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A bike ride across the Sundial Bridge in Redding, Ca
Marcel Siegle
A bike ride across the Sundial Bridge in Redding, Ca
Marcel Siegle

10 Amazing Waterfalls to See in Northern California

By Redding CVB | 03/28/2019 | Family Friendly , Great Outdoors, Lakes, State & National Parks, Things to See and Do, Trails, Waterfalls


An international outdoor destination ringed by the Southern Cascades to the east and the much smaller range of the Trinity Alps to the west, Redding is a hotspot for waterfall chasers. It’s an area with both short and long winding trails to seemingly secret falls and popular cascades you can see right from the road.

Each spring and early summer the streams and rivers come alive, churning with snowmelt as it descends from the mountains to lower elevations. With landmarks like Mt. Shasta, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and the many lakes and rivers of this region, it’s a bold statement to say that the waterfalls surrounding the city of Redding are the area’s best asset. But it’s true. Here are some of the best falls in the area and how to find them.

1. Kings Creek Falls


Kings Creek Falls in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Photo by @my_hoang (Instagram)

Located in Lassen Volcanic National Park, about an hour east of Redding, Kings Creek Falls is one of the parks most popular attractions. While the 2.3-mile round-trip hike to the 46-foot falls is relatively moderate, keep in mind that you are starting out at an elevation of more than 7,000 feet. You’ll start by slowly descending through a wildflower-filled meadow before reaching the thick woods filled with pine and fir. In all, you’ll descend about 500 feet before reaching the overlook. The is one waterfall that may actually be prettier in the summer when there’s a lower volume of water, allowing you to better see the rocky tiers that jet out from behind the falls.

2. Burney Falls


Just over an hour and 15 minutes from the heart of Redding, Burney Falls is located within the McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park. It’s one of the most impressive falls in the region, topping out at 129 feet. The water flows year-round, as its source is an underground springs. The volume of water tumbling over the fern-laden rock wall is impressive—1o0 million gallons per day. Upon seeing the falls, Teddy Roosevelt called it the “eighth wonder of the world.” It’s located only a short walk from the trailhead, which is convenient because you could really spend all day here. Like many waterfalls in this region, Burney can get quite popular in the summer so expect to see other viewers if you visit during peak season.

3. Hedge Creek Falls


Located up a short, 0.7-mile trail with about 200 feet of elevation gain, Hedge Creek Falls offers a chance to get off the beaten path, go for a pretty walk, and see an even lovelier cascade. The falls are about 30 feet high, and where it truly stands out is the path that extends behind the waterfall and under the protruding basalt rock over which the water pours. If you are looking for a quiet place to contemplate nature, you can’t beat Hedge Creek Falls, and it’s located less than an hour from Redding.

4. Little Backbone Creek Waterslide

Also about an hour from Redding, Little Backbone Creek Waterslide is an amazing series of falls that form a natural waterslide. Not only does the turquoise water contrast dramatically and beautifully with the red rock of the small cascades, but the short, 20-minute hike up from the Shasta Lake’s edge is a fun exploration of the area. The waterslide is located on the McCloud arm of Shasta Lake and is most commonly accessed by boaters coming from the lake.

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5. Burstarse Falls


If you are looking for more of a hike and crave the solitude of the surrounding woods, Burstarse Falls is where you should go. Located in the Castle Crags Wilderness about an hour from Redding, it’s about a quarter-mile off the Pacific Crest Trail. Many hikers stop at the lower falls by mistake, thinking they have reached the main event. But Burstarse Falls proper is a 50-foot waterfall with a few smaller cascades scattered below. The trail to reach it will get the blood moving–it’s five miles round trip along the PCT and features about 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

6. Root Creek Falls

Root Creek Falls
Photo courtesy of Instagram -- @lyss.berg

Another waterfall in the Castle Crags area about an hour from Redding, the Root Creek Falls also features a five-mile hike with about 700 feet of elevation gain. The trail is moderate, climbing gradually through dense forest before meeting up with Root Creek and running parallel to the water’s edge up to the base of the falls. Watch your footing when you arrive at the fall’s vista point–it can be quite precarious. But the view of the cataract tumbling down below the iconic Castle Dome is well worth the effort.

7. Lion Slide Falls

If playing in the water sounds like fun to you, then Lion Slide Falls is definitely worth a visit. About a 45-minute drive from Redding, the falls may only be about 20 feet high, but it has formed a deep pool at its base, creating the perfect spot to cool off in the summer. A downed tree splits the falls and serves as a makeshift staircase for those brave enough to climb it. Or you can take a short trail to the top of the falls. It’s an easy walk from the parking area, so even if you’re not jumping in, this is an easy trek for families.

8-10. McCloud Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls


Lower McCloud Falls


Middle McCloud Falls


Upper McCloud Falls

Featuring a series of three falls visible from the road, the McCloud River is located about an hour and a half from downtown Redding. The Lower Falls spill into a very popular swimming hole with a cliff jumping platform, so it’s common to see adrenaline junkies and their fans gathering here in warmer months. The Upper and Middle Falls, on the other hand, are most commonly and safely observed from lookouts above, but both feature lovely pools below the falls. A 5-minute walk will take you to both the Upper and Middle lookouts, or you can hop on an easy 4-mile trail that winds along the river to take you to all three.

Written by Jill Sanford for Matcha in partnership with Redding CVB.



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