Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,578.00 ft (480.97 m)
Trail type
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
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Nestled deep, and rather high, in the mountains and hills above Whiskeytown Lake is another of the four wonderful waterfalls located in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. These falls offer a great area to relax in the shade and get out of the summer heat or enjoy the huge flow from winter rains and snowmelt runoff. It is hidden in a little box canyon area that is surrounded by moss-covered boulders, pine trees, and ferns, all of which makes for a beautiful scene. At nearly 140-feet-tall, Boulder Creek Falls is a three-tiered cascade, and it is one of the tallest falls in the area. It is the second tallest falls in the park, rivaled only by Whiskeytown Falls even further up into the mountains above the park.

This adventure profiles the winter approach, which is a rather challenging hike. A steep, winding logging road that climbs 1,600 feet in 1.5 miles is accessible by vehicle from spring through fall, though four-wheel drive is recommended. The road leads to a close trailhead, and you then park and enjoy a nice backwoods walk to the falls another mile away. During the winter season, however, this road is gated and locked, so visitors must hike the 1.5-mile climb just to get to the trailhead. This climb on the gravel road, while uneventful, is intense. The steep ascent doesn't let up until you reach the peak of the mountain. 

The wonderful falls you reach are well worth the effort, however, and you'll find a great little viewing bench where you can take a rest and enjoy lunch. The trail you use to get to the falls is a wide dirt road that was the main hauling road for a selective logging operation undertaken in the 1950s. As you walk through the area you will approach openings and wide swaths of Douglas fir and ponderosa pine that are slowly making a comeback from this operation. After you reach the official trailhead you will continue on this road for approximately 1 mile. Coming down the hill you will hear the creek, and immediately after crossing the creek you will be at the falls use trail. It is on the right side and there is a sign, though keep your eyes open because it is easily missed! Follow this little rocky trail along the creek until you reach the falls. You may encounter deer or bear during the normal warm seasons, while the winter season offers a rather quiet and relaxing hike. Even with the long climb up, this waterfall should definitely be on your list during the winter and early spring, and the amount of water cascading down is unrivaled during the hot season!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass


Very seldom seen. Easy access during summer. Good escape for the summer heat.


Very intense hike during the off season. Road may not be good for small cars.

Trailhead Elevation

1,414.00 ft (430.99 m)


Old-growth forest

Suitable for



Nearby Adventures

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
Whiskeytown Recreational Area
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area


Great little hike. Road was pretty rough so we elected to start down at the gate which we preferred for the distance anyways.
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