If you're looking for a nature-filled adventure in Northern California, chasing waterfalls should be at the top of your list. Northern California is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, with cascading falls that are both breathtaking and awe-inspiring. From the towering Burney Falls to the hidden gems in Shasta County, the waterfalls in Northern California are a must-see for any nature lover.
With so many waterfalls to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which ones to visit. But fear not, we've got you covered. In this article, we'll take a look at the best waterfalls in Northern California that you won't want to miss. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a casual nature enthusiast, these waterfalls offer something for everyone. So pack your hiking shoes, grab your camera, and get ready to explore the beauty of Northern California's waterfalls.
Best Waterfalls in Northern California: A Guide to the Most Beautiful Natural Wonders
The Beauty of Burney Falls
If you're looking for a breathtaking waterfall in Northern California, Burney Falls should be at the top of your list. This stunning waterfall, located in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, is a must-see for anyone who loves nature and the great outdoors.
Visiting McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is a beautiful park that offers visitors a chance to explore the great outdoors. The park is open year-round, but the best time to visit is in the summer or spring when the weather is warm and the waterfall is at its most beautiful.
When you visit the park, be sure to take some time to explore the many hiking trails that wind through the forest. The park has trails for hikers of all skill levels, so whether you're a seasoned hiker or a beginner, you'll be able to find a trail that's perfect for you.
Exploring the Burney Falls Loop Trail
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Burney Falls is by hiking the Burney Falls Loop Trail. This trail is a 1.3-mile loop that takes you right to the base of the waterfall. Along the way, you'll be able to take in the stunning views of the surrounding forest and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, so even if you're not an experienced hiker, you'll be able to enjoy this beautiful hike. Along the way, you'll also be able to see some of the park's other attractions, including the Burney Creek Falls and the Burney Creek Bridge.
Overall, visiting Burney Falls and McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is a must-do for anyone who loves nature and the great outdoors. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a beginner, you'll be able to find something to enjoy in this beautiful park.
McCloud Falls: A Triple Delight
If you are looking for a triple treat in Northern California, McCloud Falls is the perfect destination. This waterfall is a series of three falls located on the McCloud River, each with its own charm and beauty. In this section, we will take a closer look at each of the three falls and what makes them so special.
Hiking to Upper McCloud Falls
The Upper McCloud Falls is the highest of the three falls, with a drop of 25 feet. To reach the Upper Falls, you can take a short, easy hike from the parking lot. The trail is well-maintained and offers stunning views of the river and surrounding forest. The hike is approximately 3.5 miles round trip and takes about 1.5 hours to complete. Along the way, you will pass by several smaller falls and cascades, making the hike even more enjoyable.
Middle McCloud Falls and Accessibility
The Middle McCloud Falls is the second waterfall in the series and is the most accessible of the three. There is a viewing platform located just a short walk from the parking lot, making it easy for anyone to enjoy the beauty of the falls. The Middle Falls is a 50-foot cascade that drops into a deep pool, making it a popular spot for swimming and picnicking. There are also several picnic tables and restrooms nearby, making it a great place to spend the day with family and friends.
The Charm of Lower McCloud Falls
The Lower McCloud Falls is the final waterfall in the series and is perhaps the most charming of the three. The Lower Falls is a 15-foot cascade that drops into a deep pool, surrounded by lush greenery and rocky outcroppings. To reach the Lower Falls, you can take a short, easy hike from the parking lot. The trail is well-maintained and offers stunning views of the river and surrounding forest. The hike is approximately 1 mile round trip and takes about 30 minutes to complete.
In summary, McCloud Falls is a triple delight that offers something for everyone. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or just looking for a beautiful place to relax and enjoy nature, McCloud Falls is the perfect destination. So why not plan your visit today and experience the beauty of Northern California for yourself?
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
If you're looking for an outdoor adventure that includes breathtaking waterfalls, then Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is the perfect destination for you. Located in Northern California, this park boasts four major waterfalls, including the majestic Whiskeytown Falls, which is the park's largest waterfall.
The Majesty of Whiskeytown Falls
Whiskeytown Falls is a must-see attraction in the park. The waterfall cascades down a 220-foot drop, creating a stunning display of nature's beauty. To get to the falls, you'll need to hike the Whiskeytown Falls Trail, which is a 2.7-mile round trip hike that takes about 2-3 hours to complete. The trail is relatively strenuous, but the reward at the end is worth it.
