Brandy Creek Falls - Hiking

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About

Summary

One of four waterfalls featured in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, the well-maintained Brandy Creek Falls Trail rewards hikers with crystal clear cascades, charming bridges, and several swimming holes.

Written by

Shawn Lehman

Distance

3.6 miles

You can do the 3.6 mile out-and-back trail from the trailhead parking lot or you can start from the beginning of Brandy Creek Trail and complete the full 7.4 miles.

Destination Distance From Downtown

4.6 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

This trail is a steady climb to the falls and rocky the majority of the way. When you get to the Upper Falls, the path becomes muddy and extremely slick. There is a small amount of rock scrambling towards the end even with the support of the metal railings driven into the boulders.

Time To Complete

2 hours

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Fall

The trail is wet and muddy during the winter. The temperatures can get into the high 90s and low 100s during the summer, so be sure to bring lots of water.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

Yes

A pass is required. You can purchase a $10 weekly pass or, if you live in the area or plan to visit often, you can purchase an annual pass for $40. The annual pass is also valid at Lassen Volcanic National Park just an hour away. Day-use passes are not available. U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over can purchase a lifetime pass for $10.

Review

Intro

Located in Northern California’s Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Brandy Creek Falls Trail is a 3.6 mile out-and-back hike that rewards visitors with crystal clear cascades, charming bridges, and several swimming holes. Surrounded by lush ferns and interesting rock formations, Brandy Creek Falls Trail is one of the more picturesque falls in the area. Whiskeytown National Recreation Area offers 70 miles of trails, four waterfalls, and a lake perfect for kayaking, swimming, and sailing. After a day of exploring, you can head down to Redding and enjoy an ice cold craft beer and a burger at Woody’s Brewery.

What Makes It Great

After driving 3.4 winding, narrow miles along Brandy Creek Road, you will arrive at the trailhead parking area complete with a restroom. Shaded and well-maintained, this moderately steep trail runs above the creek making this a great summer hike. The trail dips in some areas allowing hikers to cool off in the water. 

About 15 minutes in, you’ll come to the first wooden bridge. Most of the bridges have railings, while others are simply boards placed over streams. There are interesting rock formations jutting out from the canyon walls. One resembles a nose and another looks like a moss-covered foot. It’s up to you to use your imagination.

You will reach the Lower Falls in about an hour. The Lower Falls are pretty, but the real jewel is the Upper Falls just a quarter of a mile away. The path will begin to drop making its way to the base of Upper Falls. As you approach Upper Falls, the path narrows and you will encounter slippery rocks and mud. To help you navigate the pools and slabs of bedrock, the park has chiseled footholds into the boulders and installed iron railings. You will get wet, but the awe-inspiring setting is well worth it.

Who is Going to Love It

While this trail can be enjoyed by hikers of all calibers, Upper Falls can be a challenge for some. There is a small amount of scrambling required towards the top. The bedrock is very slick so be sure to wear appropriate shoes. Little ones may require assistance.

The path leading to the Lower Falls is fairly steep, but there are plenty of beautiful spots along the way to take a breather. Those who aren’t up for the slippery rocks at Upper Falls can relax on the bench at Lower Falls and enjoy the view from there.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From the Whiskeytown Visitor Center, drive south on Kennedy Memorial Drive towards Whiskeytown Dam. Where the road forks, continue right crossing over the dam. Turn left on Shasta Bally Road which becomes a dirt road. Drive up the road approximately 2.5 miles towards Sheep Camp. Turn left at the junction of the road to Sheep Camp/Shasta Bally. The left fork leads to the Brandy Creek Falls trailhead. After about a mile, you’ll arrive at a small parking area with restrooms.

A pass is required to access the area. You can purchase a 7-day pass for $10.

Dogs are allowed on a leash.

Location

Brandy Creek Falls Trail

40.61268, -122.57469

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