel road to the trailhead.

The Trail

Setting out from the trailhead, you will be walking on a flat paved road the entire way.

The road bends a few times before you start hearing the falls and seeing the picnic area.

From the picnic area, you can continue to the paved overlook to get a full view of the falls.

Alternatively, you can take a little dirt trail (non-ADA) down to the actual water.

The water cascades down to the main falls and into a pool below. This waterfall is called man-made since it was created when they diverted the river.

This is a great place to hang out and have a picnic, or just take the waterfall in and then head back to your car. Be sure to also go to the amazing Whiskeytown Falls when you are there as well. Let me know what you think of this spot in the comments and explore more places in Whiskeytown here.

Potem Creek Falls: A 60 Foot Waterfall Near Burney

Poem Creek Falls is one of those places where there is an amazing waterfall, but it is generally unknown to most people. Close to both the town of Redding and the mind blowing MacArthur-Burney Falls, the 60 foot Potem Creek Falls is something that should be on your list to visit. Here is all the information so you can check it out yourself.

Details

  • Located 5 miles down a dirt road
  • .4 mile round trip hike
  • 150 feet of elevation

Getting There

I would recommend using Google Maps and putting in Potem Creek Falls as that is what I used to get there and the drive can be kind of confusing. You will be turning off Highway 299 onto Fenders Ferry Road and driving for about 3 miles before the road becomes dirt. The 5-mile dirt road was no problem for our 2WD car as it was well maintained but watch out after rain storms, I am sure it can get pretty bumpy.

After about 4 miles, you will start to see a dam and bridge on your left through the trees, and you will be taking the above-pictured split in the road to the left.

From here you will cross over a bridge and go up a small hill to get to the trailhead. I mainly say to use Google Maps just so you know where the trailhead is; we stopped when it told us to, and there were no signs or anything for the trailhead. Since the waterfall was so close to the road though, we could hear it from where we parked.

The Trail

Getting out of the car, we followed the small, worn single track down towards the sound of rushing water.

Almost immediately we could see Potem Falls below us.

The trail itself is a series of three long switchbacks that take you all the way to the base.

It is a gradual trail, and it is good for most people.

You will get views of the waterfall through the trees as you descend and it is crazy how remote it feels as we saw no other people the entire time. *I am sure it does get busy during the summer though.

The Waterfall

As we made the final bend, we could see the massive waterfall flowing in front of us.

Since 2017 has been such a fantastic year for rain, the waterfall was going full speed, and it was impressive to see.

The trail ends at a small overlook, but you can make your way down another 15 or so feet to the water if you want to.

We were late getting here, and the sun was already going down, so we didn’t stay for long, but it was an impressive waterfall that I am glad I stumbled on.

Be sure to check out the other waterfalls in this area like Burney and Hatchet Creek if you visit and let me know what you think in the comments.

Shasta Caverns: Exploring Shasta Lake’s Show Cave

The idea of exploring caves is something that has always interested me as I have toured around California. Be it the show caves of Northern California or just exploring a large hole in a rock like Cave of the Munits; this lead me to Shasta Caverns on Shasta Lake during my recent trip to Northern California. This cave is on private property, accessed by a ten-minute boat ride and a ten-minute shuttle before you even make it to the mouth of the cave. It is a fun adventure for the whole family, read on for all the information.

Details

  • $26 a person
  • Plan 2 – 2.5 hours
  • Open most days from 9 AM – 3 PM
  • Must be willing to climb/descend around 600 stairs
  • Location: 20359 Shasta Caverns Rd, Lakehead, CA 96051

Getting There

The Shasta Caverns are located about 1.5 miles off Highway 5 as it heads through the Lake Shasta region. You will get off on Shasta Caverns Road and head down near the water, where you will find the Shasta Caverns Office. There is plenty of parking here, but I would imagine that on a few of the holiday weekends each year it is pretty full.

The Tour

To get tickets, you can book them directly online, or you can come in on a first come first served basis day of. I went at about 2 PM on a Saturday in April and was able to get a spot for two on the last tour of the day, 3 PM.

After booking a tour, you can go outside and pan for gold, play in the children playground or just shop for souvenirs.

At 2:45, we were called and escorted down to the dock where our boat was waiting.

There was 31 of us on the tour, and the guide said that is pretty normal, but that during the holiday weekends you can see over 80 on a tour.

After boarding the boat, it was a short 10-minute ride over to the other side of the lake. The views along the water were fantastic, and this was just a fun little experience in and of itself.

Upon arriving you are loaded into a bus and shuttled 800 feet in elevation up to the mouth of the cave.

From here, the view of Shasta Lake is really impressive as you are pretty high up.

The cave tour was lead by Cave Dave who took us down into the cave and showed us four main rooms over the course of 1 hour.

The tour was informative and moved along quickly. I appreciated that it wasn’t too heavy on the technical stuff as I am sure many of the families on the tour did as well.

I have been in most of the show caves in California, and I have to say this is one of the most impressive.

Two of the rooms you walk into are massive and have large ceilings with lots of formations.

I found myself excited to see what came next on the tour. My wife also agreed that it was one of the better cave tours.

There are a few sections of the cave where you need to climb a decent amount of steps. This is not too bad, just take your time as it never felt too rushed.

The cave was also pretty wet when we went, with water dripping on you and having to watch where you walked, so you didn’t land in a puddle. They told me this is all dry during the summer though.

The last room was the most impressive as there was so many formations to see and even bats flying around at the ceiling. We got to spend an extra few minutes here taking photos.

After an hour, we were back in the sunlight where there were about 200 more stairs that you have to climb back down to the mouth of the cave. This is in the light though with beautiful views of the lake, so it is a nice walk.

From there you just get on the shuttle and then the boat back to where you started. All in all, this is a fun tour that I thought was well priced at $26. If you have a family that can be pricey, but it is a very full adventure. Let me know what you think if you have been in the comments.