Once you reach the falls, take a moment to soak in the beauty of the waterfall and the surrounding area. You can even take a dip in the pool at the base of the falls, but be warned that the water can be chilly.
Outdoor Activities Around Whiskeytown
In addition to the waterfalls, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area offers a variety of outdoor activities. The park's namesake, Whiskeytown Lake, is a popular spot for swimming, kayaking, and fishing. The lake is surrounded by beautiful scenery and is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
If you're looking for a more strenuous activity, there are plenty of hiking trails in the park that offer stunning views of the waterfalls and the surrounding landscape. The James K. Carr Trail is a popular trail that takes you to the top of Whiskeytown Falls, offering a unique perspective of the waterfall.
Overall, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is a great destination for anyone who loves the outdoors and wants to experience the beauty of Northern California's waterfalls. Whether you're hiking to the top of Whiskeytown Falls or kayaking on Whiskeytown Lake, this park has something for everyone.
Adventures in Lassen Volcanic National Park
If you're a fan of hiking and waterfalls, Lassen Volcanic National Park is a must-visit destination. The park is home to several stunning waterfalls, including Kings Creek Falls and Mill Creek Falls. Here are some adventures you can have in the park.
Kings Creek Falls: A Lassen Highlight
Kings Creek Falls is one of the park's most popular trails, and for good reason. The 2.8-mile round trip hike takes you through Lower Kings Creek Meadow to the upper cascades of the stunning Kings Creek Falls. You'll get great views of the falls on your way in, but wait until your way out- the views are even better!
The trail is rated as moderate, with some uphill sections. But the payoff is worth it. The falls are 40 feet high and surrounded by beautiful forest. There are also several viewing platforms along the trail, so you can stop and take in the scenery.
Exploring Mill Creek Falls
Another great waterfall in Lassen Volcanic National Park is Mill Creek Falls. This 3.8-mile round trip hike takes you through beautiful forest and across a bridge over Mill Creek. The waterfall itself is 75 feet tall and surrounded by rocks and trees.
The trail to Mill Creek Falls is rated as moderate, with some uphill sections. But the scenery along the way is worth it. You'll pass through lush forest and see several other smaller waterfalls along the way.
In conclusion, Lassen Volcanic National Park is a great destination for waterfall lovers and hikers. Kings Creek Falls and Mill Creek Falls are just two of the many beautiful waterfalls in the park. So pack your hiking shoes and get ready for a scenic adventure!
Alamere Falls: Where Water Meets Ocean
If you're looking for a unique waterfall experience, Alamere Falls is a must-visit destination in Northern California. Located in the Point Reyes National Seashore, Alamere Falls is a rare “tidefall,” a waterfall that flows directly into the Pacific Ocean.
To access the falls, you'll need to embark on a scenic hike through the Phillip Burton Wilderness. The trailhead is located at the Palomarin parking lot, where you'll begin a 7.5-mile round trip hike. The hike can be challenging, but the reward is well worth it.
Once you reach the falls, you'll be greeted by a stunning 40-foot cascade that drops onto the sandy Wildcat Beach. During low tide, you can even walk up to the falls and feel the cool mist on your skin. However, be mindful of the tide schedule, as the falls can be inaccessible during high tide.
Alamere Falls is a popular destination, so be prepared to encounter other hikers on the trail. It's important to practice Leave No Trace principles and respect the natural environment.
Overall, Alamere Falls is a unique and unforgettable waterfall experience that you won't want to miss.
Yosemite's Iconic Waterfalls
If you're looking for stunning waterfalls in Northern California, look no further than Yosemite National Park. This park boasts some of the most iconic waterfalls in the world, including Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall.
The Grandeur of Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls is a must-see attraction in Yosemite National Park. With a total height of 2,425 feet, it is one of the tallest waterfalls in North America. The falls are made up of three sections: Upper Yosemite Falls, the Middle Cascades, and Lower Yosemite Falls.
The Upper Yosemite Falls is the most impressive section of the falls, with a drop of 1,430 feet. You can hike to both the base and top of the Upper Yosemite Falls for a closer look. The Middle Cascades is a series of smaller falls that flow into the Lower Yosemite Falls, which is easily accessible from the Yosemite Valley floor.
