Ted's Hiking World Codfish Falls
Auburn State Recreation Area

April 15, 2008

A mere 2½ miles of unpaved road are sufficient to access this trailhead.  My trail guide says to park at the American River bridge, then head downstream.  Hoping that it is not too late in the season to see some nice flowers, I set out on this 70-degree day with companions John and Cathy.  Within a few minutes I learn that my camera will get plenty of exercise.

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Almost there

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Tufted Poppy

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Lupine

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Hartweg's Iris

My friends seem content to tag along behind me, even though they are compelled to stop every few yards as I capture another flower for posterity.  Within half a mile I encounter any number of unusual and gorgeous species that I have not seen previously.

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John and Cathy on the trail

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Blue Field Gilia

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The splendid Canyon Live-forever appear to be waxed 

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Fairy Lantern

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Twining Snakelily

There are several butterfly types about, including some that aren't quite butterflies yet.  I don't know what this caterpillar will turn out to be, but those guys on the yellow flowers are regulars around here.

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Caterpillar

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Variable Checkerspots, I believe

Many of the usual suspects haven't yet succumbed to the heat, such as daisies, popcorn flowers, blue dicks, dandelions, and paintbrush.  I cannot visit them all; instead, I will photograph some more guys that I have not seen before.

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North Fork American River

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Larkspur

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Kellogg's Monkeyflower

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Dovesfoot geranium

A mile into the trek, a spur branches to the right.  That must be the one we want.  Almost immediately the trail becomes greener and more shady as we head up a little canyon beside what appears to be a dry creek bed.  Hiding amidst the prodigious poison oak are a few scarlet-colored Indian Pinks — so brilliantly hued that they almost seem out of place in a natural setting.

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Codfish Creek Canyon trail

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Indian Pink

Overlooking the trail is a touching handmade commemorative sign.  Some water is visible in the creek now, and we can hear it cascading just ahead.  A few cobwebs and a few mosquitos later, we arrive at Codfish Falls.  What a treat it is!

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This marker has survived for fourteen years

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Codfish Falls

It is time for lunch beside the mossy cascade.  John attempts to clamber up to the top, but it is too steep.  My trail guide says that there are no other cascades immediately upstream anyhow.  I content myself with photographing a beautiful new plant at creekside.

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Indian Rhubarb

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Froggy seems bored

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The falls

John is hoping that the frog will eat something, or at least move.  But it never does.  I revisit the rhubarb for some more pictures.  This member of the saxifrage family is uncommon, being found only on rocky stream banks in northern California and Oregon.  I don't want to squander this rare opportunity.  Although I spotted the black beetle hiding out in the far left (do you see it?), it wasn't until I processed my photos that I saw the amazing-looking white spider at the bottom of the cluster.

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Also known as Umbrella Plant

It's nearly 80° now and warming up by the minute — time to head back.  We leave the trail to explore the river bank.  Although offering little in the way of scenery, the beach does sport a nifty rock monument and a gorgeous swallowtail lying in the sand.

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Varlileaf Phacelia

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Nature's balance?

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Pipevine Swallowtail, a personal favorite

The three of us stroll up the river bank, hopeful of finding an alternate route.  At the last possible moment, a footpath does materialize, leaving only a 40-foot scramble up to the main trail.  On the way back, there is ample opportunity to grab a few more pictures.

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Menzie's Fiddleneck

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Desert Pincushion

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The Bug Motel

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End of the line


§: For the record, some trail guides tout the cascade as Codfish Creek Falls, but the topographic map shows simply, "Codfish Falls".  The original name has not been improved.

Soon it will be too hot to hike in the lowlands.  Until the snow clears at the higher elevations, I'll have to hunt elsewhere for suitable trails.  Meanwhile, my camera has logged a dozen new flower species and a nice waterfall.  I'll be back next year.

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Addendum: I returned here after two weeks to see what had become of the Indian rhubarb, as it had not fully blossomed before.  My efforts were rewarded in full:

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I hope to see these again sometime

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