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Kyle Sheppard
A family at Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark in Redding, CA.

Hiking to Kings Creek Falls in Lassen Volcanic National Park

By Redding CVB | 05/21/2019 | Family Friendly , Great Outdoors, State & National Parks, Things to See and Do, Trails, Waterfalls

Kings Creek Falls. Photo by Julie Boyd / @BoundToExplore

King’s Creek Falls is a 40-foot waterfall located in the middle of Lassen Volcanic National Park. The trail is moderate, which makes it a perfect adventure for the casual hiker, or a nice add on to the nearby Lassen Peak for more experienced hikers. Although it is only accessible during the summer and fall, it's one of the best hikes in the park.

NOTE: The best time to travel to Lassen Volcanic National Park is mid-June through October. The park is partially open as of May 20 but the highway through the park connecting the northern and southern entrances is being cleared from snow-pack. The trail to Kings Creek Falls is not open yet. See more updates on the park by clicking here.

Getting There

Round Trip Distance: 2.3 miles 

Elevation Gain: 700 feet

One of the things I love about staying in Redding is its proximity to many of the hiking trails in Lassen Volcanic National Park. From Downtown Redding, take Highway 44 West toward Lassen. Turn right on Highway 89 - Lassen Volcanic Scenic Byway which will take you into the park. Be sure to stop by the Loomis Ranger station to grab a map, and use the facilities, as there are none at the trailhead. The trailhead is easy to spot on the south side of the highway. There is limited parking, mostly in dirt turnouts along the road, so I recommend arriving early.

The Trail

Hike to Kings Creek Falls. Photo by Julie Boyd / @BoundToExplore

The trail gradually descends from the road, and meanders through a pine forest along the edge of King’s Creek Meadow. In the summer, you might be treated to wildflowers blooming if you time your visit right. Soon, you will arrive at a split, however the sign indicating that the path to the right is one way, makes it easy to navigate taking the left route (don’t worry, you will come back up the other way). 

After a small, short uphill, you will be treated to spectacular views in a clearing that rests on top of the creek, below you can hear the rushing water, an indicator that the falls are near.

Hike to Kings Creek Falls. Photo by Julie Boyd / @BoundToExplore

From here, the real descent begins. The trail gradually switchbacks down along an exposed hillside, and then dives back into the woods. Continue for just a bit further, and you will come upon the viewing platform for the falls.

After you have absorbed the cool air and taken a few photos, head back along the Upper Cascades Trail. This is marked as steep and narrow, but Brian and I thought it couldn’t be worse than going back up the exposed switchbacks in the afternoon heat. It also looked more shaded, and we were excited to see a different part of the trail. Our intuition was correct because the way back was pretty easy for us. There was some shade, but also since the trail follows the cascades above the falls, it was much cooler in temperature. There was a short section of stone steps along the creek, but they were pretty manageable. Just take it slow, and take breaks if you need to catch your breath. 

Kings Creek Falls. Photo by Julie Boyd / @BoundToExplore

Just past the top of the steps, you will reunite with the split in the trail from earlier, and after a short walk, you will be back to the road. If you plan on having a snack or relaxing after your hike, I recommend heading up to the King’s Creek Picnic Area, which has a parking lot and picnic tables. This way you can free up parking space for those wanting to hike down to the falls.

Hike to Kings Creek Falls.Photo by Julie Boyd / @BoundToExplore

Hike to Kings Creek Falls.Photo by Julie Boyd / @BoundToExplore

Final Thoughts

King’s Creek Falls is a great, moderate hike in Lassen Volcanic National Park. It is also part of a larger loop trail to Bench and Stifford Lakes, so if you want to extend your adventure a few more miles, that is a great option as well. Thanks for following along with us on our adventure!

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About the Author

This article was written by Julie Boyd of Bound To Explore. Her and husband Brian Callender are a married couple with full-time jobs and a passion for travel. They spend most of their free time exploring their native state of California, while dreaming about and planning their next adventures abroad.

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