Bridalveil Fall's Misty Veil
Another iconic waterfall in Yosemite National Park is Bridalveil Fall. This waterfall is easily recognizable by its misty veil that blows in the wind. With a height of 620 feet, Bridalveil Fall is a popular spot for photographers.
You can view Bridalveil Fall from the Yosemite Valley floor or take a short hike to get a closer look. The trail to Bridalveil Fall is an easy half-mile round trip and offers stunning views of the waterfall and surrounding valley.
No trip to Yosemite National Park is complete without a visit to these iconic waterfalls. Be sure to stop at Tunnel View, a viewpoint that offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Yosemite Valley and its waterfalls, including Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall.
Hidden Gems: Secluded Waterfalls of Northern California
When it comes to waterfalls in Northern California, there are some that are well-known and heavily trafficked, and then there are those hidden gems that offer a more secluded experience. If you're looking to discover the serenity of nature and escape the crowds, then you won't want to miss these two hidden waterfalls.
Discovering the Serenity of Faery Falls
Located near the town of Montgomery Creek, Faery Falls offers a peaceful and secluded experience that is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The trail to the falls is a moderate 2.5-mile hike that takes you through a beautiful forested area, and the waterfall itself is a stunning 40-foot drop that cascades into a serene pool below.
One thing to keep in mind when visiting Faery Falls is that the trailhead is located on private property, so it's important to be respectful and follow the rules. Additionally, the trail can be a bit steep in some areas, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water.
The Secret Beauty of Mossbrae Falls
Nestled in the town of Dunsmuir, Mossbrae Falls is a hidden gem that is often overlooked by tourists. The waterfall is fed by springs that flow down the moss-covered cliffs, creating a stunning and unique sight that is truly breathtaking.
One thing to note about Mossbrae Falls is that it can be a bit tricky to find. The trailhead is located near the train tracks, and while it's technically considered trespassing to walk along the tracks, many visitors do so in order to reach the falls. If you do decide to take this route, be sure to use caution and keep an eye out for passing trains.
Alternatively, you can take the Hedge Creek Falls Trail, which offers a more legal and less risky route to Mossbrae Falls. This trail is a bit longer, but it's still a relatively easy hike that takes you through a beautiful forested area before arriving at the falls.
Overall, if you're looking to experience the beauty of Northern California's waterfalls without the crowds, then be sure to add Faery Falls and Mossbrae Falls to your list. These hidden gems are truly worth the effort it takes to find them, and they offer a peaceful and serene experience that is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Waterfalls and Recreation in the Shasta-Cascade
If you're looking for a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Shasta-Cascade region in Northern California is the perfect destination for you. The region boasts of several stunning waterfalls that are sure to take your breath away. Here are two of the best waterfalls in the region that you should definitely check out:
Potem Falls: A Refreshing Escape
Located in the Mount Shasta region, Potem Falls is a hidden gem that is perfect for a day trip with your family or friends. The waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery and is a great spot for swimming, picnicking, and hiking. The waterfall cascades down a 70-foot cliff and flows into a deep pool that is perfect for swimming. The water is crystal clear and is sure to refresh you on a hot summer day.
Exploring the Waters Around Shasta Lake
Shasta Lake is the largest man-made reservoir in California and is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and water sports. The Pit River Arm of the lake is home to several waterfalls that are worth exploring. One of the most popular waterfalls in the area is the Feather Falls, which cascades down a 410-foot cliff and is surrounded by lush greenery. The waterfall is accessible via a moderate hiking trail that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Whether you're looking for a relaxing day trip or an adventure-filled weekend, the Shasta-Cascade region has something for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your friends, and head out to explore the stunning waterfalls and natural wonders of Northern California.
Scenic Waterfall Loops and Trails
If you're looking for a scenic and refreshing hike, Northern California has plenty of waterfall loops and trails to offer. Here are two options to add to your bucket list:
The Pacific Crest Trail's Waterfall Wonders
The Pacific Crest Trail is one of the most iconic hiking trails in the country, stretching over 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada. While you may not have time to hike the entire trail, you can still experience some of its beauty by exploring the waterfall wonders along the way.
