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Fairy Falls Trail to Beale/Shingle Falls

moderate(511)
Spenceville Wildlife Area

Fairy Falls Trail to Beale/Shingle Falls is a 5.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Penn Valley, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.3 miles Elevation Gain: 501 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

running

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

Note: As of January 2020, the gates to access the trailhead are closed. This will add 2-3 miles to the overall mileage of the hike. This trail is closed the last week of March and the first week of April for turkey hunting. (Take Waldo to the trailhead to avoid the extra miles if the road is closed) Also known as Ferry Falls; Hills, meadow, woods, & rocks lead to 100-foot waterfall. Formerly owned by Beale, this land was once home to a mock German town for training during WWII. Lots of protected wildlife within. Small shooting range 1/4 mile up Waldo Rd. before reaching the trailhead. The terrain is extremely varied for such a small hike. You start at an abandoned mine at the site of an old town known as Spenceville. As you walk the dirt road, you see pass a creek and cross rolling hills. At the end of the road, you turn right and pass through a metal gate. Once past the gate, you climb a hill and emerge on a grassy meadow and a cattle crossing. At the edge of the meadow is a trail that leads through a wooded area and finally exits at a great swimming hole along the creek. After a refreshing dip, follow the trail along the creekside and up the hill. Climb over the rocks and you're at the overlook for Beale Falls. You can either walk around the other side of the hill and to the top of the falls, or walk the steep trail next to the protective fence.

hiking
6 days ago

Save yourself the hassle. Just went today and was almost there and about to turn on the road there. When there was two guys with a huge stop sign and a bunch of cones blocking the road.

hiking
6 days ago

I hike this trail at least 3 times a year. I love it. Not to difficult of a hike and the water fall is beautiful.

hiking
8 days ago

Beautiful hike, especially in the spring. I would say it is moderate because of the length of the hike. The waterfall is beautiful and some of the smaller trails by the falls are quite steep and slippery so beware. Right now the grass is green, the trees and wildflowers are in bloom so it’s beautiful. In summer it can be hot up there. So take lots of water. No bathrooms are available. Cows roam freely so that’s kind of fun. A definite do again. You do have to drive around 4 miles down a gravel road, but it’s easy to find.

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful spring hike. I was a little worried the trail would be closed as we went 3-27-20, and the possibility it might be closed for turkey hunting (see trail description paragraph 1) but it was open. I didn't see any signs about closure next week, so maybe it will still be open? It wasn't terribly busy, and most people were being very respectful of social distancing.

hiking
12 days ago

Really beautiful scenery—picturesque hills, pretty waterfall, cows wandering around. Crowded, but that might be because we’re in the middle of school closures and staying inside due to the pandemic. While the trail is awesome, the people were not that great. Walking four or five across and not moving to one side for oncoming traffic is unfortunate when we are not social distancing, but it’s unacceptable right now. Some guy extended a hand to help my daughter up an incline when she was actually waiting for him to move out of her way. If you need to get out but want to keep your distance from people, this may not be your place right now.

hiking
14 days ago

I really liked this hike . Very rewarding . Take Waldo to the trailhead to avoid the extra miles if the road is closed

hiking
25 days ago

I wouldn’t call this a moderate hike. Very easy hike! We saw grandma hiking with their dog haha. Gets a little rocky near the water but definitely looks like it would be nice to swim in the summer.

Beautiful hike and waterfall..I loved the cow sightings. March 2020, no access from Penn Valley to Spenceville..go through Smartsville to Waldo road. About 4.2 miles of bumpy dirt road..but there were 2 Teslas parked there when I arrived! Limited shade first mile or so..sunscreen! I would return to swim in the Summer!

