Blooming wildflowers and gushing waterfalls can only mean one thing: spring on North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve! The mesa comes alive in spring when its hillsides explode in color and its seasonal waterfalls are in great form. The largest of them all is 165-foot Phantom Falls, accessed by an easy 4.2-mile (round-trip) hike.

Your first stop is Ravine Falls, a good spot for a picnic. A half-mile farther along is the star attraction, Phantom Falls. To reach the falls, follow the stream to the left of the parking lot. You’ll soon reach a shaded oak grove; take the fork in the trail to the right and head northeast. You’ll traverse vernal pools and lava outcroppings while surrounded by fields of lupine, buttercups, clover, and poppies. Wildflowers are best through March – April

Passes: A CDFW Lands Pass must be carried by each visitor who is 16 years of age or older, however, visitors who are carrying a valid California hunting or fishing license in their name are exempt from this requirement. Lands passes may be purchased online, by phone at (800) 565-1458, or in-person at locations wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold. Lands passes cannot be substituted for Wildlife Area Hunting Passes, which are required for adult hunters on Type-A and Type-B wildlife areas.

Getting There: Official access is through a small parking lot on the west side of Cherokee Road.