Mossbrae Falls – A Hidden Gem


Like Something Out Of A Movie

Waterfalls are pretty common here in Northern California. From Redding, CA you can easily see several of them within one hour of town. Of these waterfalls, however, there is one that stands out above the rest and that is Mossbrae Falls in Dunsmuir, CA. Mossbrae Falls looks like something out of one of the Lord Of The Rings movies. It is a towering wall of water tendrils falling peacefully down a cliff face into the Sacramento River. The cliffs that make up the falls are covered in lush green ferns and mosses, which only adds to the magical look and feel of this place.  The falls are fed year-round by a natural spring nearby.

The visible section of Mossbrae Falls is approximately 50 feet high and 175 feet wide. The Sacramento River flows across the base of the falls in a southerly direction. The sound of the water coming off the falls and joining the river on its journey south is relaxing and surreal at times. Although I have never swum at the falls, I know people who have and as expected, the water is quite chilly.  There is a train trestle next to the falls that crosses the river. This trestle is also a favorite subject for photographers that journey to the falls as it offers a beautiful backdrop to the area.

Speaking Of Train Trestles

Getting to Mossbrae Falls can be a slight challenge. The hike involves walking approximately 1.5 miles down active Union Pacific railroad tracks to the falls and trestle. In most areas of the walk, there is plenty of room to get out of the way of any trains that come your way. But, there are a couple of sections where getting out of the way might be a bit sketchy, so keep your eyes and ears open when making the trek. The hike along the tracks is quite beautiful. It parallels the Sacramento River and is forested. There are old cabins and mining huts along the river that show parts of the area’s gold rush history. Deer, Bald Eagles, and other wildlife can be seen along the way as well.

Getting There

If you’re planning a trip to see these amazing falls, here is some information on getting to them. From Interstate 5 you’ll want to exit in Dunsmuir and get on Dunsmuir Ave. If coming from I-5 south you’ll want to travel north on Dunsmuir Ave until you see a large arched sign over a side street on your left that says Shasta Retreat. Park somewhere OUTSIDE this sign as the neighborhood is private and parking along its roads can sometimes lead to getting a ticket.  If coming from the north, simply travel south on Dunsmuir Ave and look for this sign on your right. Once parked outside the Shasta Retreat, walk down the road until you cross over the Sacramento River on a small bridge. At the railroad tracks take a right and simply follow the tracks north for about 1.5 miles. When the train trestle comes into sight keep an eye out to your right and you will see the falls. Enjoy this magical and beautiful place!

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