Ever committed a victimless crime, scramble down a hill, cross an ice-cold river waist deep, risk the walk along a narrow railroad track illegally just to see a pristine waterfall? Sounds exciting doesn't it? If rules are only suggestions to you as they are to me, then I suggest this to you. Located in the small town of Dunsmuir, CA just south of Mount Shasta right off Interstate 5. Mossbrae Falls is well worth the illegal trek to visit.
When I had the opportunity to visit Mossbrae falls, 3 ways to make our way to the falls which were all illegal by the way. Fuck it, I want to see some cool shit and a sign isn't going to stop this guy. There are three routes to choose from and which one to take if you don't mind getting wet. I like to do some research online because well, it's the best way to find out information. (I know you self-diagnose yourself via WebMD too, admit it.)
The first choice would be head to the parking lot by the railroad tracks but it's completely blocked off by jersey barriers so pull over down the street and then trek down the 1 mile narrow railroad risking your life where you have a choice to run, hug the canyon wall, or jump into the Sacramento river if a train comes towards you on your way to Mossbrae falls. I think ill pass on that one, I have more places to see before I die nor do I want to be fined by the police. The 2nd option is pull up google maps when you are close and drive to the closest point on Dunsmuir lane, park, and hop the fence into no-mans land. I saw some small openings that were feasible. Nope, not dying this way either. 3rd and safest route would be through hedge creek falls. There is a gravel parking lot across the street with a porter-john in case you have to tinkle before the journey. Head down the trail head to Hedge creek falls which offers a small waterfall but it was enough for the children playing in the small pool. I made the best of it after the little kids cleared out of my way. Watch out! Big kid at heart wants to play in the water! ;)
I decided to jump in and get wet before continuing our journey. Continue down the trail until you arrive to the river overlook. This is where you scramble down the hill and into the river which is quite cold but if it's a scorcher that day, then its perfect to cool you down. Waddle across the waist deep river and look for an opening where a trail leads. Now here is the fun part. Its time to trek down the Pacific Union Railroad where its illegal and dangerous at the same time. We were lucky to not encounter a train passing by on the way to and from the waterfall. If you do, well I hope you make a wise decision. Trek at your own risk.
It is about a mile long hike along the railroad tracks. Once you see the bridge (see photos) its to the right and just head down the beaten path and you will be amazed what is awaiting. A stunning waterfall cascading through the thick moss that extends over 100 feet in length. Sit down, relax and enjoy the view. During our time there, we saw about a half-dozen people hanging out enjoying the view and taking pictures so it's a well-known place to visit. Choose the time to visit wisely or it will be packed. Walking down the railroad tracks the movie "Stand By Me" came to mind and the memory when I was in high school wanting to be a vagabond for the summer. Hopping on a train for the thrill and ride the rail into the sunset...