Phantom Falls

MODERATE 33 reviews

Phantom Falls is a 6.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Oroville, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
583 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

views

waterfall

bugs

no shade

Across meadows to reach the top of several waterfalls on Table Top Mountain in Oroville.

hiking
5 days ago

Great Hike. I got to the trail a bit later than expected, and the large parking lot was already pretty full. Even with all the cars, I didn't notice too many crowds until we got to the main falls. This is probably because most people just wander through the wildflowers, without following any specific trail. There is very little shade on this trail, but the abundance of wild flowers makes up for that!. There are quite a few stream crossings, and wet and muddy areas, particularly if you are just finding your own path. I went shortly after the rain and this wasn't too challenging, but might add time and distance to the hike when trying to find ideal places to cross and avoid getting wet.

The falls were beautiful, and there was a grove of trees not too far away, that were an ideal place to rest in the shade and have a picnic.

As several others have mentioned, there IS A TRAIL, but it might not be that obvious from the parking lot. I found it on the way back from the falls. As you enter the wilderness area from the parking lot, you can stay to the left and follow the ravine towards the creek. There is a fork in the trail near a grove of trees, and you want to stay to the right of the fork, and this will take you to two smaller water falls. "Phantom falls" is actually behind a barbed-wire fence. You can either go around or through the fence where the trail leads up to it. There is a clear trail on the other side of the fence that leads to the falls.

While walking off the beaten path was certainly enjoyable, I actually found the flowers and scenery to get better as we got closer to the falls. This hike is ideal for photography both close ups of the flowers, and drone photography from the air. I would only recommend this hike during spring late march early April, and shortly after the rain for ideal conditions.

7 days ago

nice place to hike during the spring when all the flowers are blooming. nice little waterfalls and streams throughout the entire area . the main waterfall is nice but it can get pretty small in summer, you can descend to the bottom of the canyon into a cave underneath the waterfall also, but it's a steep climb down and watch out for the rattle snakes

hiking
7 days ago

Beautiful wild flowers along the trails

7 days ago

Amazing place! So many beautiful wild flowers! Totally recommend to go there in the morning, because after 11 p.m. it was so crowded!

hiking
8 days ago

Beautiful hike this time of the year due to wildflowers! I hiked to Ravine Falls, but never made it to Phantom Falls because the trail was fenced off. Maybe next time...
I hiked to Beaston Falls instead, which is not listed on AllTrails.

9 days ago

Great hike! Wildflowers were beautiful and the creeks and falls were flowing today. No trail markers so I used someone else’s map that hiked the trail and it was pretty easy to follow. Stay left on the creek and then make a right when it forks off and it’s a straight shot to Phantom.

hiking
11 days ago

Hiked to Phantom Falls Wednesday, 2 days ago. The trail is easy to find, if right now, a little wet at the start. From the hiker gate, don't head uphill to the right, as many do, and where there really isn't a trail. Head down the cut to the left, along the stream, where you'll see the trail widen to several feet. As you approach some trees, a clear narrow trail heads of to the right. If you take it, you'll be on trail all the way to Phantom Falls. If you can, best to do this during the week, and early. We started at 8:30, saw virtually no one until heading back, and had the Falls to ourselves. Encountered a lot of people, including a couple large school groups as we walked out. This is a nice hike, lots of flowers. Next time I go, I'll do an extended loop to other falls. Just to go to Phantom Falls took 1 1/4 hours, with lots of stops for pix, and the same returning.

hiking
13 days ago

Pretty hike with Tons of wildflowers. Perfect for a spring hike. No shade at all , would be too hot in the summer. Very popular area , the parking lot overflowed down the street for miles!

hiking
17 days ago

Flowers were amazing. got there at 9am and parking was almost full in lot. we left around 2 it looked like the county fair had moved in with all the people. so overwhelming....
so many people setting up camp near the parking lot and just chilling.
4 miles of cars along the road.
get there before 9am if you don't like crowds.

23 days ago

Like other reviews, there are NO trail markers !!!!
I didn’t actually find the trail till on the way back and by accident. If you follow the trail to the left from the parking lot, it meets up to the other trail that will take you to the big falls. Beautiful place to hike. Dog friendly. If it wasn’t for being rained on several times, I would’ve found the path to the bottom of Phantom Falls. Next time !!

1 month ago

I don’t know how people say they get lost. We started the hike in the parking lot by the lone oak tree and just walked straight till we found the stream of water till we found the falls. Where there is water there will be more water = the falls. There is an easy marked trail to get down to bottom of the falls toward the end of the hike there were even families with small children going down that way. We went down the wall of rocks to make it more fun and challenging. Even my fiancé who is his first time hiking was able to complete the hike no problem

hiking
2 months ago

Breathtaking and solitude when you find it. Start early morning so you have time incase you get lost.Fell in love with the view itself Definitely bring GPS/compass with you. There are no sure trails at all. Stay away from bull they will charge you. Expect some rainy, cold and windy hike. So happy to have a cell signal both at@t and Tmobile but just bring an extra power bank incase your CP will drain. Pack list are: waterproof jacket/waterproof boots/waterproof backpack/warmer/lipgloss/3-4liters of electrolyte h2o/gloves/hoodies/first aid kit/lunch/granola bar/advil/flashlight/camera/gopro/tripod/utility knife. Plan your trip with care. Study the trail map and always ask your friend/relatives if you're going for a hike by yourself.

3 months ago

only go if you want to stroll through cow pasture with cows. do not trust the alltrails route, it's not reliable.

hiking
3 months ago

Great. Unique views and terrain. Felt very volcanic. Note that the trails are kinda vague and barely marked. You definitely want a sense of direction and a saved map/screenshot and compass to keep yourself oriented.

The water was flowing very little, but just enough to still have waterfalls.

It seems this will be beautiful after some rain provides clearer air, more green, and gushing water.

The dirt there seems to retain water very strongly even after no rain for weeks.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome. Watch out for rattlesnakes. Barely avoided stepping on one. They like to warm themselves up on the trail

hiking
9 months ago

Sooooo...Where to begin?
Todays hiking journey was not very great. However, it did not deter me from wanting to go back next spring or winter. I just chose a bad time to go. I found the way down, but I did not go to the bottom of the fall. I was just scared to go down there by myself, but I am excited to find someone to go with next time!
I began my hike at 4:50 AM. There was one other car in the lot, but he was just sleeping.
Pros
1. No one around.
2. Saw a skunk and did not get sprayed! I have never seen a live one before and wanted to get closer, but I kept my distance. I was still excited though. Skunks are so cute.
3. Really beautiful as the sun came up.
4. Easy hike, and fun because of the barbed wire and lack of trail.
5. Cows!
Cons:
1. No shade.
2. No bathrooms. I always carry a GoGirl, but it didn't make a difference because there are no areas to find privacy, although I didn't see ANYONE till I returned to the parking lot and there was a group of 3 starting the trail. I still didn't want to go in the WIDE open.
3. The falls are completely dry at this time. You can hear a little trickle, but it just runs down the rocks.
4. I should have believed another person's review who says there are "millions" of crickets. I thought they were over exaggerating, but they weren't!! I really don't like crickets and these things were everywhere! Jumping all around my feet, legs, thighs, and getting up to my arms for 95% of the trail. I am pretty scared of bugs, and crickets are one of my least favorite because of their jumping. It must be mating season or...something, they were coupling up all over the place! I am sure I made quite the spectacle moving a couple steps a minute and kicking and flailing! Eventually I just pushed on, and by the time I got to Phantom and turned back around to head back, I just walked right through. Kinda sorta conquered a fear! Yay!
5. This isn't necessarily a con, I thought it was fun, but holy moly, people weren't lying. No markers, and the trail absolutely disappears. If I hadn't had my phone and the AllTrails app, I wouldn't have found it. I am very lucky I didn't see a rattlesnake, because I was walking through tall dry grass. You can tell that other people wandered around just as much as me. It was an adventure though!

2 days ago

recorded Phantom Falls

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