Location: Spenceville Wildlife Area; Penn Valley, CA
Distance: 5 miles
Type: Day-hike; Out-and-back
Permits & Fees: There is no fee, but very limited parking. Getting to the trailhead requires driving down a gravel road for a few miles. During the winter months, this road is filled with potholes and has several muddy portions. Be careful when driving down this road. Directions to the trailhead can be found here. Note: This trail is dog and kid friendly!
Preparation: Water, sunscreen and warm clothing if hiking during the winter months are required. To beat the crowds, it’s best to complete this hike as early as possible.
After parking in the dirt lot off the side of the road (directions found above), walk towards the yellow gate and cross the bridge where you will find a sign that says “FALLS” with an arrow pointing to the right:
Follow the main road for a mile until the white gate comes into view. There is a sign next to the gate that says “Beale Falls” with an arrow that points to the right which leads to another white gate:
Go through the second white gate and follow the trail until you reach the cattle guard. You can walk over the cattle guard or continue straight on the path. Either way, the trail leads to the same sign:
The sign marks the three trail options to get to the Falls; Upper, Middle and Lower Falls Trails. I took the Lower Falls Trail option which took me along the river. There are several locations along the trail where you can veer off to see the river.
The trail eventually leads to the end of a fence that borders a cliff overlooking the Falls. From here it is a short scramble down to the base where I caught the best view of the Falls:
I took the Upper Falls Trail to get back to the sign again to get a different view:
Overall this hike was incredible! The Falls were beautiful and the trail was very easy to follow. During the summer months, this trail is extremely busy since this is a popular swimming spot. I recommend starting early and hiking during the less busy months of the year (fall-winter).