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Best time to travel to California

Phantom Falls

This waterfall is as hard to find as its name suggests


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The beautiful Phantom Falls, also called Coal Canyon Falls, is located near Oroville, California, and belongs to the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve. This 164-ft (50-m) waterfall runs off the edge of Coal Canyon. It has a pool of water at the bottom. California newt subspecies and the Coastal Range newt are endemic to this site. Phantom Falls runs only from late autumn to early spring. It totally disappears during the dry period.

Phantom Falls is also hard to find since there is no marked trail leading to it. Hikers usually start at Cherokee Road parking lot to the waterfall not far from Coal Canyon. From there a 2-mi (3.2-km) rocky downhill hike leads the bottom of the falls. Another option is to hike from the bottom of Coal Canyon but the terrain there is more complicated. The cave behind the falls hides the shaft of a gold mine, dating back to the California Gold Rush.

Even though the best time to see the falls runs from November through April, a period between February and April can be marked as perfect. Seeing wildflowers in bloom all around North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve is a pleasant bonus to the general beauty of the site.

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