Anyone that’s ever had the pleasure of visiting Northern California’s most unique waterfall – Mossbrae Falls – knows its well worth the efforts to build a safe, legal trail to the waterfall. But the strong efforts from the City of Dunsmuir and the Mount Shasta Trail Association to build the trail have been bogged down by the slow feet of Union Pacific, who have been publicly silent on the issue.
Now, following years of scrutiny, Union Pacific has finally endorsed the project that will cross into their property in Dunsmuir, issuing a formal letter of support. The final trail will encompass both Hedge Creek Falls and Mossbrae Falls within about a half mile hike.
“The current Mossbrae Falls trail plan submitted to Union Pacific Railroad is nearing final stages of review,” said Tim McMahan, head of corporate relations for Union Pacific, to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Mossbrae Falls is the most unique and possibly the most beautiful waterfall in Northern California. Located in Dunsmuir, the waterfall is 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 Mount Shasta area.
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. Over the years, several people have been injured by passing trains.
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In October, Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey sent a letter to Union Pacific official urging them to join the movement in order to “reduce the likelihood of injuries, deaths, emergency incidents, and liability.” In the past, Union Pacific showed general support for the project but has never given any formal consent to use the land.
Part of the trail has already been built by the Mount Shasta Trail Association, adding onto the current Hedge Creek Falls trailhead to reach the edge of the Sacramento River below. All that’s left is to build a hiking bridge across the river and an 1,800-foot trail across Union Pacific’s land.
The final trail has already been designed and if Union Pacific moves forward swiftly, it could be finished by the end of 2020.