Categories: CampingDestinations

Go Chasing Waterfalls at Clear Creek Ranch

I had so much stuff piled on top of me that my view consisted of the neon orange from my tent, a well worn blue duffel, and that’s about it. “But what about the gas mileage!” Sahana lamented as we finally admitted to ourselves that everything would not fit into the Prius. Our four hour trip up to Sasquatch Meadows was a little daunting and it was hard not to covet the gas efficient inclinations of the admittedly compact car. After trying to stuff 5 people and their items into the space we realized it was time to re-evaluate. Minivan it is.

Twenty minutes later we hit the road, in our re-named and supah-hip/fun “party bus” which chugged along the 101. It was a random mix of friends, a group that only the great outdoors can bring together. College, high school, a former flame (oh my) and a pot of chili large enough to feed an army. This is something I swear by when camping with an assortment of skill levels: brew a batch of chili beforehand! This way, you have all the comforts of your kitchen for prepping, and when you arrive at camp all you have to do is stick it on the stove.

The drive was long but we filled it with tall tales and biscotti. Curving into the mountain, through a heavy gate and the dirt road began– where the heck were we headed? There were signs at every intersection to guide our way. Cute wooden posts with the Hipcamp tipi beckoning us right and then left. Over not one, but two rickity bridges, past rustic cabins and fields and a crisscrossing river. We pulled up to camp and everyone hopped out of the car with glee.

Sasquatch Meadows is enchanting. About 100 yards from camp there is a river with a deep swimming hole where a friendly turtle likes to poke his head under your arm as you float beneath the trees. The animals here aren’t used to humans so they come right up to you. We were careful to respect that trust, and admired the little guy as his chubby legs paddled him across the waters surface.

Without going into too many details, it is very likely that you will break down and yell such gibberish as “I’m a mermaid!” or “This is magic!” when you visit Sasquatch Meadows. Even the bathroom is adorable with it’s painted wooden shingles and mirror hung from a ribbon tied in a bow. We soaked it all in and then decided to venture out and locate a waterfall with rave reviews, which almost seemed too good to be true.

We had seen signs for Upper Falls on our way down so walked back that way to see what we could find. The afternoon was peaceful and the road was lined with trees. We heard water and after a little uninformed poking about found a sign and a path down to the falls. WOW. This place is 100% for real my friends.

I was reminded of this song by TLC, for absolutely no reason other than it has the word waterfalls in it.

Don’t go chasin’ waterfalls

Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to

I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all

But I think you’re moving too fast

TLC, what are you talking about!? If this is any indication, DO go chasing waterfalls. Nineties pop-music aside, I felt like we had entered a magical place. On the left, a lazy river leading to water which cascades over rocks, and a deep, still pool with flat sheets of rock to lay out and soak up the sun. No complaints here! To top it all off, Upper Falls camp is knows what’s up. A canvas wall tent on a redwood platform, right next to the path that leads down to the falls. Jeez, why didn’t we just camp right here?

As I made my way down to the water and took in the (stunning!) views my eyes fell upon my friend Michelle, splayed out on the ground. She had slipped on one of the slick rocks without any of us noticing. Take note friends, you are in a remote area so safety is number one! Michelle was uninjured but laughing that none of us had noticed her tumble in the awe of the moment.

We jumped in the water and soaked it right up. You can swim up to the cascading falls and and wiggle your way under the sheets of water, an outdoor massage in the making. Big fronds of some forest plant frame the sides of the river and it feels private and special and (dare I say) clothing optional.

Dinner at Sasquatch was a chaotic affair. Even with the well planned chili, we somehow managed to forget plates or utensils. No matter! Food was slurped from little metal cups which moments before had been sloshing with wine. Seriously, I highly recommend this chili strategy! We got super creative and googled “The best vegetarian chili in the world.” The result was delectable, not to be missed!

Mosquitos are definitely at home in the area so I suggest you bring some repellant, or just cover your entire body in layers like Michelle:

The night was one for star gazing, the sky was clear and you could just barely hear the river as it made it’s way through Clear Creek Ranch and on to bigger things. Our tents were set up but we fell asleep in the great wide open… and woke up to about 50 butterflies flitting about. Delicate orange wings glinting in the sun! I felt like it was as appropriate a moment as any to frolick, or skip or sing a song while twirling in circles. So naturally that’s what we did (thank god for private campsites amiright).

After rejoicing, I laced up my running shoes and (in an effort to be achieve sporty goals) took off down the road. The terrain is relatively flat with some slight inclines for a bit of a challenge. When I run my mind wanders and more often than not I find myself thinking about serial killers and mountain lions and bears. Not the most comforting thoughts for a solo run but they did keep me alert, which is why I noticed a rustling around the corner and slowed down to a walk, all the while thinking to myself “stop being paranoid.”

As I rounded the bend, a cute little black bear greeted me about 5 feet off the road. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have spent many a year hoping to see a bear in the wild. But in my fantasies I would be in a car and the bear would be at a distance. Or I would be on top of a hill and the bear would be at a distance. Or I would be surrounded by people and the bear…would be at a distance!!! This intimate encounter was a little too much to handle so, heart pounding, I backed away slowly and bid my adieus.

Back at camp the crew was eating a hearty breakfast of leftover chili (which was duly noted on the drive back) and cornbread. Michelle lead an appropriately idyllic round of sun salutations out on the meadow and then we piled back into the party bus for our journey home. We couldn’t help but stop at the falls before heading out, after jumping in one last time we made our way home. 10/10 would return we decided, see you again soon we whispered, “I want to go camping everyweekend!” beamed Su.

So that’s about it folks. Only go to Sasquatch Meadows if you want to fall in love with being outside, see a bear, and swim in pristine water holes.

About the author: Anna has gotten into her fair share of debates about the virtues of Chacos over Tevas. She likes to climb mountains and make pizza but mostly she can be found at the Hipcamp offices listening to country music and eating hummus. Plus, she’s on Instagram! @annavonclemm

Hipcamp is an online marketplace where you can list, discover, and book campsites and accommodations on private and public land. Hipcamp is your go-to guide to getting outside. If you’re a landowner, Hipcamp creates new revenue streams for your business, which can help conserve your land and keep it wild. #FindYourselfOutside #LeaveItBetter

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