About Hollow Falls
Hollow Falls was a roughly 160ft waterfall on Campbell Creek cascading off a rounded cliff into a secluded and shaded ravine.
What I found to be most memorable about this waterfall was the apparent presence of frogs in its plunge pool (as well as further upstream along its creek).
Even though I wasn’t able to explicitly see any of these elusive frogs, I could definitely hear them as long as I stood still long enough to let them think that no one was around.
In addition to the frogs, I found Hollow Falls to be a worthwhile deviation from the Phantom Falls hike because it was a mere 0.8-mile round-trip detour.
So even if you’re not up for the longer hike to Phantom Falls, you at least have this option of exploring a waterfall that’s much closer to the trailhead.
Besides, the presence of wildflowers near the trailhead to get here would also allow you to experience the Nature’s palette in the Spring.
Hiking to Hollow Falls
The Hollow Falls spur leaves the Phantom Falls Trail at about a half-mile from the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve parking lot.
Then, keeping left at the well-signed spur, the trail skirted alongside Campbell Creek (which was already harboring croaking frogs during my early April 2021 late afternoon visit).
Although there were some tricky basalt stretches where the continuation of the trail wasn’t obvious and there was some mild dropoff exposure, there were steel poles set up as sort of trail cairns.
At about 0.3-mile from the trail junction, I reached another signed trail junction where the Hollow Falls Trail switched back and descended into the ravine.
At the bottom of the descent, the trail traversed the rocky Campbell Creek, and then picked up a trail on the opposite side, where the final 0.1-mile of the trail went upstream to the base of Hollow Falls.
However, if I was so inclined, I could also hike about 1.5 miles downstream to Beatson Falls for a longer optional excursion to a waterfall that far fewer people visit compared to Phantom Falls.
Anyways, aside from the late afternoon mosquitoes spawning in the calm plunge pool where frog sounds echoed at the head of the ravine, I really enjoyed this detour.
Indeed, I recommend extending a visit to Phantom Falls to at least experience the Hollow Falls, especially since it only requires a 1.8-mile round-trip out-and-back hike (or 0.8-mile of hiking to tack onto the Phantom Falls hike).
Hollow Falls resides in a combination of the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve and some private lands near Oroville in Butte County, California. It is administered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
Hollow Falls shares the same trailhead as that of Phantom Falls.
So see that page for driving directions.
For more geographical context, Oroville was about 70 miles (roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes drive) north of Sacramento, 94 miles (90 minutes drive) south of Redding, 152 miles (2.5 hours drive) north of San Francisco, 151 miles (3 hours drive) west of South Lake Tahoe, 184 miles (3 hours drive) north of San Jose, and 451 miles (7 hours drive) north of Los Angeles.
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