Hiking

Child HikingWaterfalls, Water Ditches, & Wildland Fire

While a primary focus for visitors to Whiskeytown NRA is lake-based recreation, the park also contains a rugged canyon, waterfalls, historic mining and reclamation features, and post-fire landscapes. You can hike to or through all these features and more! Hiking is a great way to observe abundant wildflowers in spring and to experience the cool shade of the forest during scorching summer days. Also, with the Carr Fire of 2018 burning 97 percent of the park, you can see post-fire ecology in action. For current trail conditions, check the chart below.

In addition to hiking, most park trails are open to backpacking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Check the chart below for more information.

Extreme heat is common from May to October. Consider hiking in the early morning to avoid the heat of the day. Always bring and drink lots of water during physical exercise.

For more information about specific trails, click on blue links in the chart below or go to the Visitor Center.

DUE TO THE CARR FIRE, FOR YOUR SAFETY AND THE SAFETY OF PARK STAFF, MANY TRAILS ON THE SOUTH AND WEST SIDE OF WHISKEYTOWN NRA REMAIN CLOSED.

When visiting the park, please abide by the most current health and safety guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Park Service's U.S. Public Health Service officers:

  • Avoid close physical contact with other visitors (social distancing).
  • Wash hands with soap often and for at least twenty seconds.
  • Do not park at crowded trailheads or day use areas.
  • Park only in designated spaces.
  • Go to the bathroom before you come to the park.
  • If you must use the bathroom while in the park, practice Leave No Trace as described above.
  • Pack out all of your trash.
  • Please abide by all rules and regulations of the park.

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. Please check back often for the most current information with this rapidly changing situation.


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Easy Hikes

Trail Name

Distance
(one way)

Status

Trail Highlights & Notes

Buck Hollow

1 mile

Open

Wildflowers, seasonal streams, some shade, views of Shasta Bally and Kanaka Peak.
Because a prescribed burn was conducted in this area before the Carr Fire, some pre-Carr Fire vegetation remains.
Trail accessible via Mule Town road (high clearance required).

Camden Water Ditch

1.1 mile loop

Closed

Crystal Creek Falls

0.3 mile

Open

Short, flat, paved trail to Crystal Creek Falls cascade.
ADA accessible.
Lots of shade.

Crystal Creek Water Ditch

1 mile

Open

Flat trail paralleling historic water ditch.
Hiking only - no bicycles or pack animals.

Guardian Rock

0.25 miles

Open

Flat and ADA accessible to Guardian Rock Vista Point.
View of rugged Clear Creek Canyon from vista point.
Trailhead located at Horse Camp on Paige Bar Road.

Oak Bottom Water Ditch

2.75 miles

Open

Views of Whiskeytown Lake and Shasta Bally.
Swimming and fishing opportunities.

Shasta Divide Nature Trail

0.4 mile loop

Open

Lots of shade - only trail in park that Carr Fire did not burn around.
Trailhead located at end of Visitor Center parking lot.
Hiking only - no bicycles or pack animals.

Moderate Hikes

Trail Name

Distance
(one way)

Status

Notes

Boulder Creek
(via South Shore Drive)

2.75 miles

Closed

Boulder Creek
(via Mill Creek Road)

1 mile

Closed

Brandy Creek Falls

1.5 miles

Closed

Brandy Creek

2 miles

Closed

Clear Creek Canal

4.5 miles

Open

Flat trail.
Follows remnants of historic water ditch.
Views of Whiskeytown Dam, Shasta Bally, and Kanaka Peak.
Crosses Orofino Creek.

Clear Creek Vista

1.8 miles

Closed

Davis Gulch

3.3 miles

Open

Lots of shade.
Views of Whiskeytown Lake and quiet coves.
Swimming and fishing opportunities.

Guardian Rock

1 mile

Open

First 0.25 miles is flat and ADA accessible.
Views of rugged Clear Creek Canyon.
Fishing opportunities.

Logging Camp

1.25 miles

Closed

Mount Shasta Mine Loop

3 miles

Open

Travels through historic mining area. Some remnants remain.
Views of Shasta Bally and Kanaka Peak, Orofino Creek.

Mule Mountain Pass

4.25 miles

Open

Peltier

1.75 miles

Closed

Princess Ditch

1.9 miles

Open

Connects to Swasey Recreation Area trails, administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Accessed via Mule Town Road (high clearance required).

Rich Gulch Trail

1.8 miles

Closed

Salt Gulch Trail

1.6 miles

Closed


Moderate to Difficult Hikes

Trail Name

Distance
(one way)

Status

Notes

James K. Carr Trail to Whiskeytown Falls

1.7 miles

Open

At 220 feet, Whiskeytown Falls is the tallest waterfall in the park.
At base of waterfall, be sure and walk up rock staircase to upper viewing platform.
Lots of shade - the Carr Fire only lightly affected this area of the park.

Kanaka Cut Off

1 mile

Closed

Kanaka Peak

3.5 miles

Closed

Mill Creek
(from James K. Carr Trail)

6.5 miles

Closed

Mill Creek
(from Tower House
Historic District)

2.5 miles

Closed

Papoose Pass

7.25 miles

Closed

Last updated: May 5, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 188
Whiskeytown , CA 96095

Phone:

(530) 242-3400

Contact Us