Friday, April 22, 2011

Marin Waterfall Hike - Tucker Falls - 4-22-11

          High above Phoenix Lake on a tributary leading into Williams Creek is a hidden waterfall called Tucker Falls. A good place to start the hike would be Phoenix Lake, however, parking is always a nightmare there so I always opt to park at the top of windy ridge on Crown Road. To get there drive down Woodland Ave. near Kent Woodlands in Kentfield. Take your first right on Goodhill Rd and follow it to toward the top of the ridge until you reach Crown Rd. Take a left on Crown road and follow it to its terminus where there is plenty of street parking. The Tucker trail is located just over the guard rail off of Crown Road.
          I started down the trail which starts off on an open grassy hillside with an abundance of Buckeye trees. There are great views across Bill Williams Gulch and of the adjacent ridgeline.
I soon entered a young redwood forest which brought a different variety of flora. Irises bloomed along the trailside as did the occasional Red Larkspur. I came to a signed trail junction with the right fork leading down Williams Creek to Phoenix Lake, and the left fork leading up towards Tucker Falls and Eldridge Grade. I veered left as the trail follows the contour of the hillside and then heads gently downhill to a footbridge that crosses Bill Williams Creek. I attempted to travel a short distance up the creek bed which proved to be a poor decision. As I took my third step my foot slipped out from underneath me and in slow motion I saw myself falling toward the creek. Inevitably, I knew I was going to get a little wet, but I was unpleasantly surprised when I sank up to my chest in a deep pocket of the creek. Not but ten minutes into my hike and I was soaked to the core in a shaded canyon. I was not yet ready to call it quits so I stripped off my upper layers and stashed them under the footbridge to be retrieved on the return hike.
          The Tucker Trail begins to ascend rather steeply and each step was uncomfortable with my waterlogged pants. Nonetheless I greatly enjoyed my solitude in the quiet canyon. I passed by blankets of fetid adders tongue leaves and some pacific starflowers were just starting to bloom. The trail crosses a couple inlet streams by way of footbridge then climbs several switchbacks before reaching “Tuckers Camp”.
          Tuckers Camp derives its name from a man named Tucker and Eckert who used to have a camp there. Rumor has it that there was a falling out between the two and it is said that Eckert moved his camp uphill a ways closer to Eldridge Grade. Not much remains of the camp today save for a flat area ideal for a small settlement.
          From the trail at Tucker’s Camp the falls are barely visible through the dense forest foliage. A small use trail leads one closer for a more intimate view.

Tucker Falls

          As I suspected, the falls did not have significant water flow and the aesthetics suffered greatly. **
          I relaxed a while before tromping back down Tucker Trail to Williams Creek and exploring some cascades.

Cascades on Streamlet

          In the creek bed I stumbled upon some deer bones.

Deer Jaw Bone

          Near a footbridge was a beautiful scene with a giant Alder Tree protruding out of the creek with its leaves glowing in the faint afternoon sunlight.

Feel Good Spot

          Soaking wet and the cold starting to set in, I retrieved my sopped shirts from beneath the bridge and hiked back to my car.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know about Tucker Falls. Thanks for the vicarious hike Cole.