I arrived in in Sacramento yesterday, at it has been raining and cloudy much of the time. I noticed that it was supposed be sunny one of the days, so I decided to do the long hike to Feather Falls (which has been on my list for a while) on that day. That left me with a day to wander around a bit. Some waterfalls were likely off the list of possibilities due to snow at higher elevations, so I tried to limit myself to waterfalls that would be easily accessible.
When I was searching for waterfalls, one of the books I had just bought (which I haven’t found to be wildly impressive) said the hike to Black Hole of Calcutta Falls was 4.2 miles round-trip, and that deterred me at first. Looking online, though, I discovered that the hike seemed to be a much more manageable 2.2 miles round-trip. I was passing right by the trailhead, so I figured this would be a good choice.
The hike to the falls was very enjoyable. While it is 2.2 miles total hiking, almost all of it is on a trail that has very little incline. There are a few places where you might be climbing up or downhill, but they are few and far between. At no point did I wish I had avoided the hike. It actually felt much shorter than the distance advertised!
Since it’s been raining so much here, the falls were flowing very well! (I’m imagining this week would be a spectacular week to see most of the waterfalls in the region.) The falls were impressive (compared to what I was expecting). There are a number of other waterfalls in the vicinity also, though I didn’t check any of those ones out.
- From I-80 (exit 119B), head “east” on CA-49. (You might not be heading east at first.)
- Follow CA-49 for a few miles until you come to an intersection of CA-49 and Old Foresthill Road. Turn right on CA-49.
- Very shortly after turning right, there will be a parking area right after the trailhead (which is pretty clearly signed). There were a few other cars parked there when I arrived, so it was pretty obvious this was the place to be. (Google Maps also has the trailhead location on their map.) (I had read one post somewhere that said tickets might be given for parking at a certain place, but I’m not sure if this was it, and I didn’t receive one…?)
- From the trailhead, you hike along the Quarry Trail/Trail to Calcutta Falls. You’ll be headed in the right direction if you cross over the No Hands Bridge. (This bridge is an old railroad bridge…I was a bit hesitant at first because it is a bit high up above the North Fork American River, but it is wide enough that I was able to cross without having any heights-related issues.)
- After crossing over the No Hands Bridge, continue following the trail (which runs parallel to the river), and you’ll end up at the falls after 10 minutes or so. There’s a bridge right in front of the falls.
Length of Hike: 2.2 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Black Hole of Calcutta Falls?: map