While other parts of California may suffer from drought conditions, the City of Dunsmuir has a guaranteed source of water—by some estimates guaranteed to last for hundreds of years.
When snow on Mount Shasta melts, most of it seeps down into the very porous lava that makes up the mountain. Much of that snowmelt heads south towards Dunsmuir, seeping through cracks and fissures in the lava over dozens or perhaps even hundreds of years.
Some of that underground water reaches the surface as springs, feeding the many creeks that flow into the Sacramento River. In other places, the water has passed through certain underground minerals and when it emerges, it may have a special flavoring, like the fizzy “soda water” here at Upper Soda Springs.
And perhaps most dramatically, some of this underground water from Mount Shasta forms beautiful Mossbrae Falls—emerging directly from a cliff face above the river and dropping twenty to twenty-five feet from the cliff face straight down into the river.
This perennial source of water supports a wonderful ecosystem of ferns, mosses, small plants, insects, and birds. Plus, during Dunsmuir’s hot summers, a cooling dip in the clear, clean water coming from the Falls is a welcome refreshing treat.