Situated in the lee of Mount Shasta’s southeast facing slopes flows the upper reach of the McCloud River, and a particularly picturesque section of three waterfalls known as McCloud Falls. The furthest downstream of the falls, called Lower Falls, offers an easily accessible and when hot out, immensely popular, stretch of river idyllic for swimming.
Lower Falls swimming hole area is concentrated around the falls itself, which drops approximately 15 feet into a pool below. The pool and surrounding bedrock is popular for jumping with mild heights ranging between 10 and 20 feet. A wooden jumping platform has been constructed on the accessible edge of the pool, serving as a directional guide to the recommended jumping location. Upstream from the falls is a section of calm water with multiple smaller pools great for families or those looking to relax on a warm summer day.
Lower Falls sees quite a bit of traffic as it is the most accessible of Lower, Middle and Upper Falls, it serves as the trailhead for the McCloud River Three Falls hike, it offers a day use picnic area and is adjacent to Fowler's Campground. Despite the regular summertime crowds, the area is beautiful and worth a visit and dip when in the area. Please make sure to practice Leave No Trace principles and lend a helping hand by cleaning up any trash you see when visiting the McCloud River area.
Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.