Upper Falls makes the final upstream fall comprising McCloud Falls, a trio of waterfalls located on a gorgeous stretch of the Upper McCloud River. Known best as an overlook/picnic area along the McCloud River Three Falls Hike, Upper Falls offers a quieter, more sheltered swimming hole compared to it’s waterfall counterparts downstream at Middle and Lower Falls.
While the waterfall itself isn’t all that impressive in terms of height, the falls and pool below sits within a deep basalt rimmed bowl. Above Upper Falls, McCloud River is channeled into a narrow gorge constricting the water flow and sending it gushing out of the short 15-foot fall. Given it’s depth in the bowl, the swimming hole is in the shade for part of the day, and with the chilly spring-fed water of the McCloud River, Upper Falls is best enjoyed during the hottest summer days.
From the picnic area above the falls, take the paved trail on the east side of the river downstream, keeping a watch for a footpath to the left leading down to the river. Upper Falls can also be accessed by parking at the Lower Falls Trailhead and venturing out on the Three Falls Hike. Fowler’s Campground, located near Lower Falls is also nearby. Please make sure to practice Leave No Trace principles when enjoying swimming holes and lend a helping hand by cleaning up an trash you see when visiting the McCloud River area.