McCloud Falls Hike with the MSTA on Saturday, June 4, 2011

With all the abundant snow this year, our waterfalls are a spectacular sight. The Mount Shasta Trail Association invites you to join us on a mellow 4-mile roundtrip hike to see the McCloud River Falls Saturday, June 4th. The falls tumble over old lava flows at least hundreds of thousands of years old that resulted in isolating ancestral trout above the falls that are now considered to be a unique subspecies (Mc Cloud Redband Trout).

The hike will begin along the Mc Cloud River at the powerful, shooting Lower Falls, originally named by the native Wintu Indians, Nurum-wit-ti-dekki (falls where the salmon turn back). The lower falls was the town’s swimming hole for many years. There used to be a metal ladder on the side of the pool so that the swimmers could climb out after jumping off the low cliff into the refreshingly cold water.

From there the hikers will walk upstream to the impressive, cascading Middle Falls, 70 feet wide and 35 feet high; then on to Upper Falls; and finally to the clear cold waters behind Lakin Dam. Lakin Dam was constructed by the original McCloud Lumber Company to divert water to the mill pond in McCloud. It’s around a hundred years old, and originally included wooden pipes wrapped in wire.  Some of the wire still exists in the deep pool below Middle Falls where older pipes had been attached to the cliff above the falls. The trail follows the old pipe route where the overlook and railing are located above the falls. Bigelow Meadow is behind the dam, and was probably a large meadow before the dam, but also probably became larger and wetter as the dam silted-in over the years. It is a very important wildlife habitat area, and includes willow flycatchers (a listed species).

The event is free and open to the public. Participants should meet at 9 AM Saturday, June 4, in the fish hatchery parking lot to form carpools. The fish hatchery is located a quarter-mile west of the main Mount Shasta I-5 exit (the middle of the three) on the way to Lake Siskiyou. We will return by around 3 p.m.

Middle McCloud Falls. (Photo by John Soares)
Middle McCloud Falls. (Photo by John Soares)

See more photos of Lower McCloud Falls and Middle McCloud Falls.