Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
350.00 ft (106.68 m)
Trail type
5.30 mi (8.53 km)
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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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Three Waterfalls. Scenic River. Old-growth ponderosa pine forest.



Trailhead Elevation

3,240.00 ft (987.55 m)


Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day



Nearby Adventures

Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, California
Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, California
California, Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area
Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, California


Absolutely beautiful hike, it is very easy to find and very clean, going early would be highly recommended.
The hike from Lower Falls to Middle Falls is easy, nice and flat, with lots of access to the campground. From the bottom of Middle Falls, there are some low grade switch backs to get to the overlook, from the overlook the trail continues along the canyon wall to Upper Falls. The trail maps provided here are extremely accurate and were a huge help to have on hand. We went 3 miles past Upper Falls (5 miles total from Fowlers Campground) and stopped just short of Group Camp 4 (missed it by about a quarter mile).
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