Nice well manicured trail (except for cow patties), dog friendly with good variation of inclines and down hill. Cute cows along the way, and lush green hills all around at this time of year. Pretty falls at the end.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is gorgeous right now. Everything is green and the water is flowing. It is so quiet here. There is mostly sun the beginning of the hike but then you can take the trail through the shade for the second half. No wildflowers yet.

hiking
1 month ago

The hike and weather were beautiful. There were lots of cows and cow poops tho.

hiking
1 month ago

I wasn't expecting cows the whole way but they were fine with my dog and the hike was beautiful!

hiking
1 month ago

Not a bad hike, but not my favorite landscape. The waterfalls were very pretty, but I prefer higher elevation hikes... nice change for winter though. We were able to park right at the trailhead. 5.2 miles according to fitbit.

hiking
2 months ago

Fantastic trail for the winter. Once you reach the waterfall it’s a bit tricky since the fence is not well-maintained. Be careful Also, The last 5 miles to get to the trail is unpaved road with a lot of potholes. Drive carefully

2 months ago

wow so amazing! the hike was fairly easy but the waterfall was beautiful! we went the upper falls hike and then hiked down which was easier. next time we'll take lower falls and hike up. also we went in the winter months so we had the place all to our selves! Everything was lush and green so worth the trip.

hiking
2 months ago

Well marked trail with three options to reach different parts of the falls. The trailhead is only closed during turkey hunting season. The gunshots are from the range that is within hearing distance (gunshot sounds have been rare during my hikes, TBH, I’ve heard more noise from the cows, the walk is relatively quite and peaceful). I’ve hiked in warm weather, but prefer this hike in the winter. A steady incline makes for a decent workout if you want to run. Occasionally, there are cows on the trail, a bit amusing, especially if they decide to plant themselves on the path.

hiking
2 months ago

All gates closed to access trail head by car. This adds 2-3 miles. Be aware. We had to choose another hike because we did not plan enough time and have an older dog that cannot go more than 5 miles.

hiking
6 months ago

Be careful going out Sept - Jan. We went out today took us a little longer than we expected. Walking back around 6pm there were hunters shooting basically on the trail. More than a little scary. We’ll definitely go back but only once hunting season is over.

hiking
no shade
7 months ago

Hiked this trail on August 17. The trail is pretty mellow, nothing too hard. There's not a lot of shade though, so get there early. There is a little rock scrambling you have to do to get to the bottom of the waterfall. The trail is a little boring now that the terrain is dry, but the pool at the base of the waterfall made the hike worth while.

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

This is a nice 4 hour hike. if you do this trail in the summer months be sure to start early in the morning that way you can finish before 1100. I plan on returning in the spring to see if the fall or pools look different.

running
rocky
8 months ago

Great trail run did it with my kid in a jogging stroller. Was fairly smooth until the end. I have done this before but forgot about the last bit is very rocky! Was very hot but went swimming in the water holes above the falls. Well worth the hike!

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

The waterfall makes this hike worth it, but only about 50% of the hike is shaded. We started around 10am and it was already 90 degrees!! There is a yellow marker just after halfway that says to go left, but when you go left the downloaded trail makes it seem like you are not on the trail. STAY LEFT! It reconnects later and it is SO much lovelier than the fire trail the majority of the first part of the hike it on. Also - note that to get to the trailhead, the last five miles of your drive is unpaved road.

hiking
8 months ago

The trail in general is fairly easy, but overall kind of boring. We enjoyed the waterfall, we climbed down through the rock to get close and that was worth it.

hiking
9 months ago

I arrived early. The weather was perfect. There are three ways you can get to the falls. Lots of shade & gorgeous views.

hiking
no shade
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

It was a beautiful day with great weather. the hike is relatively easy, following a dirt road, but at the end the elevation gain is steep for about a half mile. the falls are a great place to relax for an hour

10 months ago

Great hiking trail

Easy flat trail but a little long for my family of three kids. The falls are lovely, glad we went on a shady day with a cool breeze. Enjoyable hike, but not my favorite.

hiking
10 months ago

This trail was gorgeous and fun! We went on a cloudy day in between rainy days when the sun peeped out long enough to warm things up a bit. The waterfall was roaring, the grass was green, the waters downstream flowed and wildflowers were abundant. It’s well marked and when you get to the split in the trail where the sign points three directions, just know that they all wind up more or less in the same spot- it just loops. So, we chose the upper route of the three and it ultimately looped us around to the other two lower trails. So pretty. Mostly flat terrain but the upper trail gave us a bit of climb. Not bad though.

hiking
10 months ago

Amazing hike, everything was so green still and the water was flowing nicely.

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