Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
?
ADA accessible
No
Guided tours
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Fossil Falls is a dry waterfall containing smoothed basaltic stone formations in California's volcanic Coso Range. It is easily accessible after a short hike through exposed terrain.

Formed by a combination of volcanic and glacial activity, the falls are located in river bed that has dried as a result of water diversion from the Owens Lake Basin to the City of Los Angeles. Past lava flows from the nearby Red Hill, now a red-hued cinder cone located about a mile north of the dry falls, combined with water flow created by glacier melt in the Sierra resulted in smooth basalt stone lining these 40-foot falls. Today the formations contain stone arches and potholes created by the long-term erosion from granite swirling inside eddys.

The road to Fossil Falls requires a 1.2-mile drive down a rutted dirt road that could be handled by a two-wheel drive car. A relatively flat .23-mile out-and-back trail leads from the parking area to the top of the falls. There is also an adjacent fee-campground with space for cars located near the trailhead.

The trailhead has a vault toilet and picnic tables.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Accessible from a nearby highway. No crowds.

Cons

No shade.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Features

Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

Comments

Ive been here more times than I can count. Incredible group camping site and heavenly sunrises.
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