Whiskeytown National Recreation Area has dozens of miles of trails for hiking, trail running, mountain biking, and horseback riding. A rugged canyon,waterfalls, historic mining features, post-fire ecology, and of course Whiskeytown Lake can all be enjoyed on specific trails. Click on the specific trail links below for information on specific trails. Our favorite trails include...
Guardian Rock Trail - hike along and within the rugged Clear Creek Gorge on this one-mile hike.
Crystal Creek Falls Trail - 0.4 mile paved path through coniferous forest to the picturesque cascade. Wheelchair accessible.
Boulder Creek Falls Trail (from South Shore Drive) - climb 1,000 feet up in 2.8 miles as you ford the stream three times en route to a Whiskeytown waterfall.
Oak Bottom Water Ditch Trail - hike along this flat 2.75 mile lakeshore trail for good birding and to enjoy views of the Clear Creek Arm of Whiskeytown Lake.
Please be advised that triple digit heat is common between Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you plan on getting out on trails during this time, hike in the early morning. No matter what time of year you hike, always bring and drink lots of water and let someone know where you are going. Happy Trails!
Ranger's Choice Hike! Ranger Bartholomew Mombasa likes the conifers and shade along this trail and the picturesque Crystal Creek Falls cascade at the end of it. Bartholomew also likes the fact that the trail is perfect for wheelchairs.
Short, flat, paved trail to Crystal Creek Falls cascade.
In summer, the natural, shaded pool at the base of the cascade is a popular spot for wading and swimming.
Ranger's Choice Hike! Ranger Aspen Cloud loves this hike because it's the only trail in the park right along the lake, which means there's lots of good birding on it. She's seen green heron, bufflehead ducks, bald eagles, and more!
Mostly level trail paralleling the northwestern shore of Whiskeytown Lake.
Some good birding and fishing opportunities on quiet coves.
Trail mostly travels on top of a historic water ditch dating from the California Gold Rush era.
Ranger's Choice Hike! Ranger Felipe Huron loves the solitude, the ruggedness of the land, and the sound of "mountain water" along this trail.
First 0.25 miles is easy and paved to the overlook. After the overlook, the trail becomes narrow and rocky and drops down to Guardian Rock gravel bar on Clear Creek (the term "Guardian Rock" refers to a small rock that looks like a face coming out of the gravel bar).
Trailhead at Horse Camp. Make it a 1.5 mile loop by walking back on Paige Bar Road.
At northern end of the trail, gravel has been "injected" into the creek to restore salmon habitat.
Loop trail that travels through historic mining area active from the 1850s to 1930s. Look for evidence of past mining activity including horizontal and vertical mine shafts, building foundations, and tailing piles.
Trail popular with mountain bikers and horseback riders.
Trailhead located on Paige Bar Road about one-mile below Whiskeytown Dam.
Trail follows former water ditch and connects to Swasey Recreation Area trails.
Accessed via Mule Town Road (high clearance required).
Trail is popular with mountain bikers and horseback riders.
Rich Gulch Trail
Shasta Divide Nature Loop
No bicycles or horses allowed.
This short trail drops down below the Visitor Center onto Whiskeytown Lake.
This was the only natural area of the park that did not burn during the Carr Fire.
This trail from Sheep Camp travels up over Papoose Pass and then down the East Fork of Boulder Creek. Views aboud during this Whiskeytown backcountry experience up and down the foothills of Shasta Bally.
South Fork Mountain Lookout Road
This gravel road is not open to vehicles except for telecommunication contractors and in-season hunters.
The gravel roadway starts at the Shasta Divide by the Visitor Center and slowly but steadily climbs 2,000 feet to the top of South Fork Mountain Lookout.
Expansive views of Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Trinity Alps, Mount Shasta, and Lassen Peak from top on clear days.
Upper Crystal Creek Road
(James K. Carr Trailhead to Coggins Park)
This narrow, winding, dirt roadway is not open to vehicular traffic due to erosion caused by storms after the Carr Fire.
Roadway climbs gradually but steadily 2,000 feet up through mixed forest landscape.
Expect lots of downed trees.
Shasta Bally Road
(From Sheep Camp to top of mountain)
This narrow, winding, dirt roadway is not open to vehicular traffic except for park staff and telecommunication contractors.
The roadway is very steep and very challenging as a hike - you climb 4,400 feet in 5.5 miles to reach the top!
Towards the top, enjoy expansive views of the national recreation area, Trinity Alps, Mount Shasta, Lassen Peak, and Bally Choop.
Peltier Valley Road
(From Peltier Bridge to Brandy Creek Road)
This narrow, winding dirt roadway is not open to vehicular traffic.