To be honest, I really didn’t want to go to a regional park. Regional parks sound like they consist of 5 soccer fields all hosting pee-wee football tournaments. But since Rattle Snake Bar State Park was closed, even though they found the hidden $20 million to keep the parks open, we wandered over to the Hidden Falls Placer County Regional Park.
The last waterfall trail hike we took was in Hawaii and I’ve produced stronger streams than what I saw at Monoa Falls on Oahu. So I wasn’t anticipating much of a visual treat in the desert of California. We strode down the nicely groomed road, not a trail, down to see the “hidden” water falls. We eventually did have to hike a short distance on a real trail down to the water which obviously surprised some people as they had to abandon their baby strollers. Any trail that accommodates a baby stroller is not considered a hiking trail.
Waterfalls aren’t half bad
Even with what seemed like half the city of Auburn crawling all over the rocks, steps and trails, the waterfalls were worth the hike. Let me qualify, if you like to see nature in action and the erosive force water can have, then, the Hidden Falls hike is good. Hidden Falls is actually the confluence of Coon Creek and the smaller Dead Man creek. It is about a 440′ elevation difference between the parking lot and stream bed. The county information notes that the waterfalls are year round which leads me to think that they are partial overflow from PG&E hydro plants. You will cross one irrigation canal along Dead Man Creek and there is another farther up on Coon Creek with a diversion dams.
At the base of a steep canyon the creeks have hit the bedrock of the Sierra Nevada foothills. I wish I knew more about geology to
determine the different veins of colorful rock flowing through the outcroppings. There was moderate water flow considering by the end of February we’ve had virtually no rain for a month and a half. It would be fun to see the creeks when the water is really raging, but there is less opportunity to study the rocks and vegetation during peak flows.
Hidden Falls is not a strenuous hike, but if it is anywhere close to summer, pack some water. There are enough twists and turns to the creek bed that there are plenty of opportunities for inspiring photos over multiple trips in different weather conditions. As they expand the park, hopefully with no soccer fields, I will certainly go back and check out more of the trails.
Most of these photos have been enhanced through the Instagram photo sharing application I have on my iPhone. click to enlarge the photos.