Mary West: Exploring the elusive Love Falls
A mile north of Sierra City in Sierra County, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses Highway 49. This is where I parked my car to begin the search for the elusive Love Falls. I had followed my GPS in the past and found myself on a lovely drive up Jackson
Meadows way, but it was not Loves Falls. I instead turned to the U.S. Forest Service who quite plainly stated it was a quarter mile off Highway 49 on the PCT out of Sierra City. I parked on the east side of the road. I could hear water falling as soon as I opened the car door. I looked to the west side of the Highway where another PCT trail sign was posted. I followed my gut, and the North Yuba River, both on the east side.
The trail leads you into the woods surrounded by tall pines, oaks, dogwoods and plenty of Buckeye. Not far along a sign nailed to a tree let me know I had chosen correctly. It’s the PCT so goodies left by trail angels are common.
It wasn’t long before I came out of the woods and the handsome concrete bridge came into view. I walked to the middle of the bridge and took in the sight of the river making its way over boulders and under the bridge.
Below the bridge is the heart shaped rock that gives the falls its name. There isn’t a trail per se to get down. I had to use the roots of a tree like a ladder to get to the rocks below. I cannot advise anyone else do this. The view is gorgeous from above, but if you want to see the heart rock you need to get down below.
Once I had enjoyed the view, a snack, and had taken plenty of pictures, I headed out on the PCT for a bit. You can make this hike simple from the road to the bridge and back, or wander out on the PCT as far as you care to and turn around when you are good and ready.
Mary West is the author of the book series Day Hiker – Gold Country Trail Guide. The books are a collection of Day Hiker columns where West shares her longtime love of the outdoors, and favorite hikes in Northern California’s Gold Country and beyond (Available on Amazon). West was the recipient of the 2017 and 2019 CRAFT Award for Best Outdoor Newspaper Column by the Outdoor Writers Association of California. You can follow West on Facebook and Instagram.
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