Duration: Day Trip, 2-4 hours
Distance: 1.2 miles, 300ft elevation gain
Region: Siskiyou County, CA
Nearby Cities: Mt. Shasta hi
Day Use/Parking Pass: None
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Restrictions: Dirt access road is not maintained, low clearance vehicles not recommended
Being a lifelong resident of Shasta County, I relish any opportunity to venture somewhere I haven’t already heard of or been to. As it turns out, Faery Falls/Ney Springs was one of those opportunities that was right under my nose! We love to visit Siskiyou/Castle/Heart Lakes, and the falls and preceding ruins are tucked into Ney Springs Canyon just before the turn onto Castle Lake Road.
The hike is a fairly easy one leading gently uphill on even ground(with the exception of one 100ft uphill slope), although in early July there was quite a bit of mud on the trail, purportedly due to the extended snowpack here in Northern California from the heavy winter we had this year. There were a few things I really appreciated along this trail: we had no company for the duration of the hike and about an hour at the waterfall; the majority of the trail is nicely shaded and well-traveled; it is dog-friendly and although Cookie didn’t accompany us this trip, the pool below the falls is perfect for fetching or paddling pups, large or small; and finally, the bit of local history that comes with this trip is as intriguing as it is elusive.
John Ney discovered the springs in 1887 and the resort was erected shortly after, boasting a hotel, a bathhouse, and various other outbuildings that drew visitors for many years. Presently the remains of the resort are few and far between, consisting of a few stone walls, a fountain, and a cistern that have all been reclaimed by creeping foliage. These ruins are an interesting feature, so if you’re planning on taking the hike to Faery Falls, stay for an extra daylight hour and take some time to explore the ruins, which can be seen from the trail and followed to the major remains. There are ruins of the carriage house foundation as well as a moderately well-preserved cistern.
At the end of the trail, standing only 40 feet tall, the falls were quaint and refreshing. Even in July the water was cold enough to hurt your bare feet!
Wildlife was scarce this trip, but we were lucky enough to spot a garter snake swimming through the pool, and various songbirds could be spotted in the trees, as well as the occasional chipmunk.
All in all I would definitely revisit Faery Falls and bring the dog along for the hike. This was a great little excursion for family and out-of-town visitors.