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Let's beat the heat! University Falls hike and natural waterslides

Like treasure hunts? Then head for the hills near Auburn and have an adventure that could be straight from a sequel to The Goonies. A 2.5-mile (each way), unmarked hike with twists, turns, and the eerie remains of a truck wreck takes treasure-seekers to watery riches: a series of three natural rock waterslides, separated by giant pools of cool mountain water. Known as University Falls, this whoop-and-holler triple wonder would thrill even the likes of "Mikey," "Mouth," "Data," and "Chunk. Muster the courage to speed down the first slide. Then catch your breath and hit the next two while you listen for your own squeal. (There is a fourth slide, but it's dicey and not recommended.) Hidden trails. Old car wrecks. Natural waterslides. And you… Join the adventure.

What to Bring
Definitely bring AT LEAST 4 liters of water per person (it's gonna be a hot weekend!) and a lunch to have at the waterslides. If you're fairly nimble, you could make the hike in watershoes or sneakers. Heck, I've seen tons of youngsters hike there in flip flops but I wouldn't recommend it. There is one short fairly steep and slippery spot on the trail but it's manageable. There isn't a lot of tree cover to change into your swimsuit, so it's probably best to already have it on you.

Directions
Head to Auburn on I-80, then take Hwy 49 south to the town of Cool. Go east on Hwy 193 to Georgetown. Go left onto Main St. (at the Napa store); this is Wentworth Springs Rd. Take this about 12 miles. Just after passing through the town of Quintette, find parking on the left. From here, allow 90 minutes to walk in. Walk past the bright yellow gate; 200 feet past the gate, continue straight on the fire road. Go left at the next fork (sign "12N67B"). Go right at "the bend" (look for blue arrows on the rocks). Follow this trail down and make a hairpin right onto the trail that follows the Pilot Creek water canal; continue about .5 mile. Look for the obvious side trail that descends to the left and take it. After 100 feet, go right at the first fork (look for blue paint on the tree). This descends to the falls. Dog-friendly!

Suggested donation: $3

Suggested carpool donation: $ 12

Membership Required: All adult participants must be Sacramento Trail Mix members. Minors are welcome when accompanied by their parent or guardian club member. Save time for yourself and others by completing your membership form and bringing it to the host or mailing it in.

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  • nae9

    Athena, I just left you a message here on Meetup. Would you get back to me after reading the message? Thanks, Naomi[masked]

    September 10, 2014

    • Athena

      Just did, Naomi.

      September 11, 2014

    • nae9

      Thanks much Athena!

      September 11, 2014

  • Greg

    That's what I thought too!

    1 · June 19, 2014

  • Jim C

    That was a fun hike. I would guess someone printed the signs to keep people out. I didn't get sick from the water!

    June 18, 2014

    • Athena

      That's what I suspect as well.

      June 19, 2014

  • Trish C.

    Great pictures everyone. Hey Gabriel...Is it possible for you to send me the picture of the gang. I can't seem to save it or don't know how. :)

    June 9, 2014

  • Gabriel C.

    Nice meeting everyone! What a great group of people!
    I've put pictures of the hike here:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/iamgabrielcortes/sets/ Let me know if you have any problems accessing them.

    All the best,

    Gabriel

    5 · June 7, 2014

    • Athena

      Thanks, Gabriel! Now get some rest, Soldier! We hike again in the morning!

      2 · June 7, 2014

    • nae9

      Thanks for all the great pictures Gabriel!

      2 · June 8, 2014

  • Trish C.

    Athena, this was a great hike. Thank you! And a great group of people.

    1 · June 8, 2014

  • Laura

    Thank you Athena for the great hike!

    1 · June 7, 2014

  • Athena

    Thank you to everyone who joined me on the hike today. You were all such good company. I loved getting to know each one of you. And several of you really warmed my heart when you so generously and freely gave your water away to so many unprepared hikers we came across. That gesture spoke loads to the kind of people you are. I hope to hike with you all again some time!

    5 · June 7, 2014

    • Athena

      And a few of you were asking about the hike I'm going on tomorrow. Here it is. It's a gorgeous hike. Love to see you there! http://meetu.ps/2nLhj...­

      June 7, 2014

  • nae9

    Thanks Athena--nice meeting everyone too! See you again out there on the trails :)

    2 · June 7, 2014

  • Mary O.

    Thanks for arranging this one, Athena! Great hike with a great group of people!

