Before being accurately measured, Oroville’s Feather Falls was considered the sixth tallest waterfall in the United States. Though widely reported, the height of the falls is not 640-feet, but instead 410-feet (pretty impressive either way).
Hikers can see the cascade in its full glory year-round via Feather Falls Trail. Many who complete the trek rank Feather Falls among the most beautiful sights in Northern California.
Distance: 9-mile loop
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Accessibility: Year-round, best to go in late April when snow starts to melt
Directions: From Oroville, take Hwy 162 east (Olive Hwy) for 6.7 miles, turn right on Forbestown Road for 6.3 miles, turn left on Lumpkin Road for 11.4 miles to the signed turnoff for Feather Falls. Turn left at sign and drive 1.5 miles to the trailhead.
Feather Falls Trail is a 9-mile loop trail with a 4.5-mile upper loop and a 3.5 mile lower loop. You hike in from the trailhead about a half mile before reaching the junction of the upper and lower loops. Many hikers start by taking the shorter, more difficult, lower loop, but we recommend beginning on the upper loop, which takes about the same time to complete.
If you commence on the upper loop, you only have to trek uphill for about two miles of your journey. Most of the steep, difficult terrain lies on the final section of the lower loop. Because tree-cover shades much of the path, Feather Falls Trail makes for an outstanding summer hike.
Along the route, you’ll spot Bald Rock Dome, Bald Rock Canyon, beautiful Feather Falls (of course) as well as a few nice footbridges and smaller waterfalls. The viewing platform for the falls is a great place for a pitstop and provides incredible views of Feather Falls.
From here, you can choose to take a (highly recommended) 1-mile hike to the top of the cascade. Go left where the trail splits to get to the edge of the falls. Be careful and watch for slippery rocks.
Visitors should look out for poison oak along the route and take proper precautions. Bring plenty of water. Feather Falls trail is a high-traffic route especially on the weekends so either start early, head out during the week or brave the crowds. In total, the entire trek takes between four and six hours for most groups.
Here are some of our favorite photos from the beast of a waterfall:
The path may be tough, but the destination is always with it!! 💥💥 . Where is your favorite hike? 🏔 . Over 8 miles, 123 floors climbed, and all of this after my daily workout😆 I may be going a little crazy now . #hike #explore #exploreyoursurroundings #adventure #northerncalifornia #natureisbeautiful #waterfalls #featherfalls #getactive #exercise #PNW #findyourhappiness
We’ll see you out there!
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine