Mossbrae Falls are located on private property, and you can only access them by swimming in the Sacramento river or by walking along active railroad tracks for a mile. Both options put you at risk for being cited for trespassing and getting a vehicle citation. A news article I read stated that if a train comes, you have three options: run, jump into the river on one side of the tracks, or flatten yourself against the side of the “wall” that’s on the opposite side of the tracks. Despite this, knowing that media is often sensationalized, I decided to scope out the area for myself and see if it really is unwise to proceed to the falls.
Well, as soon as I parked I saw a group of people who had decided to walk to the falls. I decided to follow them. Once I got to the train tracks, it was very obvious that there was more than enough room to safely walk next to the tracks. Not only that, but the land almost gently slopes into the river. It’s not the cliff the article would lead you to believe. If for some reason I required additional space, I could always go off the path and walk closer to the river.
So, I decided to go on, and on the way I came across several families, some with small children, even (not at all condoning this, just stating the facts)!
I made it to the falls without any encounters with trains. Spoiler alert: I came across a train on the way back. 🙂 I heard it a full 60 seconds or more before it made its appearance, and even though I was on the one of the narrowest parts of the trail I still had a good 3 ft of space between myself and the train.
I don’t have any pictures of my walk on the train tracks, because I value my life and I’m not going to be worried about photography when I need to listen for trains… 😉
You can probably tell from the photos already, but these falls are worth the risk. They seem almost magical. If fairies existed, they’d live here. Once I got to them, I chatted with a local who reassured me that no one ever gets cited for visiting the falls, and said that he and his friends come here all the time without issue.
I always take purely anecdotal evidence with a grain of salt, but I was relieved to return back to my car and not find a ticket waiting for me. 🙂
If you’re in the area and are in decent shape, I recommend this trip. If you’re at all anxious about traveling so close to train tracks, you may want to sit this one out until safer access to the falls is developed, and check out Burney Falls in the meantime.