    2 · June 7, 2014

  • cindy w

    Thanks for a great hike, everyone was terrific!

    2 · June 7, 2014

  • Greg

    Great hike and awesome people! Looking forward to another hike soon!

    June 7, 2014

  • Greg

    Great hike and awesome people! Looking forward to another hike soon!

    2 · June 7, 2014

  • Jim C

    fun Hike!!

    2 · June 7, 2014

  • Jim C

    At parking place. Did you leave yet?

    June 7, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry had to cancel. Have fun y'all!

    June 7, 2014

  • nae9

    I'll also meet you at the trailhead--planning to be there early, like around 9:30/9:45. Thanks--looking forward to a great hike!

    June 7, 2014

  • Laura

    Do you know what time approximately we will be returning to sunsplash?

    June 6, 2014

    • Athena

      I hadn't really planned a specific departure time from the swimming hole, Laura. We can certainly discuss that when we discuss carpools and consider who wants/has to head back when. I'm flexible. I would guess we'd stay at least an hour at the water.

      June 6, 2014

  • Eva

    I am going to have to cancel on this hike, it is just going to be too hot. For those who have never been to University Falls, definitely bring 4 liters of water. There really is no shade , or at least not much. I wouldn't recommend flip flops either, unless you just bring them to change into at the water. There are snakes out at this time of the year and I encountered one on this hike last year. Have fun, and I'm sorry to miss it. I promise I'll eventually make it to a hike.

    June 6, 2014

    • Athena

      I hear you, Eva. It's gonna be hot all weekend. I hope to meet you on another hike. I encourage every one of us hikers to bring more water than we think we'll need. That would be ideal. You're right about the flip flops. The last time I wore flip flops I slipped on the slippery part and got my butt pretty dusty. My friend still laughs at me because I didn't grab his hand while I was jibberjabbering. We didn't see any snakes but that would've been pretty cool. I hope none of your group got bit! We did see a momma bear and two cubs but it was a very early morning weekday. We probably won't be that lucky this weekend due to how busy the area will probably be when we're there tomorrow in the midst of this heatwave.

      1 · June 6, 2014

  • joseph v

    If we made it in Death valley for a ten mile hike. We can make it anywhere. There was no water in death valley either.

    1 · June 6, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'll be coming from Oroville. Is there any short cut going to the trailhead?

    June 6, 2014

    • Athena

      I just mapquested Oroville to Quintette, Liberty, and the suggested route goes right by Sunsplash. I think meeting us there and carpooling is your best bet. By the way, I lived in the foothills of Oroville until I was 13. Loved it!

      June 6, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ok then I'll just meet you at sunsplash but I still wanna carpool. Thanks Athena!

      June 6, 2014

  • Athena

    Sunblock and bug spray reminder...

    June 6, 2014

  • Mary O.

    I'll meet up at Sunsplash

    June 6, 2014

  • Carol S.

    Not going on this hike, never planned to.

    June 6, 2014

    • Michelle A. B.

      I noticed that today. Every event I clicked on for more details it automatically gave me a "yes" RSVP.

      June 6, 2014

    • Athena

      Wow! That's some bug! Thanks for the heads up.

      June 6, 2014

  • Michelle A. B.

    This sounds amazing! I cannot go this time. I rarely work no Saturday, but this week i will be stuck in the office. Next time!

    1 · June 6, 2014

  • Laura

    I will also need to car pool

    June 6, 2014

  • Laura

    How manageable is the one short fairly steep and slippery spot?

    June 6, 2014

    • Athena

      The kind of manageable where you definitely slow down and you might use your hands or hold another hiker's hand for stability. Like I said, I see kids do it in flip flops, so it's not that bad, but if you're unsure you should definitely wear sturdy shoes.

      1 · June 6, 2014

  • Trish C.

    I will need carpool from sunsplash.

    June 5, 2014

    • Athena

      We'll figure out carpools at Sunsplash, no problem.

      June 5, 2014

  • Rachel G.

    I will meet you at the trail head. What time do you think you will get there.

    June 5, 2014

  • Athena

    I've upped the water recommendation to at least FOUR liters per person. (Thanks, Carol, for catching that.) We don't want anybody wilting out there! All fun, no dehydration!

    June 5, 2014

  • Trish C.

    I'm so happy. I was waiting for a Saturdsy hike!!!

    1 · June 5, 2014

13 went

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