Following the devastating Carr Fire in Redding, California that burned 229,651 acres and destroyed 1,604 structures, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area was damaged in a profound way. For many months, being in the park was dangerous for visitors due to the damaged infrastructure. Nearly 3 years later, that damage is still keeping areas of the park closed.
The most popular area that remains closed in Whiskeytown is Brandy Creek Falls, which was a popular waterfall hike before the fire. The fire destroyed most of the area surrounding the waterfall, making it still much too dangerous for hikers.
So when will the trail to Brandy Falls reopen? Here is the answer from officials at Whiskeytown NRA:
The Short Answer: we hope to have it fully repaired and reopened by autumn 2022. Our trail crew is restoring the section of trail from Kennedy Memorial Drive to Brandy Creek Falls Trailhead this summer, and the goal is to restore the section of trail from the trailhead to the actual waterfall next summer.
The Longer Answer: the Carr Fire was the most destructive fire in National Park System history, and the Brandy Creek Falls Trail system was hit particularly hard with flooding, wash outs and erosion the winter after the fire. For public safety, and to ensure enough time for vegetation regrowth so that we didn’t repair the trail and then have it totally wash out again right afterwards, we waited. During this waiting period, we also planned and surveyed for how to make the trail safer and more sustainable when we repair and reopen it. Now, three years after the fire, significant money and manpower is finally available for us to begin the arduous task of rebuilding, restoring, and rerouting the trail. Multiple retaining walls, four bridges, 1600 feet of handrail, and other improvements will recreate the Brandy Creek Falls Trail system. Stay connected with us this summer as we provide updates on the progress of our trail crew.
Set your sights on 2022 to return to Brandy Creek Falls! Until then, here are two waterfalls you can visit in Whiskeytown: