Take a day trip to the Flumes


One of the many flumes located along the trail. Photo credit: Austin Schreiber

Accessible aqueducts, amazing views, large boulders, red newts and a true sense of nature are five things you can find at the Flumes.

The Flumes are a series of small water bridges that run alongside the Feather River. The unique metal and wood catwalks over the river allow people to walk across.

One of the many flumes located along the trail. Photo credit: Austin Schreiber
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Water rushes through the flumes Photo credit: Austin Schreiber

To get to the Flumes, you are going to need to drive to Paradise, which is a small town about 25 minutes east of Chico (connected by Skyway Road).

Before you head out to Paradise though, you should probably decide what kind of trip you want to have.

Are you looking for a peaceful stroll through nature or are you looking to get your adrenaline rush for the day?

If you are looking for a peaceful stroll through nature, then I would recommend using the Dean Road access point. To get directions, go to Google Maps on your smartphone and type the destination 2099 Dean Road, Paradise, CA 95969. A word of caution, however, this access point is located at the end of a bumpy dirt road full of potholes. I would not recommend driving down it in a car, although midsize SUVs, trucks, jeeps and other vehicles higher off the ground will probably be fine.

When you get to the end of Dean Road, you can park anywhere in the dirt circle but be careful not to block the resident’s gate. From there, you can either walk north or south along the trail. If you go north for about two miles, you will reach the Head Dam, which is a popular swimming hole. If you go south for about a mile and a half, you will run into a small waterfall as well as some other swimming holes. If going this route, watch out for red newts along the way. Although they are very interesting to look at, the Sierra Newt is actually poisonous when ingested, so keep your dogs away from them.

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The Sierra Newt comes out of the river to get some sunlight Photo credit: Austin Schreiber

For an adrenaline rush, I would recommend using the Feather River Place access point. It’s a little more difficult to find on the map, so I would suggest using the First Christian Church as your Google Maps destination. When you get to the church, find somewhere along the immediate street to park and make sure you aren’t blocking somebody’s driveway or parked illegally.

From there, walk straight down Feather River Place until you reach a metal gate with a few warning signs on it. If you want to continue to the cable pools, follow the main trail down the hill and slightly south. After about 20 minutes, you will come across a narrow dirt trail with a rope at the beginning of it. This is the trail to the Cable Pools, but be warned: It is extremely steep and an exhausting hike back up.

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Once you get down to the Cable Pools, you can either enjoy a nice swim or jump off the giant boulder across the river. There are a couple different places you can jump off the boulder and each is a different height. The highest point is about 50 feet from water and the lowest point is about 35 feet. The spot I jumped from is the most popular one and sits about 40 feet above the water.

Before you plunge into the water, you should know a couple things:

  1. Swim around the area you plan to land in. Check and make sure the water level is high enough to jump and make sure there are no large obstructions in the way.
  2. Wear your shoes while climbing up the boulder. The rock is pretty rough, so you don’t want to scrape your feet all over it.
  3. Do not climb out of the water using the metal cable tied to the tree. The cable has frayed over time and last time I cut my hand open. Climb out using the rocks instead.
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Preparing to jump at the Cable Pools Photo credit: Austin Schreiber

Some important things to remember:

  • Bring comfortable hiking shoes
  • Bring a water bottle
  • Bring sunscreen
  • Bring mosquito repellent
  • Watch out for poison oak (it’s everywhere)
  • Bring dogs at your own risk

If you remember these important tips, then you’ll have a great time at the Flumes. Check back next week for our next outdoor adventure.

Austin Schreiber can be reached at [email protected] or @aschreiber94 on Twitter.