Waterfalls and wildflowers, it’s one of the best combos when it comes to scenic hikes.
It’s going to be hard to beat this season for witnessing the two together or separately. With the runoff far from peak, the falls that rely on snowmelt as their water source are nowhere near their peak.
My guess is sometime this month the flowers at Table Mountain are going to be their most vibrant. The falls, because they don’t benefit from snowpack, are likely to have been at their most robust unless we get some spring showers.
On April 8, under partly cloudy skies, the 3,300-acre North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve in Oroville was stunning—at least the 6 or so miles of what I saw.
On this particular Saturday a group from the Chico Oroville Outdoor Adventurers started just south of the main parking lot with our first destination being Beatson Falls.
Before we got there we traipsed through Mother Nature’s bouquet of owl’s-clover, bird’s-eye Gilia, milk thistle, poppies, sun cups and other wildflowers.
While some lupine were out, they are not going to be as prolific as years past because they don’t like water.
With the temps cool to start with, the poppies were mostly closed. As the sun struggled to shine, these California natives were opening up.
This was a first for me to hike to see Beatson Falls. What a delight. The 100-foot drop into a majestic canyon was mesmerizing. The steep basalt cliffs were covered in green grass, thus adding to the stunning beauty.
Not going back exactly how we came brought us to the base of Hollow Falls. While shorter at 69 feet, Hollow Falls seemed to have a swoosh to her as she fell into the pool of water.
The top of Hollow Falls is the waterfall that so many people hike to from the parking lot. Because the paths from the parking area have been changed this year and lead people away from the private property it keeps most people from Hollow Falls. Still, it’s possible to see these falls from the top or bottom.
I was mostly hiking with my niece, Veronica—who has been to Table Mountain many times, but not where we were—and her boyfriend, Garrett, a first-timer to the site. We looked behind us and no one was there. Hmmm. Clearly, we were not on the path that the leader intended, which was to finish at the main parking lot.
No worries, we made it back to the car without needing a shuttle (which was the group’s plan) and without retracing our original steps. Signage was fine even though it was a bit disconcerting to be walking in the opposite direction of the signs that pointed to the parking lot.
Mother Nature outdid herself. It was a glorious day.