Feather Falls Trail

Plumas National Forest, California

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11 Reviews
5 out of 5
Feather Falls Trail is a hiking trail in Butte County, California. It is within Plumas National Forest. It is 6.7 miles long and begins at 1,845 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 7.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,836 feet.
Distance: mi Elevation: ft
Feather Falls Trail is a hiking trail in Butte County, California. It is within Plumas National Forest. It is 6.7 miles long and begins at 1,845 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 7.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,836 feet.
Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Trail Running, Walking
Nearby City: Plumas National Forest
Distance: 6.7
Elevation Gain: 2,836 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 1,845 feet
Top Elevation: 2,518 feet
Additional Use: Camping
Features: Waterfalls, Views, Wildflowers
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Parks: Plumas National Forest
Elevation Min/Max: 1845/2518 ft
Elevation Start/End: 1845/1845 ft

Feather Falls Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"On the western flanks of the northern Sierra Nevada, Feather Falls Scenic Area protects 15,000 acres of diverse forest and lush scenery. Its highlight is a spectacular overlook of Feather Falls dropping 640 feet down a sheer cliff face.

An unusual range of forest diversity provides a secondary bonus; more than 180 species of flowers, 17 species of trees, 20 shrubs, 11 vines, and 10 ferns have all been identified along this hike."

"This hike offers a smorgasbord of natural delights. You’ll walk through tall stands of incense cedar and ponderosa pine, along streams shaded by bigleaf maple and dogwood, and past a multitude of spring and early summer wildflowers to Feather Falls, where the clear waters of Fall River drop 640 feet into a granitic gorge. Feather Falls’ 640-foot drop makes it the sixth highest waterfall in the United States."

"On some hikes the journey is as much a highlight as the destination. This is not one of those hikes. Although the trail is relatively undistinguishable with a run-of-the mill mix of deciduous and coniferous woodland, it’s easy on your dog’s paws. And what dog doesn’t love to have his senses flooded with new smells? He won’t be impressed by the waterfall or one of the best waterfall- viewing decks in the country, but you will.

The Feather Falls National Recreation Trail gives you the opportunity to enjoy this stunning 620-foot waterfall from a unique perspective, thanks to a daring deck design with the added bonus of sharing the experience with your dog."

"The road to the falls is narrow, steep, and winding and the hike is long, but the payoff for this journey is huge. As you and your dog rest at the falls’ dramatic vista point, you’ll be awestruck at the images and sounds of huge sheets of white water cascading off the sheer cliff face."

"The spectacular Feather Falls is the sixth-tallest waterfall in the United States. The best time to view it is in the springtime, when the water is high due to snowmelt. On the return loop, the trail passes a large, flat rock with several conical depressions in its surface. In by-gone days, Native Americans used these depressions as mortars to grind acorns. Terrain: Dirt path through deep river canyon with dense forest and huge granite formations."

"This trail travels through an extremely diverse forest: ponderosa pines, California black oaks, canyon live oaks, Douglas firs, dogwoods, California nutmegs, incense cedars, madrones, bays, big-leaf maples, tanbark oaks. You’ll ride beside many granitic boulders and outcroppings, ending with an impressive view of Feather Falls. This trail is extremely well built. It’s a bit too wide and smooth for my preferences, but perfect for riders in good physical condition who lack intermediate technical skills. Still, a class 3 climb awaits the more technically inclined at the end of the Upper Trail, and a class 4 descent to the overlook will challenge almost any rider. Highlights: Besides being an extremely well-built trail passing through a very diverse and beautiful forest, this leads you out to the fourth tallest waterfall in the United States."

"Fine trails lead down to a spectacular overlook of Feather Falls and the Middle Fork Feather River canyon.

This is a great trail to a great waterfall. It’s as simple and as perfect as that. The Feather Falls National Scenic Trail is straightforward, nicely maintained, and eminently pleasant, though it can be a chore in hot weather. It passes through a forest of mixed evergreens—oaks, pines, firs, and the occasional incense cedar and madrone—to an overlook on a rock promontory: Look one direction onto Feather Falls, a mighty horsetail plunging more than 600 feet down a vertical rock face, and then swing around and gaze in the other direction down the Middle Fork Feather River canyon, steep-walled, remote, and ringing with the thunder of the river and falls."

"Feather Falls is one of the great waterfalls of California. The loop hike to the falls features lush foothill forests, large creeks, and views of the Middle Fork of the Feather River’s deep canyon crowned by Bald Rock Dome. The highlight is awesome Feather Falls, thundering hundreds of feet down a sheer cliff.

