Plenty of shade while hiking in Magalia in early July. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Something about the hike made we feel like we never really made it to the destination. Perhaps that’s because the word “falls” was in the name of the trail and we never saw a waterfall.

I realize the lack of water could be that it’s July, but based on what I saw, what the hike leader said, and what I’ve since read online I’m sure we were never at L’il Falls. Still, the creek was running at a good clip and the green foliage are reminders of the winter that we just lived through.

Nonetheless, this second Saturday in July was a great day for a hike. Not many people were on the trail with the four of us, making it feel even more remote than it really is.

Even though we were essentially parallel to the Skyway in Magalia and with houses visible above us at times, it felt like we were nowhere near civilization.

Much of the time the creek and birds provided the songs of nature as we walked along what was mostly a flat trail. In addition to the start, there was only one real significant change in elevation, but it’s only about 10 feet, but definitely abrupt and not gradual. I felt fine without poles.

The mostly single-track trail meanders through conifers. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Pines provided ample shade. Only once were we totally exposed—and boy was the temperature difference noticeable.

A few signs are posted along the route. The hike leader had us turn around where a wooden bridge crossed the creek. My guess is the falls could have been farther down the creek.

We took a slightly different route back to our vehicles. This path was a bit rocky at times, whereas at the trail going out was all compact dirt.

Plenty of different paths in this area make me want to explore more. Plus, it’s such a great way to escape the heat of a Chico summer.

What I’d like to know more about are the chopped up metal pipes that are discarded in the forest. Wondering if these might be remnants from mining days.

The sign at the trail head says Lil’ (stet) Falls is 1.9 miles. In all we did 3.6 miles. More than one post online reported it being 4.4 miles round trip.

To get to the trail from Chico, take the Skyway, go through Paradise, in Magalia turn left on Colter Way. The trail is on the left, with a small marker on a tree. There is street parking.

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