The Carr Fire impacted so many people when it broke out in July and eventually burned 230,000 acres in Shasta County, including the destruction of over 1,600 structures. Many of the major impacts of the fire were in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, which saw 39,000 acres of the 42,000 acre park burned.
As recovery efforts continue in the mostly closed park, officials have been posting updates of the Waterfalls of Whiskeytown, which are very popular among outdoor adventurers in the area.
Whiskeytown Falls, Clear Creek Falls, Brandy Creek Falls and Boulder Creek Falls were all affected by the fires, some worse than others. Let’s check-in with each waterfall to see the damage accrued during the fire and the current recovery efforts in progress. Each of these updates were provided by park officials through social media:
The trail has numerous trees down across it (as well as fallen rocks), but there are still plenty of green, healthy trees along the trail as well.
Whiskeytown Falls, however, is flowing exactly as we’d expect it to this time of year, with only on fallen bigleaf maple in the pool above the lower section of the falls.
More trees and rocks will certainly come down across the trail this winter, and the trail will remain closed for visitor safety. We’ll let the winter do its thing and clean up afterwards.
Crystal Creek Falls
Crystal Creek Falls came through the fire beautifully, looking like a prescribed fire had passed through the terrain rather than a raging wildfire.
The paved trail to Crystal Creek Falls has many trees on the up-slope side which will undoubtedly fall across the trail once the winter rains and winds come.
Further downstream from both Whiskeytown Falls and Crystal Creek Falls, the fire burned to a greater severity. Due to the threat of falling trees, falling rocks, and mudslides this winter, the road will remain closed to visitors until further notice.
Boulder Creek Falls
The woods around Boulder Creek Falls took a hard hit, and we can anticipate many trees falling along the road and trail to the falls this winter, including down in to the area around the base of the fall themselves.
The pool below the falls is still dark with the ash and sediment from the rain over a week ago, but will be clear once again. Beautiful Boulder Creek Falls may become the most remote of Whiskeytown’s waterfalls after this winter, as that last small rain storm was already depositing large amounts of soil and rocks across Mill Creek Road, which, depending on what this winter brings us, may remain closed for quite some time.
Luckily, Boulder Creek Falls is accessible by multiple trails for those wanting to enjoy longer hikes… something to look forward to next year!
Brandy Creek Falls
Both the falls and the trail came through the Carr Fire in pretty fantastic shape, with the exception of a landslide which occurred almost immediately after the Carr Fire that has covered a portion of the trail along a narrow portion.
What the pictures don’t show, however, is the moderately burned hills up-slope from the trail. Additional landslides will most certainly occur this fall, winter, and spring, along both the trail and Brandy Creek Road, and we expect fire-damaged trees to fall as well.
The crystal clear pools beneath the heavenly cascades of Brandy Creek Falls are, sadly, chocolate brown with ash and sediment from the little rain shower we received in October. With any luck, nature will work its magic and will sweep the pools clean, returning the beautiful pools which are oh-so inviting in the heat of summer!
Let’s hope for a speedy recovery so we can enjoy these waterfalls again soon!
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine