North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve


What? :

The lava flows created the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve elevated mesa. Here you can enjoy the beautiful vistas of green grassland, spring wildflowers, impressive waterfalls, lava cliffs and sessional pools.

This place provide few hiking options that do not involved with mountain climbing and with different length.

Visiting here can be an excellent half a day trip if you are in the area.



Where? :

Located 7 miles north of the city of Oroville on a sideroad by the name of Cherokee Rd.

Use google map with the destination: Parking lot for Phantom Falls.

Google Map Link



When? :

The Reserve is open year-round dawn to dusk.

The best time to visit here is at winter and spring months (March-April), all is green and the flowers are blooming and the water is flowing.

I visit here during hot summer day; all is dry and yellow and there almost no flowing water in the waterfalls.

If you are coming at the summer month plan for hot temperatures of 90’+.



Due note 1:  This is a fee area; you need to reserve your hiking permit at the California Fish and Wildlife website prior to coming here.


Lands Pass:


Due note 2: Each visitor to who is 16 years of age or older is required to carry a daily (1 day) or annual lands pass while on the property. Visitors who are carrying their own valid California hunting or fishing license are exempt from the requirement.


Due note 3: The road leading to Table Mountain is winding and narrow country road, drive slowly !


Due note 4: There is a large parking lot but during late winter and spring months it is getting full early morning. Come as early as you can, if you do not find a parking there are only few other parking spots available on Cherokee Road, park outside the road and do not violate no-parking signs.


Due note 5: Potable water and trash receptacles are not available at the site.


Due note 6: There are restrooms in the parking lot.


Due note 7: There is no shade along the hike, and it is expose to wind and rain.


Due note 8: Trails are not maintained by CDFW and may cross onto private property and grazing land.


Due note 9: This is a cuttle grazing area, stay within a safe distance from the cows and do not pass between cow and here calf.


Due note 10: Dogs must be on a leash.


Due note 11: The land was acquired by the Department in 1993 to preserve the Northern Basalt Flow Vernal Pools habitat type and sensitive species.


Due note 12: Camping is not allowed, Fires of any kind are not allowed including fireworks, Drones are prohibited.



My thoughts:

At late winter and early spring this is a premier wildflower viewing, when we visit here early summer it was all dry and yellow.

We enjoy the easy hike, but it is not something I recommend doing, it can be very hot and there are no water flowing in the waterfalls.

We only went to Phantom Falls and back, it was hot and all was dry so we decided not to do the 7 mile loop hike.



The visit:


Formed by ancient lava flows that created the large mesa towering over the central valley near the city of Oroville. This large and flat table mesa ends sharply on its west side with 200ft cliffs and there are few canyons cutting the basalt rocks and creating canyons and waterfalls.


We came here early summer (June) so it was already hot and dry.


We decided not to do the 7-mile loop hike but rather go to Phantom Falls and back.


Link to my Alltrails hiking map:


Hike to Phantom Falls and back:

The hike start from the parking lot, after crossing the first shallow creek the trail split, you can go straight through the fields following the general direction with not so marked trail or keep walking near the fence (on the right side of the fence) until you will reach a clear wide trail heading to the right.

Both options reconnect after about 0.8 mile.

Keep fallowing the clear trail in the general direction northwest.

After 1.2 miles from the parking lot, you will reach the viewing point over Ravine Creek. Enjoy the view of the creek below you, from here the trail turn left. Walk over the metal bar and follow the trail down into the canyon.

When the trail reach the canyon floor there is a large waterfall on your right.

When we visit here it was almost completely dry.

The trail turn left, cross the creek, and climb on the other side of the canyon.

From here follow the main trail until you will reach large trail junction, here turn left.

Keep walking north until you will reach the cliff edge where is the best viewing point on Phantom Falls.

From the parking lot to this point it is 2.1 miles hike.

You can also take the trail on your right that will lead you to the top of the falls.

From the viewpoint you can see the deep and wide Coal Canyon stretching straight to the west. The 300ft tall basalt walls of the canyon are impressive.


When we were here the falls were almost dry.

After enjoying the view, we went back to the parking lot.


Overall, it was a 4-mile hike, and we did it in 2 hours of easy walking.



You can also do a longer 7.5-mile-long loop hike that combines Phantom Falls with Beatson Falls.




We visit here during the summer months, but I know that I will visit here again when all will be green with flowers and water flowing in the waterfalls.





Additional Pictures: