A man was air rescued by the CHP – Northern Division Air Operations on Monday after being hit by a train while hiking to Mossbrae Falls.
33-year-old Kyle Hutchison was hiking to the popular waterfall along the railroad tracks in Dunsmuir with his headphones on when he was struck by the train. Hutchison was new to the area and believed the train tracks were not currently in service. The train was moving 10 miles per hour at the time and an audible warning horn was sounded several times prior to the collision. Hutchison was able to move out of the way at the last minute, but still hit the right-front part of the train.
Dispatch received a 911 call around 11 am and Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Mike Burns and Kelly Towers responded to the area, along with the Dunsmuir-Castella Volunteer Fire Department, Mt. Shasta City Fire Department, and Mt. Shasta Ambulance. Hutchison was air lifted to Mercy Medical Center where he remains stable.
“We are grateful Mr. Hutchinson survived this potentially fatal encounter with a moving train,” said Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey.
Mossbrae Falls is actually a series of springs that burst from the cliffs above the Sacramento River and then rain down into the water. It’s composed of two primary clusters of spring-fed waterfalls, which reach about 50 feet high and 150 feet wide. The presence of the river beneath the falls enhances the scene and makes for one of the prettiest sights in the Shasta area. There are numerous springs feeding the falls so they are great year-round.
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The problem with the waterfall is it’s very hard to access for hikers. The only way to access the falls is by trespassing along an active railway, and visitors must walk within a few feet of passing trains. Several years ago, a sightseer was struck by a train and severely injured.
There is currently a plan for a new trailhead to allow hikers safe and legal access to the falls. The plan for the trail, which has made significant progress over the past 18 months, would place a trailhead at the end of the Hedge Creek Falls trail and continue to a newly-constructed pedestrian suspension bridge across the Sacramento River. The trail would continue north through a forested area below the train tracks and along the river, ending at Mossbrae Falls.
Until then, getting to the falls remains dangerous, and technically illegal.