Trails in Northern California

Trails in Northern California

Leave No Trace!

Visit for more information about Desolation Wilderness. Visit or call 1- 877-444-6777 to make park reservations. Visit Campfire Permits to get a permit online. More about Leave No Trace principles.

July 03, 2012

University Falls, Quintette, CA

The not so  "fine print" posted AUGUST 14, 2014:  I am editing this post due to controversy regarding use of this area..  
BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO VISIT THIS PLACE: VISIT THIS LINK: All Trails, because there is current, important information. 

 Leave No Trace!

 Check out this Nature's Unbelievable Wonderland Water Slide Park!



The photo above is from above the falls in February, 2013.  Since the snow and water level, along with the hour of the day, made photos from below looking up achievable, it was the only decent view I could get.
Part of this trail crosses private property you must gain permission to cross.  At this time the area is closed by forestry research and access is discouraged, if not denied.  
There are some great YouTube videos of these falls and the fun people have there.

As you hike down, you'll see this truck remnant and know you are on the right path.  A good part of the hike is shady enough to help keep your cool.

 As you descend the unbelievably slippery granite to get to the bottom pool, the rope is there to hang on to for added security.

 There is a wooded area after you've crossed the creek that runs above the falls.  Handy "changing room".

 Each slide brings you to land in a pool below it that you swim across to the next natural slide.  CAUTION!  These rocks are genuinely dangerous due to the slippery surface.  People have been seriously injured or killed not taking the hazards here seriously.  It is a very difficult place to get rescued from in the event of injury, so have fun but use good sense!  Avoid the 4th slide.  More accidents happen there and it is harder to get up the hill safely too.

We have arrived to find topless sunbathers so be aware of the possibility!

 I loved this pool for its depth and yet short distance across!  The water is so cold sometimes, and the first time in, I belted out my very first horror-movie-worthy, blood-curdling scream!  It hurt so good! 

Oh ya...for real.

 Our first time here we chose the bottom pool to hang out, sun ourselves, and yes, take a little swim!

 We went with a group on this trip and joined some adventurous kids, soaking and sliding all day.  Lots of types of people were there with families, and kids from around 12 and up taking the slides, even leaping off into the pool below them.

 On a hot day the rocks are the perfect balance to the cold water.

You can hang out in shallow areas and go down a very short slide if you are less than Braveheart!
This is a memorable, fantastic hike with an unusual payoff.  Whenever snow runoff is high the falls will reflect it.  Your tolerance for cold will reach all new lows, and I can't imagine anyone not just LOVING it.

If you get the chance to visit some natural water slides, go for it.  We obviously
 have had some memorable exciting times at these falls.  

For more hikes:
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Again, University Falls is a natural wonderland, and the photos reflect how much fun the wilderness has to offer.  There are notes on the internet circulating that the community and the private property owners have had enough abuse of this amazing place. Someone named Ron York contacted me through Google+, whose credibility I could not verify, requesting the page be removed.  I am leaving the article posted for your enjoyment, however I am afraid the days of public fun here may be at an end.  Before trying to visit the falls, check with local authority, forest service, and relevant private property owners.