Tangerine Falls/Lookout/Homestead Sierra Club Hike
By Robert Bernstein
On Sunday I led a Sierra Club hike in the area of Tangerine Falls off of the West Fork Cold Spring Trail.
Tangerine Falls is already dry! We are still very much in a drought! That bare rock formation is where the falls should be:
Still, there was life in many forms.
Above the falls we saw a swarm of swallows that went on the entire time we were in the area!
And we also saw water bugs that looked and moved like air bubbles in the water!
And there were... Lizards:
Tadpoles in various degrees of metamorphosis:
Even a newt!
And even wild cherries:
The hike Sunday went to the lookout above the falls. The trail has a fairly steep and exposed section.
But the view at the Lookout above the falls is scenic!
Some people found that steep section too much on a warm day and they turned back. Better to turn back than do a hike beyond one's limits! It had been five years since I led this hike, so it was good that it all worked out OK.
After we got to the lookout, we continued along the stream bed from the top of the falls back into the woods for about a half hour. After the steep, exposed climb, it was pleasant to walk along the stream above the falls under the thick forest canopy!
That took us to the "homestead" ruins. About all that is left is an interesting little root cellar plus a few rusted pieces of metal. Remnants of a stove and perhaps a plough.
After that we came back to the Lookout to relax, enjoy the views and have lunch.
The water situation is quite interesting. Most of the way the stream bed was completely dry.
But there were sections of stagnant pools...
...and other sections of flowing water!
Interesting that the falls are dry, yet there was water upstream and downstream from the falls. It seems that the water must flow underground in areas and then it pops up in places.
Here are a few elevation points of interest that I measured:
0 feet - Reference from Cold Spring trailhead
468 feet - The turnoff fork from the Tangerine Falls trail to the Lookout
1146 feet - High point of trail just before the Lookout
1380 feet - Root Cellar
The latter was a bit of a surprise as it feels fairly flat from the Lookout to the Root Cellar and the first part is actually a descent!