McCloud Falls

McCloud, California 96057

McCloud Falls

McCloud Falls Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"A lovely trail through woodland and canyon links three distinctive falls on the McCloud River."

More McCloud Falls Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Dog Hikes Northern California (Falcon Guides)
Linda B. Mullally and David S. Mullally
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"This short, easy scenic hike on mostly level terrain, except for a couple of switchbacks and a steep stretch of thirty- two steps to Upper Falls, is a nicely developed little gem for hikers and their dogs. The trail passes three waterfalls on the McCloud River and has plenty of trees for shade to keep Pooch cool even on a summer day. There are several interpretive signs along the first mile of the trail that describe the history of Fowl Camp and the McCloud River. Although this hike describes 2.5 miles of trail to the Upper Falls Picnic Area, there are 7.0 miles of trail along the McCloud River for hikers and dogs with time and ambition." Read more
100 Classic Hikes in Northern California (The Mountaineers Books)
John R. Soares & Marc J. Soares
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"Top off your internal batteries with McCloud River water power. Get in tune with a wild river that sports back-to-back-to-back fantastic waterfalls. You’ll also enjoy the scenic stroll’s secluded forests." Read more
Hiking Northern California (Falcon Guides)
Bubba Suess
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"This beautiful hike travels along the McCloud River, one of Northern California’s most beautiful, as it passes through a scenic volcanic canyon. The trip is highlighted by the river’s three waterfalls, each different from the others." Read more
Best Easy Day Hikes: Redding, California (Falcon Guides)
Montana Hodges
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"In less than 2 miles, three glorious waterfalls dot this easy hike near McCloud. Each cascade has a unique flavor— one a stout flow into a popular swimming hole, another a wide-mouth guzzle into a frothy pool, and the last a roaring rapid piercing a narrow gorge. En route to the falls, soak up the recreational delights, including swimming, fishing, and picnicking." Read more
Waterfall Lover's Guide: Northern California (The Mountaineers Books)
Matt & Krissi Danielsson
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"McCloud is what you may call a purebred logging town; the McCloud River Lumber Company built the whole town in 1897 and owned pretty much all of it until 1963 when they sold it to another company. As it turned out, the U.S. lumber industry took a turn for the worse, and the business-owned town concept more or less collapsed. Fortunately, the town pulled itself together and has now re-emerged as a vacation spot for lovers of the outdoors. This is good news; previously, you had to know where to look to find the three McCloud falls, but now the Forest Service has created well-marked lookout points and nice walking trails to the falls. McCloud is located at the south base of Mount Shasta. This trail guide contains descriptions of the following trails: Lower McCloud Falls, Middle McCloud Falls, Upper McCloud Falls, Lower Squaw Valley Creek Falls, and Upper Squaw Valley Creek Falls." Read more
Best Hikes With Dogs: San Francisco Bay Area and Beyond (The Mountaineers Books)
Jason Fator
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"To tune in to a wild river boasting a trio of fantastic waterfalls on a hike that’s a piece of cake seems too good to be true" Read more
Best Hikes with Dogs: Bay Area & Beyond (The Mountaineers Books)
Thom Gabrukiewicz
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"To tune in to a wild river boasting three fantastic waterfalls on a hike that’s a piece of cake seems too good to be true, but that’s what you get with this trek. This trio of exhilarating falls are all granite-ringed, and that’s where the similarities end. The Lower Falls are by far the tamest. The Middle Falls radiate a spiritual feel; a soul can easily bring back the days when the Wintu Indians must have found deep peace on one of the big rocks at the scene. The Upper Falls aren’t as photogenic as the Middle Falls, but are perhaps the most unique looking, and certainly carry the most water force." Read more
Hiking California's Mount Shasta Region (Falcon Guides)
Bubba Suess
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"The McCloud River’s trio of waterfalls are among the most spectacular landmarks in the Mount Shasta area. They are certainly the finest collection of waterfalls around the mountain. The section of the McCloud River Trail that connects the Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls is one the most popular in the region, with good reason. Traveling through a beautiful canyon rife with volcanic features, the easy, level trail links the three waterfalls with minimal elevation gain. With opportunities to get exhilaratingly close to the large cataracts, this trail has major payoff for very little effort." Read more

McCloud Falls Reviews

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We really enjoyed this trip but were fortunate to know the area as an outsider may have difficulty navigating. The trail was broken until the bottom of the middle falls but then it was challenging to see the trail that switchbacked to the top of the overlook at Middle Falls. From there the trail was hard to find. Also, folks should be aware that there are some steep areas and can be dangerous. I would rate this as a "moderate" in difficulty. There is limited cell phone service in the area (AT&T). If you are not an experienced 4X4 operator, best to park near Hwy 89 and hike in. This will add quite a bit to the adventure.
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This trail actually extends about 7 miles along the McCloud River with breathtaking views. There are several spots to stop along the river for fishing or a picnic, but most of the trail is above the river allowing spactacular vies. The trail is in very good condition with little elevation gain/loss. You can do a shuttle by leaving one car at the lower falls and starting at Cattle Camp near the swimming hole.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
4-5 hours
Additional Use
US Forest Service, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, McCloud Ranger Station, PO Box 1620, McCloud, CA 96057; (530) 9642184;
Local Contacts
USGS Lake McCloud CA
Local Maps