It was a pretty mild winter for most of December and January, but now winter weather has finally started to show itself. I was left with only a few options for hiking this weekend since it was going to be wet at low elevations and snowy at higher ones in most of Southern Oregon. I had a good plan to get up early and beat a snowstorm before it reached the I-5 pass that I needed to cross to get into California, but Grace was being all picky with her breakfast and we ended up leaving late. Luckily, we only caught a little bit of ice and slush on the highway on the way to Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
My first stop was Spring Hill Trail, which is right on the edge of Mt. Shasta City. It was just the perfect length of hike to get me going for the morning and the on-and-off snow made for a beautiful hike. I couldn’t really see many of the mountains around, Mt. Shasta in particular, so I will have to return on a clearer day.
Here’s the map and stats for Spring Hill Trail:
For my second stop, I did something that was…well…illegal. I mean, technically the hike to the captivating Mossbrae Falls is trespassing on Union Pacific property because you have to walk along active rails for a little over 3/4 of a mile. Now, I’m not the most straight-edge guy, but I also don’t want to pay any sort of trespassing fines, so I made sure to do my research before I decided to break any laws.
Apparently, a woman was hit while walking along this stretch of railroad in 2011, so there definitely is an element of physical danger if your timing is poor. And there are a bunch of serious-looking signs prohibiting access to Mossbrae Falls, so it’s enforceable. Still, this is America and we often put ourselves above the rules. I saw at least 15 other people in my hour-long hike. And not one single train.
What it comes down to is that no one really enforces the trespassing. As long as you park on public streets and don’t do anything stupid, you can pretty much expect to make it to the falls and back without legal issues. Whatever the risk, it was absolutely worth it, as Mossbrae Falls are a sight to see. I don’t feel the pictures even did them justice.
In all, I hiked 3.23 miles roundtrip to get to the falls and back and it only took an hour. Hopefully they will figure out a way in the near future for this area to be accessible in a completely legal and safe way so that all parties are satisfied. For now, it seems, the de facto rule is for everyone to ignore the trespassing signs and walk in anyway.