Following a string of car break-ins, excessive litter and an apparent arson incident in the summer of 2020, the property owners of the land that includes the trail to Hatchet Creek Falls closed the area to visitors. A year later, the waterfall remains closed to the public. So the question remains – will one of Northern California’s best swimming holes ever reopen?
The 25-foot waterfall, also known as Lion Slide Falls, sits between Redding and Burney and is one of the most unique outdoor destinations in the area. The swimming hole contains a giant fallen tree that lays right in the middle the Montgomery Creek waterfall, creating a makeshift stairway for swimmers to climb and jump into the water.
Officials have blocked the trail to the waterfall and are giving trespassing tickets to anyone seen on the property. That hasn’t stopped some people from hiking upstream to the waterfall, with visitors still posting photos to digital forums like AllTrails. That type of hiking could eventually lead to dangerous variables to visitors including rattlesnakes, poison oak and getting lost. The number of visitors has obviously plummeted, but this current situation may not be the long-term solution for the popular waterfall.
There needs significant infrastructure implemented at the site before it will be reopened to the public. There is no restroom in the area, causing potential E. Coli problems downstream. There are no trash cans, making litter a massive issue due to irresponsible visitors. There’s also no government agency patrolling the area and in charge of its upkeep, leaving the potential of major environmental impacts.
According to sources close to the situation, the property owners have been in talks with different government agencies to provide support and infrastructure at the site, but nothing has moved forward yet. With a growing number of trespassers still making their way to the waterfall, it’s only a matter of time before visitation surges.
The property owners and local officials remain hush on the prospect of reopening the waterfall to the public. But with the demand of the public, we have to imagine Hatchet Creek Falls would reopen in the next couple of years.