Mary West: Meandering the Beale Falls Trail
The drive out to Yuba County is worth it to enjoy the open spaces and waterfalls at Beale Falls. The falls get their name due to the proximity to Beale Air Force Base. Some call is Fairy Falls but whatever you call it, it is a lovely hike while the fields are green.
Just over five miles, this loop trail takes you over old pastureland. The property is well maintained making for good views through the oaks that dot the fields. This easy hike leads to three-tiers of waterfalls. The upper is fenced off at the steep drop off. The middle section is accessible if you don’t mind a little rock hopping and bouldering. The bottom section is easier to get to and the payoff is a nice swimming hole if you reach this destination in summer. I prefer to go while the fields are still green in winter and early spring.
From Interstate 80 east take the Highway 49 north exit toward Grass Valley. In Grass Valley take the Highway 20 exit toward Marysville. Just over the Yuba County line take the left onto Hammonton Smartsville Road. Left on Chuck Yeager. Turn left off the pavement onto Waldo Road and into the Wildlife area. There is a shooting range on your left, keep going. About two miles down the road you cross the creek. Left onto Spenceville Road. The parking area is on your left just short of the yellow gate at the end of the road.
Cross over the footbridge and head to the right through rolling hills along the creek. The trail opens into pastureland. You will turn right and go through a gate. Continue hiking across the cattle gate and take the upper or lower trail to begin the loop to the falls.
The 100-foot falls pool at the bottom before continuing into the creek that follows much of the trail. This is an easy to moderate trail with heavy use at its peak in spring.
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 CRAFT Award in 2017 and 2019 for Best Outdoor Newspaper Column by the Outdoor Writers Association of California. You can follow West on Facebook and Instagram.
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