Crystal Creek Falls

A 97-year-old man in wheelchair enjoying the view of Crystal Creek Falls at the end of the paved trail.
A 97-year-old man in wheelchair enjoying the view of Crystal Creek Falls at the end of the paved trail. Photo courtesy of Ross Perry.

Difficulty Level

Easy, flat, and paved.
Trail width is two
to 15 feet wide.
Dogs allowed on leash.

Length

About 1/3 mile one way

Elevation

No change

Special Features

Two picnic tables and BBQ grills

Enter at your own risk

The Carr Fire burned through 98% of the park’s forested lands in the summer of 2018. Be aware of hazards created by the fire, including falling trees and limbs, burned out stump holes, abandoned mine features, and loose rocks. Watch the weather and do not hike if rain is forecast. Rainstorms present the possibility of flash flooding, landslides and debris flows in the fire area. Stay on established roads and trails and report hazards to park dispatch, (530) 242-3431.

Directions

From Highway 299 on the western section of the park, follow Crystal Creek Road for two miles and then turn left into the Crystal Creek Falls trailhead and parking lot. A vault toilet is available at the parking lot.

Description

Walk the flat, wide, paved trail behind the access gate for about 1/3 mile until you reach a picnic and barbecue area. Crystal Creek Falls, a two-tiered cascade, is immediately ahead of you. While a good view of the waterfall can be enjoyed from the pavement, an informal dirt trail leads down to the base of the cascade. With significant shade, this area is popular for water play on hot summer days. Behind the small cement building, an informal, unmaintained trail leads to the upper falls; use caution if you choose to walk this steep and rocky route.

As you look at Crystal Creek Falls, you will see a small concrete structure on the right. This building houses an overflow valve for the Trinity Division Tunnel, an 11-mile tunnel that moves water from the Trinity River watershed into the Sacramento River watershed via the Judge Francis Carr Powerhouse and Whiskeytown Lake. The valve is used on occasion when letting water out through Carr Powerhouse is not an option. The excess water from the tunnel then spills into Crystal Creek.

When the overflow structure was built, the Bureau of Reclamation slightly rerouted Crystal Creek. The creek was moved about 50 feet to the left to make a shortcut over the creek, creating this picturesque waterfall. This makes Crystal Creek the only “man-made” waterfall in the park.

Last updated: September 7, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 188
Whiskeytown , CA 96095

Phone:

(530) 242-3400

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