Categorized | Northern California

Getting Off-Track in Mossbrae Falls, Dunsmuir

The morning of our departure from Mount Shasta City, Teresa had run into someone who told her that the prettiest falls in the area were Mossbrae Falls in Dunsmuir.

We had no idea where they were, but we knew that we would pass them on our way back down south, so we packed up the car and started driving.

Drove into Dunsmuir, and decided to follow the signs to the river, which brought us to a pretty little river park under an overpass and next to the train tracks. Some kids were fishing and Teresa chatted with their father about local fishing holes while I wandered around with my camera.

fishing under bridge in Dunsmuir

Just as we were getting into the car, a man appeared out of nowhere holding some car keys and asking us if they were ours.  Evidently he had been jogging and found them.  We said no – and then asked him if he knew where Mossbrae Falls were.

As it turned out, he did know. He also said he would show us where to park if we would give him a partial ride back home. So we did.

He guided us to a small turnoff alongside the road, and then said that we could expect to walk about 40 minutes each way alongside the railway tracks.  He said that there would be two small clearings, and that the path to the falls would be alongside the second clearing, right before the train trestle.

We thanked him and then got to work preparing for our walk.  We changed shoes, got our water and headed out.

train at Mossbrae Falls

We arrived at the train tracks at the same time the train did.  Another train had passed by about 30 minutes earlier because we had seen it lower on the line when we had been under the bridge. And then we realized that we would be walking along live tracks.  We wondered why he hadn’t mentioned the tiny, inconsequential fact that this walk could be deadly.

Well, never mind about that.  The train passed and we started walking.

Walking along the train tracks in dunsmuir

I would definitely not say that this is the safest walk in the world.  Although no more trains came along during the time we were there, it would have been a very tight fit in certain places if they had.  As a matter of fact, this whole trail is officially “closed”, due to a tourist fatality a few years ago.  There were areas that I felt I could have managed to steer clear of a train if it did come, and there were areas that may have necessitated sliding down the side of a hill towards the Upper Sacramento River.  The river water was pretty loud, it was possible that you might not hear a train coming, and with the twists and turns on the track, you might not see it coming, either.

dunsmuir train trestle


By the time you get to the train trestle, it is time to step down to the right and follow the path to the falls.

I don’t know what to say about the falls except, Oh. My. God.

Have never ever seen anything like that.

Videos don’t do it justice. Photos don’t do it justice. It was magical. Fairytale.  Plus, just like in Shasta, we were pretty much by ourselves there. Evidently on holidays and during the summer, Mossbrae Falls can be very crowded, even though it is supposedly “closed”.  We were so incredibly lucky.

Mossbrae Falls



Mossbrae Falls



mossbrae falls treesIt was hard to leave Mossbrae Falls, but eventually we had to.  We walked back along the tracks, got into the car and headed home.


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