Chico, CA: Phantom Falls Loop

Hike to a cliff-top vantage that overlooks Phantom Falls on this 7.3-mile figure-eight loop just 40 minutes from Chico.
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Hike to a cliff-top vantage that overlooks Phantom Falls on this 7.3-mile figure-eight loop just 40 minutes from Chico.

This 164-foot seasonal cascade (best after big rains, November to May) is a favorite destination of local photographers, who journey off-trail to capture the thin rope of water pouring over a sheer basalt cliff into Coal Canyon. Spot two other cascades (76-foot Ravine and 45-foot Hollows) on a 7.4-mile loop.

-Mapped by Adrien Patané

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 11.8

Waypoints

PHN001

Location: 39.595923, -121.541736

Hike northwest from the parking area.

PHN002

Location: 39.596254, -121.542276

Continue heading northwest at this point roughly 200 feet from the parking lot.

PHN003

Location: 39.598178, -121.546243

Cross a wash (and several more ahead) and keep heading northwest across North Table Mountain, a broad plateau that rises above Oregon Gulch to the east, Beatson Hollow, Coal Canyon, and Flag Canyon to the west.

PHN004

Location: 39.604118, -121.557498

Skirt the edge of a ravine next to Coal Canyon for views (and a photo op) of Ravine Falls.

PHN005

Location: 39.606184, -121.563377

Turn north toward Coal Canyon.

PHN006

Location: 39.609242, -121.561071

Head north for a .7-mile out-and-back that traces the rim of Coal Canyon.

PHN007

Location: 39.610598, -121.560679

From this vantage point along the rim, you can see the lush, tree-covered canyon bottom.

PHN008

Location: 39.610755, -121.56209

Look to the left (east) for views of Phantom Falls pouring over the cliff face.

PHN009

Location: 39.610491, -121.563085

This promontory reveals more photo-worthy views of Phantom Falls and the cliffs directly to the south. Turn around at this point and backtrack to PHN006.

PHN010

Location: 39.609127, -121.561157

Bear left, heading southeast.

PHN011

Location: 39.604547, -121.556532

Head southwest across North Table Mountain for the next 1.4 miles.

PHN012

Location: 39.593181, -121.574605

Turn left and drop into Beatson Hollow.

PHN013

Location: 39.592556, -121.572054

Turn right (south) and hike south through the trees.

PHN014

Location: 39.589811, -121.571185

Bear left, heading east into Beatson Hollow.

PHN015

Location: 39.58902, -121.555856

Swing left into the side canyon that extends to the north.

PHN016

Location: 39.594512, -121.553078

Climb switchbacks out of the hollow, then hike east back to the parking area.

Ravine Falls

Location: 39.603861, -121.557444

Ravine

Location: 39.610598, -121.560625

Phantom Falls

Location: 39.610755, -121.562058

Ravine Edge

Location: 39.610497, -121.56301

Phantom Falls

Location: 39.61049, -121.563062

Tree Panorama

Location: 39.595537, -121.548357