Property Owners Close Hatchet Creek Falls to the Public

One of the most popular and recognizable swimming holes in Northern California has been closed by the property owners following a string of car break-ins and an apparent arson incident. Visitors to Hatchet Creek Falls can now be cited if found visiting the area that sits on private property.

Although the swimming hole has had issues with litter for years now, it was still a haven for NorCal locals to beat the heat on a hot summer day. After the recent incidents which have brought unwanted crime to the area, the private property owners pulled the plug on visitors.

The 25-foot waterfall, also known as Lion Slide Falls, sits between Redding and Burney and is one of the most unique outdoor destinations in the area. The swimming hole contains a giant fallen tree that lays right in the middle the Montgomery Creek waterfall, creating a makeshift stairway for swimmers to climb and jump into the water.

While the closure will certainly give the property owners a chance to clean up the area that has had issues with litter over the years, public pressure may force them to reopen the waterfall eventually. Much like the outcry over the accessibility of Mossbrae Falls in Dunsmuir, this may be an opportunity to improve the destination and make it a special place for everyone to enjoy safely.

For now, you’ll have to look for a new swimming hole to replace Hatchet Creek Falls.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


  1. I see an issue for the property owners in allowing it to be open and not doing anything about it. Legally they may not have a leg to stand on if it has been over 10 years they may have to grant an easement that they knowingly allowed. However, people need to respect private property rights and Instagram has turned little local secrets that property owners are willing to overlook into huge liability issues when the world shows up. Then when it is shut down there is a huge outcry!! Use the public lands that you pay for not private land that the owner pays for through purchases and property taxes.

    1. As someone who has appreciated and respected this magical place for 60+ years I say shut it down and protect it from the brain dead imbeciles who trash it.

    2. In my recollection, prescriptive easements have been a thing of the past since the ’70’s or earlier. Not that I’m an attorney, but I have been in a legal fight and won regarding this subject.

  2. stop publicizing local treasures. it only encourages flatlanders to come and screw them up for everyone else.

  3. There is a litter problem at all the falls in the so called Falls loop tour,Burney Falls,McCloud Falls,& Dunsmuir Falls,all so heavily promoted on this web site,The trash left behind by tourists is out of control’

  4. Well the public should have zero reasons to complain. Just clean up all your litter, haul it out yourselves and leave it cleaner than when you arrived.

    Come on public, get a clue

  5. Found an Iphone 7 with a Lifeproof case on it just on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020. First name in the medical ID is Kaden.

  6. Potential falls will be next. I went there this spring and found over 18 cars parked lining the dirt road. The next day trash was found on the trail and a discarded diaper to boot. Also, people need to pickup after their dogs, really!

  7. We could apply the Broken Window Theory. That is, the theory that if people see things are in good condition and clean, people will have respect and this will prevent crime.

    It worked with the subway systems in New York City. Those subways used to be places where there were muggings and murders. After having subway walls cleaned as well as some other things, subways became safe places.

    We need to do something of that sort. We know it can be done. That waterfall used to be a place where break-ins did not happen or were rare for years. What happened? What we need to do is encourage integrity and we need to do this as a culture. We need to look for solutions that are effective.

    Closing the falls will bring another slippery slope. Before we know it, all the places we like to go to will be closed if we don’t stop this trend. People still go there now that it’s closed. Those people are going there illegally now which means they are probably committing other illegal actions.

    Why does any person want to own that land? That’s a small piece of land that lots of people want to go to. Why don’t they sell it and we then make it a park?

    Let’s do something about this!

  8. “Navigable” waters are open to the public within the high water mark. Whether a creek is navigable is open for debate, but the law says if you can float down it in a canoe or raft then it is navigable, and I have seen videos of people doing this at this location. The issue becomes accessing the public waterway without trespassing. I think if you park within the shoulder of Big Bend Road, which is public right of way, and can hop into the creek near the bridge without trespassing and walk up creek to the falls, staying within the high water marks of the creek, you’ll be within your rights legally.

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