- Elevation - 1300 ft.
- Location - 2488 Cherokee Rd., Oroville, CA
- Mileage - 6 miles
- Hiking time - 2+ hours - depending on how many times you stop to take pictures (for us, it was a lot!)
- Directions - when you plug in the address it will tell you to circle around to the north of the plateau on Hwy. 70 and take the Cherokee Rd. exit. I've never gone that way, though I suspect the road might be a bit better so I'll try it next time. Both times I've taken the Nelson Ave. exit, then left onto Cherokee Rd. and up to the plateau. The road is very narrow and windy, so be prepared. When you get to the top, the parking lot (with porta-potties) is on the left near a large oak tree.
- Weather - about as perfect as you can get!
North Table Mountain Ecological Preserve, just outside of Oroville, is an interesting place to explore with very unique geology: waterfalls, vernal pools, cliffs, lava rock, and then throw in some grazing cattle, beautiful oak trees and amazing spring wildflowers.
Here's just a sampling of what we saw...
We also had to cross the path of a herd of cows -- the best part was hearing a mama cow "yell" at one of her kids to get back where they belonged. It was pretty obvious to all of us moms that's what she was doing. It's recommended to stay at least 300 ft. away from these bovines and I can see why -- they're huge! And if you come between them and their babies, they don't look too happy.
The main attraction of this hike (besides the flowers and the cows) is an amazing waterfall that really takes you by surprise and is appropriately named Phantom Falls. It's most likely called that because when summer comes and the rains have disappeared, the waterfall also disappears. Pictures don't quite do it justice, but it's pretty spectacular, almost like something you might see in Hawaii. We've heard you can scramble down the side of the canyon on the left through the trees and hike across to go underneath the waterfall where it looks cave-like. That'll be an adventure for the next time!
We found a fun little geocache at the top of the cliff, so we added our names and the date, along with a movie ticket one of the ladies had in her pocket for "Epic". We thought that was pretty appropriate for this epic view!
Just some more amazing scenery...