Risky Railroad to Instagram Falls
As of this writing, there is no way to access these falls without trespassing along Union Pacific Railroad. This is a live railroad that is still in use. UP used to allow the public to park near the track and walk to Mossbrae Falls, but in 2010 they blocked off the parking lot after the death of a hiker who was hit by a train. You must now park farther away on a public street and walk through the Shasta Retreat cabin site (also trespassing) to access the railroad to hike to Mossbrae Falls. Trespassing fines can be as much as $300, so hike at your own risk. Never hike on the tracks. There is room on the right of the tracks to safely complete this entire hike. You will likely see people nonchalantly walking on the tracks--this does not mean it is safe to do so. Don't be these people.
Mossbrae Falls is one of the most unique and beautiful waterfalls in California. Despite no legal way to access the falls, this is a popular hike due to its close proximity to the I-5 and short amount of hiking required. The falls originate from natural springs in the cliff on the side of the Sacramento river. There are multiple cascading falls through rocks and moss that fall into the river to create a spectacular sight unlike any other waterfall in the area.
There was once a small parking lot on Union Pacific properly where visitors could park and complete this hike alongside the railroad. In 2010, after the death of a hiker hit by a train on the trail, UP removed the parking lot and put up "no trespassing" signs. This resulted in visitors having to park farther from the trail and deliberately ignore the "no trespassing" signs. To this day, there is the occasional death or injury due to visitors walking on the tracks to reach these falls. Please, never walk on the tracks.
Most people park on Dunsmuir Avenue just before the turnoff to Scarlet Way which is the road that goes through the Shasta Retreat cabin site. This is the closest public parking. Walk down Scarlet Way and take the bridge across the Sacramento River. This is where you start walking North along the railroad tracks. There is plenty of room to safely walk on the right side of the tracks--there is no need to walk on the tracks. Continue 1 mile until you reach a bridge where the railroad tracks cross over the river. Do not cross this bridge. You will notice a short access trail to Mossbrae falls several yards before the bridge crossing. Enjoy the falls and return the way you came.
There is water access from the Sacramento River at the falls.
Do not camp here.
After the hike, eat at YAKS on the 5.
New Trail Proposal
There is a proposal to create a legal (and safe) trail to Mossbrae Falls that involves expanding the Hedge Creek Falls trail. This would create a very nice trail for visitors to reach two unique waterfalls in a very short distance.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.