Outdoor Adventure – Black Hole of Calcutta Falls

By Kelly Conroy

Kelly Rathburn Conroy
Kelly Conroy

Every summer, I get major adventure fever. The longer days pull me outdoors and I use a lot of brain space planning out my next trip into the wilderness. One of the absolute best things about Sacramento is its proximity to outdoor activities, but all these options often have my head spinning – with a limited number of free weekends, how do I choose which activities to enjoy?

Starting this month, I’ll be doing my best to relieve you of the stress of finding your next foray into nature with a quick review of a local hike, camping spot, or outdoor activity you can enjoy each month.

Since this is our first iteration and maybe you’re feeling a bit timid about stepping into the big, wide world of outdoor adventure, we’ll start with a beautiful, mellow hike near Auburn.

Black Hole of Calcutta Falls Trail

Name: Black Hole of Calcutta Falls Trail 

Also referred to as Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge or No Hands Bridge.

Level: Beginner

Location: Near Cool just off Highway 49. There are various ways to get to the trail, so here’s a map for your reference.

Length: About one mile from the trailhead to the falls. You can continue past the falls for a longer hike and a couple spots of more challenging trail, or turn around for an easy two mile round trip.

Pro Tips:

  • Dog and kid friendly
  • Access to the river
  • Free parking along the side of the road, but get there early to find a spot

Fun Facts: When No Hands Bridge was completed in 1912, it was the longest concrete arch bridge in the world!

My Experience: This trail is wide and flat and has beautiful views of the river. It’s perfect for a family outing or an easy stroll outside. It’s pretty exposed, so be sure to pack your sunscreen or a hat and get started early so you can find a parking spot and avoid the heat.

For having such a big name, I was surprised that the falls are pretty little, but still a fun spot to splash your face or stand in the shade for a few minutes. It’s also important to keep dogs on a leash as it’s a very popular trail with horseback riders. The horses have the right of way, so give them space when you meet on the trail.

Getting down to the river is a bit steep, but there are lots of side trails to take you to the water. I’m sure it’s worth the climb down on a hot day!

This trail is in the Auburn State Recreation Area, which provides over 100 miles of trails, so you can explore as long as your heart desires. Once you’ve had enough outdoor adventure for the day, grab a beer in Cool at Cork & Fork and enjoy the small town atmosphere.

Black Hole of Calcutta Falls Trail 2

More Information:

Historical facts about the bridge

Trail details

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