The foothills of the Sierra Nevada are generally not known for spectacle and grandeur, descriptives usually saved for the range’s magnificent high country. Feather Falls may be the most spectacular destination in all of the foothills. Indeed, it is one of the few waterfalls in California, or anywhere else in the United States, that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the waterfalls of Yosemite. Plunging 410 feet down a vertical cliff, it is an incredible and humbling sight. Yet for all their beauty, the falls are only part of the charm of this excellent hike in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Peaceful forests surround crashing creeks and part sporadically to produce great views of the Feather River, its deep canyon, and prominent Bald Rock Dome."

"48 miles northeast of Chico. Midpoint of the ride is the overlook for Feather Falls, sixth longest waterfall in the country at 640 feet. More than 7 miles of smooth, well-maintained singletrack with lots of shade in a beautiful forest makes this a pleasurable ride."

"With a drop of 640 feet, Feather Falls is the fourth highest waterfall in California, and sixth highest in the contiguous United States. This foothills hike on the western slope of the Northern Sierra Nevada leads hikers through well-watered ponderosa pine forests and oak woodlands. The excellent trail maintains a gentle grade throughout. A new trail has been constructed here that follows a still more gentle approach to the falls, and you can follow both trails for a rewarding loop. Be aware that you may be sharing the trail not only with other hikers but mountain bikers and equestrians as well."

Feather Falls Trail Reviews

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Beautiful hike with a perfect waterfall at the end. I took the 4.5 in and the 3.3 out as recommended. The 3.3 was short but difficult. If anything it was a great workout. I would try the 4.5 in and the 4.5 out next time I go.
While most people tend to begin to head back after going on the lookout point, you actually have the chance to stand right over the end of the waterfall. Luckily they've installed a chainlink fence their to prevent you from falling, as you literally peer off the end of the cliff. Quite a scenic hike, and a beautiful representation of Northern California.
Great Hike. I take the longer route in and shorter route out. The last 1-2miles of short route is a great workout and a great way to end this hike. The views are stunning along the way. If you decide to hike to the back of the falls you will be rewarded. We were able to enjoy it and being this time of year there were very few people we came across.
Ok this was my second weekend in a row going to the falls. The first time we didn't leave early enough to hangout and explore. Well we didn't the second time either but we stayed longer anyway, In the midst of the trail blazers I say "take your time." there is so much to see. This is definitely one for enjoying the journey and the destination. All kinds of life out there. I was really disappointed about the amount of trash. We picked up as much as we could so I suggest everyone bring a trash bag with them and help out a little on the return hike. We cannot necessarily stop jerks from being jerks but we can keep our lands clean. Oh and watch out for the Banana Slugs. They like crossing the trails in the later afternoon. Don't step on them they're cool. Oh ya and the falls are awesome.
Very beautiful hike. The canyon views are nice. The view of the falls from the overlook is spectacular this time of year. The 4.5 mile trail is smooth with quite a bit of ups and downs but is very shaded. The waterfall at the Frey creek foot bridge was beatiful Almost every stream was flowing. The 3.3 mile trail is more steep with the occasional rock ot two imbedded in the trail. Br very careful if you decide to go to the overlook within the chain link fence at the falls. It can be very slippery in spots. Temperature was approx. 76 degrees and sunny with a very light breeze.
Took the hike in March during 80degree weather, I would consider this hike to be Moderate rather than Easy - we took the shorter trail on the way in and the longer trail on the way out, probably should had done the longer one going in, as it was an easier hike and the extra mile would have been easier then the constant steep elevation changes (up & down), my trail book had it at Moderate, but thought it might have been a misprint, I think they were right
A beautiful trail; a little cold in January but not too cold. If you get out before 11 you'll likely be the only one out there in the winter. I loved it.
It was a nice hike. Took the more difficult trail on the way up and took the easier, more scenic trail on the way down. Your info was most helpful..
The hike in was a gradual undulating downhill and mostly in the shade. There were still plenty of wildflowers this time of year. If you want to try both branches, take the 3.5 mile hike going in and the 4.5 mile branch going out unless you like steeper hills (We took the 4.5 mile branch both ways but met someone who said the 3.5 mile one was steep). The falls were stunning from the overlook. The short trail that swings around to the top of the falls was easy and well worth it. Be careful if you choose to swim above the falls as the current is swift and strong. The chain link fence on an overhanging rock above the falls is ugly but a nice spot to get a look straight down the falls. Some previous hikers left lots of trash. Please be more respectful and carry your trash out. The hike out seemed long and was more uphill than I remembered going down but the overall hike was well worth it
Love this trail. I have done it multiple times, and would love to do it again.

Activity Feed

Jun 2018