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A bike ride across the Sundial Bridge in Redding, Ca
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Kayaking and paddleboarding at Shasta Lake
Middle McCloud Falls
Kyle Sheppard
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5 Waterfalls in a Day: Redding's Waterfall Loop

By Dan Shepler | 05/11/2018 Great Outdoors, Trails, Waterfalls

Redding boasts some of the most premier outdoor opportunities of any city that I have ever been to. There is so much to do and see in every direction. One of my favorite day trips in the area is a waterfall tour visiting Potem Falls, the three McCloud River Falls (Middle pictured above) and Hedge Creek Falls. It makes for a fun day with friends or family and takes you through some of the most iconic landscapes and vistas in UpState California and lets you return back to your Redding hotel to rest up for another day of adventure.

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Bring a camera to snap a few shots, but before heading to the next spot take a few minutes to enjoy the beauty before you. Look at the intricacies of each of the falls, and the landscape around it. Listen to the sounds of the water, and the birds singing. The smells of Northern California coniferous forests surrounding you. People travel all over the world hoping to encounter something as beautiful as what you will see at every stop on this incredible trip. 

Potem Falls

Potem Falls

The first stop on your trip is Potem Falls, about an hour drive. The waterfall lies in a deep canyon and falls 45 feet into a pool at the base below. Enjoy swimming in the pool at the base during the summer months, and don’t forget to check out the rope swing!

Directions: Head out on CA Highway 299-E toward Burney, then take a left on Fenders Ferry Rd. Drive down Fenders Ferry Rd to reach the Potem Falls trailhead. 

McCloud River Falls

From Potem, you continue to the three McCloud River Falls. There are several access points, and if someone wanted to opt out of the hike they could drive to each one. I highly recommend doing the hiking loop as it will take you along the McCloud River and through the forest to each of the three falls - Lower Falls, Middle Falls, and Upper Falls - each unique. It is only about a 1-mile hike each way from the Lower Falls to Upper Falls, and is really easy.

Directions: Continue on CA-299 through Burney where you can stop for gas, food or load up your cooler at the grocery store for a waterfall adventure picnic. and head to the three McCloud River Falls – Lower, Middle and Upper. Just north of Burney, connect with CA-89 north for about 40 miles. You will see signs for Fowlers and Lower Falls campground in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. 



(Lower McCloud River Falls in early April)


(Middle McCloud River Falls from the lookout point in early April)


(Upper McCloud River Falls in early April)

Hedge Creek Falls

After you leave the McCloud River Falls, head west through McCloud and Mount Shasta to Interstate 5 South to Hedge Creek Falls (22 miles, 27-minute drive). Hedge Creek Falls is about a 5-minute easy hike to the falls that sits in a canyon and offers a small cave behind the waterfall, allowing you to walk behind the cascading water for a different perspective.

Directions: Take I-5 South, exit 732 to Dunsmuir Ave/Mott Rd and take an immediate right and park to the right. Safely cross the street on foot and you arrive at the trailhead. 


Before heading home, you are probably going to be really hungry after a full day of adventuring. There is an awesome gem in the town of McCloud called Siskiyou Brew Works, which specializes in pizzas and beer. The atmosphere mixed with the local vibe makes you feel welcome. Indoor and outdoor seating is available so if the weather is nice you can take advantage while you eat. The people are very friendly and the beer is absolutely delicious. Be sure to look them up to make sure they are open before stopping. Once you’ve had your fill, getting back to Redding is a breeze. Continue on HWY 89 till it you can merge on to Interstate-5, and coast all the way back. Crank the tunes, enjoy the spectacular views, and reflect on the perfect day you just experienced in UpState California.

Waterfall Loop

Driving Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/1ro4uGdwTubxQETY8

Total Driving Distance: 197 miles

Total Drive Time: 4 hours, 9 minutes

Editor's Note: All waterfalls were photographed in early April and there is no more snow around the waterfalls. In the summer, the McCloud River Falls and Potem Falls are very popular swimming holes.

About the Author/photographer: Dan Shepler is a local creative with a passion for the outdoors and the area. His work has taken him all over the world to see some incredible things through the eye of a lens. When not working, you can find him on the water somewhere with a fly rod in hand. To learn more about Dan or to see some of his work, visit Danielshepler.com. All photos belong to Dan Shepler in partnership with Visit Redding.

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