Mossbrae Falls

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Mossbrae Falls
Mossbrae falls.jpg
Mossbrae Falls is located in California
Mossbrae Falls
Mossbrae Falls
LocationDunsmuir, California, U.S.
Coordinates41°14′30″N 122°16′01″W / 41.2415426°N 122.2669528°W / 41.2415426; -122.2669528Coordinates: 41°14′30″N 122°16′01″W / 41.2415426°N 122.2669528°W / 41.2415426; -122.2669528[1]
TypeSegmented Horsetails[2]
Elevation2,529 feet (771 m)[1]
Total height52 feet (16 m)[2]
Number of drops1[2]
Average width175 feet (53 m)[2]
flow rate
20.0 cfs (1 cms)[2]

Mossbrae Falls is a waterfall flowing into the Sacramento River, in the Shasta Cascade area in Dunsmuir, California. The falls are located just south of the lower portion of Shasta Springs. Access to the falls is via a mile-long illegal hiking trail on the Union Pacific Railroad right of way; the City of Dunsmuir is seeking to finish a safe hiking trail that will include a bridge over the river.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took President George H.W. Bush to see the falls.[3]


Approximately 50 feet (15 m) in height and 175 feet (53 m) wide, the falls are fed by springs that course down the canyon wall, and into the Sacramento River, creating the effect of many waterfall streams, two of them especially large, falling into the river. The entire course of the falls is longer than 52 feet (16 m); however the upper cascades cannot be observed through flora that covers the mountainside. The bottom 50 feet (15 m) is a straight plunge into the river.


The waterfall is named for the profusion of moss on the hillside at the site, together with brae, which means "a steep bank or hillside" in Irish and Scots.


The trail to the falls from Dunsmuir requires trespassing beside the Union Pacific railroad tracks for 1.2 miles (1.9 km), before the waterfall appears on the right immediately before a railroad trestle that crosses the river. The railroad line runs in a cut and in places there is little space to avoid a train; two hikers were injured by trains in 2011 and 2019.[4] The city of Dunsmuir closed the illegal parking area in the Shasta Retreat neighborhood in 2011,[5] and has since built most of an extension to the Hedge Creek Falls trail that when finished will cross the river on a pedestrian bridge 1,800 feet (550 m) from the falls, but requires Union Pacific's permission to complete it.[3]

Alternate means of access are through Mineral Spring Trail and Angel Trail in Shasta Springs, a private property owned by Saint Germain Foundation, and white water rafting from Box Canyon Dam.



  1. ^ a b "Mossbrae Falls". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2014-12-07.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Mossbrae Falls". World Waterfall Database. Retrieved 2014-12-07.
  3. ^ a b Tom Stienstra (March 15, 2020). "Getting to Mossbrae Falls puts hikers at risk". San Francisco Chronicle. p. C15.
  4. ^ "A religious group is strangling access to Calif.'s most beautiful waterfall". September 21, 2022.
  5. ^ Ryan Sabalow (August 11, 2011). "Visitors told to avoid Mossbrae Falls; Dunsmuir works on trail to attraction". The Redding Record Searchlight. Archived from the original on December 28, 2011.