One of my new favorite places is Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Within the park, are four wonderful waterfalls, accessible year-round. The National Park Service, in an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle and get families outside, encourages visitors to take part in a waterfall challenge. You can download their colorful waterfall passport (or use a nature journal of your own) to document your visit to each of the falls. Along the trail to each of the falls is a metal pedestal with a relief carving perfect for crayon rubbings. If you are taking part in the challenge, you are asked to do a rubbing at each of the waterfalls. Visitors who complete the challenge are awarded a free “I Walked the Falls” bandana.
|Crystal Creek Falls|
Crystal Creek Falls
Crystal Creek Falls is the only “man-made” waterfall in the park. When the Central Valley Project was designed in the 1920s, an important component was the diversion of a large portion of the Trinity River to Whiskeytown Lake and from there to the Sacramento River. A 17-mile tunnel was excavated to transport the water underground from Trinity Dam to Carr Powerhouse and the tailings were dumped in the area near Crystal Creek Falls. When it is necessary to shut down Carr Powerhouse for maintenance or to enter the tunnel for cleaning, the valve is turned and the excess water from the tunnel spills into Crystal Creek. When the overflow structure was built, the Bureau of Reclamation rerouted Crystal Creek. The creek was moved about 50 feet to the left to make a shortcut over the cliff, creating this picturesque waterfall.
For over 40 years this 220-foot waterfall was only a secret to the few that knew it existed. For a variety of reasons, some people decided not to share the falls’ existence with others. Today, people from all over the world have heard about the hidden secret.
|Brandy Creek Falls|
|Boulder Creek Falls|
At over 138 feet high, Boulder Creek Falls was thought to be the tallest waterfall in the park until Whiskeytown Falls was re-discovered in fall of 2004. The three cascades of Boulder Creek Falls are tucked into a dark, shaded box canyon filled with moss and ferns.