Safe trail to Mossbrae Falls is one step closer to reality

Tim Holt
Considered one of the most beautiful natural features in the northern part of the state, Mossbrae Falls in Dunsmuir is difficult to access due to safety and right-of-way issues

The long-awaited trail to Mossbrae Falls will move another step closer to reality in the next few weeks as work begins on an extension of the Hedge Creek Falls Trail down to the Sacramento River.

Considered one of the most beautiful natural features in the northern part of the state, Mossbrae Falls spans about 300 feet. The falls seem to gush straight out of a lush, green hillside, providing a spectacular, cascading display for visitors.

The new trail extension will replace a steep “user” trail already carved out by hikers. The new trail will stop at the edge of the river where a 120-foot suspension bridge is planned as part of a dedicated trail to Mossbrae Falls.

The Mount Shasta Trail Association has been working for nearly 20 years to establish a safer path to the falls. The organization is supervising the trail extension work on land owned by the city of Dunsmuir. According to trail designer Tom Hesseldenz, the trail extension will be completed sometime this fall. The contractor is Yakima Construction, which built the Pacific Crest Trail through this region and parts of the Lake Siskiyou and Spring Hill trails.

Union Pacific Railroad has yet to give its approval for construction of the final one-third-mile stretch of the Mossbrae Falls Trail from the river to the falls. This final stretch would run on UP property just below its railroad tracks.

These same tracks currently serve as an easy-to-follow but unsafe route taken by tourists to the falls. Over the summer months their cars lined Dunsmuir’s main street just above the tracks, signaling what Hesseldenz calls a “tremendous” increase in the number of tourists visiting the iconic falls.

The Trail Association and city officials are hoping that the increased foot traffic along the tracks, and the resulting safety concerns, will help persuade UP to give the final go-ahead for completion of the trail to the falls.

Along with the trail extension, Yakima Construction will be making upgrades to the existing Hedge Creek Falls Trail to make it more user-friendly for kids and disabled people.

The Trail Association has raised approximately half of the $700,000 needed for completion of the entire Mossbrae Falls Trail. Hesseldenz expressed confidence that the balance could be raised from grants and possibly a contribution from UP.