Dunsmuir Stories and Tips

Midway, Ring of Fire

Downtown Dunsmuir Photo, Dunsmuir, California

Dunsmuir is a relative small city that whisks you back in time with faded, old murals and company names on the side of buildings. Front porches with swinging chairs were the norm for neighborhoods and shops lined the main street of the town. Soda fountain-style restaurants beckon for your business. The air was clear and the temperature slightly crisp. This was perfect for the little hikes we were shown by a delightful lady in the visitor's center.

With a population of less than 2000, how might a person wind up in Dunsmuir? It is located off Highway 5, south of Mount Shasta and north of Shasta Lake, two very popular tourist destinations. not to mention being on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Why might a person spend a night in Dunsmuir? Read on.

Castle Lake, near Dunsmuir, is a glacial lake formed from the snow melt from the Mount Shasta area and eventually completes the beginnings of the Sacramento River. An expansive of green grass with picnic tables and beach area make for a peaceful encounter. A series of floating docks encircles an area perfect for floating or swimming if you brave the temperature. Otherwise, the challenge of walking on the less than steady docks takes offers a more panoramic view of the mountains.

Hedge Creek Falls maintained by Dunsmuir Garden Club is next to Castle Rock Springswater Company, the ones responsible for the idea behind Mossbrae Falls which was created from an overage of water. A short, wide, earthen trail leads down to falls. You can walk behind the falls and look out to the pines where invertible you can glimpse a rainbow. The falls are in the corner of the trail so that when you look out from behind the falls it appears you are peaking out from a deep canyon. The walls behind are lightly moist and plays host to patches of moss and lichen. The trails continues beyond the falls for a short distance just to explore the foliage.

Mossbrae Falls on the other hand doesn't appear to be such a well-marked easy path. While at first glace parking near the railroad tracks and walking a mile along the tracks seems straight forward, it isn't. Steep basalt columns rise up from one side of the tracks and a gravel slope descends from other side. This makes the idea of walking directly on the tracks a no-brainer. However, the train does come by and more than once per day. The rumbling of the ground and the angle of the gravel made me stop dead in my tracks, pardon the pun, to wait for it to go by. I was convinced if I didn't keep my hands close to my body they would have been rip off. As the train went by, I realized the width of the cars is considerably wider than the tracks. That being said if trains were able to carry a "wide load" like semi trucks, things might have been different.

You know you have gone to far when you cross the trestle with the year 1901 inscribed on it. On the other hand, if you are trying to figure out where the falls are look where the tall trees are follow them down to a somewhat sandy beach. Two dirt paths very near to each other descend to the beach across the river from Mossbrae Falls. The falls are magnificent in the summer when the moss is bright green and the water creates a path around the patches.

Now to go back to a blast from the past diner. Maybe one just off the river.

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