One of the highlights of the trail is the McCloud River Falls, a series of three waterfalls that cascade down the McCloud River. The hike to the falls is a moderate 3.5-mile round trip, and the trail offers stunning views of the river and surrounding forest. Another must-see waterfall on the trail is the 129-foot Burney Falls, which President Theodore Roosevelt once called the “eighth wonder of the world.” The hike to Burney Falls is an easy 1.3-mile round trip, and the falls are accessible year-round.
Waterfall Loop Hikes to Add to Your Bucket List
If you're looking for a shorter hike that still offers plenty of scenic beauty, there are several waterfall loop hikes in Northern California that are worth adding to your bucket list.
One such hike is the Feather Falls Loop Trail, located in the Plumas National Forest. This 8.2-mile loop takes you past the stunning 410-foot Feather Falls, which is the sixth highest waterfall in the country. The trail also offers views of the surrounding forest and the Middle Fork Feather River.
Another option is the McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park Loop Trail, which takes you past the impressive 129-foot Burney Falls and offers views of the surrounding volcanic rock formations. The loop is just over a mile long and is accessible year-round.
No matter which waterfall loop or trail you choose, be sure to bring plenty of water, wear comfortable hiking shoes, and follow Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the natural beauty of these scenic areas.
Seasonal Waterfall Excursions
Best Times to Visit for Optimal Flow
Northern California is home to some of the most stunning waterfalls in the world, but the best time to visit these natural wonders can vary depending on the season. If you're looking for the optimal flow, it's best to plan your visit during the spring or early summer months. This is when the snowpack begins to melt and the waterfalls are at their most intense.
During the summer months, the water levels can decrease significantly, making the waterfalls less impressive. However, this can also be a great time to visit if you're looking for a more relaxed and peaceful experience. The trails are typically less crowded, and you can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature without the hustle and bustle of peak season.
Snowpack and Waterfall Intensity
The intensity of the waterfalls in Northern California is heavily influenced by the snowpack. A heavy snowpack in the winter months can lead to a more intense waterfall season in the spring and early summer. However, a light snowpack can result in less impressive waterfalls.
It's important to keep in mind that the snowpack can also impact the accessibility of the trails. Some trails may be closed due to snow or ice, so it's always a good idea to check with the park rangers before heading out on your waterfall excursion.
Overall, the best time to plan your waterfall excursion in Northern California is during the spring or early summer months. This is when the snowpack begins to melt, and the waterfalls are at their most impressive. However, if you're looking for a more relaxed and peaceful experience, the summer months can also be a great time to visit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the tallest waterfall in Northern California?
The tallest waterfall in Northern California is Yosemite Falls, which drops a total of 2,425 feet. It is located in Yosemite National Park and is a popular destination for hikers and tourists alike.
How difficult is the hike to Burney Falls?
The hike to Burney Falls is relatively easy and suitable for all ages and skill levels. The trail is well-maintained and only 1.3 miles round trip. The waterfall is located in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park and is a must-see attraction in Northern California.
Can you recommend a scenic waterfall loop in Northern California?
The Waterfall Loop in Northern California is a popular hiking trail that takes you to 11 different waterfalls in the area. Some of the most notable waterfalls on the trail include Burney Falls, McCloud Falls, and Hedge Creek Falls. The loop is approximately 4.5 hours of driving time and is a great way to see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Northern California.
Are there any easily accessible waterfalls near Mt. Shasta?
Yes, there are several easily accessible waterfalls near Mt. Shasta. Some of the most popular waterfalls in the area include McCloud Falls, Hedge Creek Falls, and Faery Falls. Each of these waterfalls is within a short driving distance from Mt. Shasta and is a great way to spend a day exploring the natural beauty of the area.
What is the best season to visit Mossbrae Falls?
The best season to visit Mossbrae Falls is in the spring when the waterfall is at its peak flow. However, it is important to note that the trail to the falls is currently closed due to safety concerns. Visitors should check with local authorities before attempting to visit the falls.
Is Hedge Creek Falls suitable for families with children?
Yes, Hedge Creek Falls is a great destination for families with children. The trail to the falls is short and well-maintained, and the waterfall itself is a beautiful sight to see. There is also a picnic area located near the falls, making it a great spot for a family outing.