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McCloud River Three Falls Hike

Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, California

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McCloud River Three Falls Hike

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  • McCloud River Lower Falls.- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • - McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • Hiking along the Western Loop, just south of Lower Falls.- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • Banks of the McCloud River skattered with umbrella plant (Darmera peltata).- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • Banks of the McCloud River skattered with umbrella plant (Darmera peltata).- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • - McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii).- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • - McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • Pretty face (Triteleia ixioides).- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify by it providing feedback).- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • McCloud River Middle Falls.- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • McCloud River Middle Falls.- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • Looking down on the McCloud River from Middle Falls.- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), also referred to as antelope-brush.- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • McCloud River Upper Falls.- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • McCloud River Upper Falls.- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
  • South Falls Day Use Area.- McCloud River Three Falls Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Three Waterfalls. Scenic River. Old-growth ponderosa pine forest.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
260.00 ft (79.25 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.30 mi (8.53 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
3,240.00 ft (987.55 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Only 6 miles outside of the town of McCloud, the McCloud River Three Falls Trail is a great hike through a mountainous, high desert forest with a wonderful variety of flora, not to mention the three distinctive waterfalls.

The Wintu Native Americans called the Lower Falls Nurum-wit-ti-dekki, which roughly translates to "falls where the salmon turn back."  The McCloud River was such a popular place for fishing that in 1874 a traveler apparently reported “a party of six Indians on McCloud’s Fork, speared over 500 salmon in one night!”

Today however, in mid-summer the 12-foot tall Lower Falls and it’s downstream pool is more popular with swimmers.  Rock formations above the pool make for a modest but fun cliff jumping spot.  Head up the trail beyond the crowds at the Lower Falls to discover the far more impressive and scenic Middle and Upper Falls.  While on the trail enjoy the rich diversity of flora including redwoods, Douglas fir, western hemlock, Sitka alder, Pacific dogwood, orange honeysuckle, bracken fern, and thimbleberry.  In early summer other plants bloom, including red columbine, little yellow pretty face, and umbrella plant along the river’s banks.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(28 within a 30 mile radius)

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