Beautiful waterfall and swimming hole 4 hours north of San Francisco. This is a great spot for photography or picnicking. The Waterfall is 50 feet high and 80 feet across.

Just 4 hours north of San Francisco, McCloud Falls offers a quick hike and swimming hole for those looking for something less crowded than Burney Falls. McCloud Falls has 3 tiers, but the middle section offers the best views by far.

To get here, park at the Fowlers Campground which is roughly 5 miles east of the town of McCloud. Follow signs for the Lower McCloud Falls picnic area, veering right on the road.

From the parking lot, it's an easy 1.5 miles on a paved trail. There will be a sign along the trail when you're about .5 miles away from the overlook. Once there, you can choose to admire it from afar, or climb down the hill to get up close and personal. Many choose to take a swim or jump into the chilly water, while others eat their packed lunch on the rocks while taking in the falls. Once you're done, continue along the trail towards Upper Falls, or head back out the way you came to get back to the parking lot.

Pick up food nearby at Mountain Star Cafe in McCloud. They'll wrap up sandwiches or wraps for your picnic. 

Pack List

  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Lunch or snacks
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • ND filters
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RT Distance 1.5 Miles
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Great falls!

We stopped here quickly on the last day of our week long northern California road trip last June. Falls had a really good flow and we had the place all to ourselves at about 8 am on a Friday morning.

Great place for a picnic

My girlfriend and I made quick stop here on our drive to Crater Lake. The parking lot is easy to find and the trail is pretty quick down to the swimming pool. Even on a crowded summer day the area is large enough to find a rock to perch on top of and dry off in the sun after swimming in the frigid water.

Leaves bigger than your head!

This is a great secluded campground, especially beautiful in the fall where the leaves are red and golden. Not crowded in the least bit, but better visit quick, that's certain to change quickly.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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