McCloud Falls – Visiting Upper, Middle and Lower Falls


We made the trip to McCloud falls and visited all three tiers of the waterfalls. McCloud falls are are a total of 3 waterfalls (upper falls, middle falls, and lower falls) that are within walking distance from each other. 

McCloud Falls

Located about 5 miles east of the small mountain town of McCloud, CA you can either see the waterfalls by walking on the 3.8 mile round trip trail that runs along the McCloud river or you can drive to each of the falls. 

Since we were also hiking to Hedge Creek falls in Dunsmuir, CA the day we visited we decided to drive to each of the waterfalls instead of hiking the trail.

Here is all the information you might want to know to plan your trip to McCloud Falls:

  • Location: Upper Fall Rd. McCloud, CA 96057
  • When to go: Year-round
  • Trail Length: 3.8 miles (round trip)

Getting to the Waterfalls

To get to the waterfalls I5 you will follow highway 89 east for 10 miles from the I-5/89 junction. You will pass by the town of McCloud and continue east for 5 more miles. Then you will see a sign on the left that says Fowlers Camp/McCloud falls. 

Make sure you be on the lookout for this sign it’s a bit hard to spot, we almost missed it and had to turn around. Once you see the sign you will turn right onto Road 40N44 which is right across the highway from the sign. 

From here you will continue another .7 miles to get to the Lower falls. Once you are on this road you will clearly see signs in the direction for lower falls and middle falls. 

Hiking to the falls 

If you have time for a hike you can choose to hike the trail that runs along the McCloud river to see all there tiers of McCloud falls. The trail is 3.8 miles round trip and looked like a moderate hike.

We will probably go back and hike it in the future but we had plans to go to another waterfall the day we visited so we choose to drive to all three tiers of McCloud falls. 

Driving to the falls 

When we drove to the falls we started with upper McCloud Falls and drove down to the middle and lower waterfalls. By the time we got to the lower falls it was about 11 am and it was already really busy.

We had a hard time finding parking. If we go back again we would probably visit the lower falls early so that its not too busy. Then work our way up. 

Upper McCloud Falls

Finding the upper falls was really easy. We just looked for the signs and followed the road. After just a short drive we turned right at the Upper McCloud Falls sign and it ended at a small parking and picnic area. 

upper mccloud falls

This was the least busy of the three waterfalls. Right next to the parking area there was a picnic area right next to the McCloud river. There was also some bathrooms and the trail head. 

The pathway to the overlook area to Upper McCloud falls was quick and easy. In just a short distance we arrived at the waterfall. There was railing that runs along the look out area to the falls. We views the falls from a few different spots of the lookouts. 

view of upper falls

You are way above the falls and looking down on it but it is still pretty. Upper McCloud falls was unique because the falls flow through rock formations where the rocks have been carved out. 

It was really nice and surrounding the overlook area were pine trees, some wildflowers and we even saw some lizards. 

You can also see the trail that runs along the McCloud river right next to the overlook that you would hike if you opt to hike to all three of the waterfalls. 

Middle McCloud Falls

When we were done viewing the falls we went back to the main road and turned left. From here middle falls was just a very short drive. You will clearly see the sign to the parking area for middle falls. 

I also really liked the view of Mt. Shasta in the distance from the parking area of Middle McCloud falls. This waterfall had more people than upper falls but we had no problem finding parking. There was also a bathroom right next to the parking area. 

We stared on the trail for the middle McCloud falls overlook and in just a few minutes we arrived at one of the view points. Middle McCloud falls is the biggest of all three and was so pretty. Similar to the upper falls viewing area there are different places with railing along the cliffside where you can view the falls down below. 

middle mccloud falls

You can also hike down to the base of the falls, as there were a ton of people down there. The trail that leads to all three of the falls runs right along side the middle McCloud falls viewing area. 

Lower McCloud Falls 

When leaving the middle McCloud falls parking area we turned left and continued until we saw signs for the lower falls. The entrance to the lower falls was clearly marked. The drive to the lower falls was a bit longer. 

Once we reached the parking area for the Lower McCloud falls it was really busy. We had a hard time finding parking. There are also bathrooms and a very large picnic area at the lower falls. There were a ton of picnic benches in the shade of the pine trees. It would be a great place for lunch. 

Its just a short walk from the lower falls picnic area to the viewing area of the lower falls. The lower falls were packed with people. This was the most popular of all three falls. There were people fishing, swimming, and diving off the rocks. 

lower mccloud falls

While we were there once person even caught a fish! The viewing area of lower McCloud falls is the closest to the waterfall out of all three. On upper and middle falls you are looking down at the falls, but on lower falls you are right across from the falls. 

There are also stairs that lead right down to the edge of the falls so you can walk right up the waterfall. You will also clearly see the trail that runs along the McCloud river. I even spotted a chipmunk on the trail. 

Visiting all three tiers of McCloud falls was fun. We will be going back to hike the entire trail and camp near the falls. 

Here is a video of our trip to McCloud Falls. It shows the upper, middle and lower falls.

McCloud Falls Camping 

If you are looking for a place to camp near McCloud Falls then you might be interested in Fowlers Campground. It was right next to lower McCloud falls. it was a really clean campground with sites nestled in the trees. 

fowlers campground

The trail that leads to all the falls winds right along the side of the campground. We even spotted a few deers when we were driving through camp. There was also a sign to a wild life viewing area. 

When we visited the campground was busy and many of the sites were reserved, so you might want to contact them for reservations if you plan on camping. 

I hope that this helps you plan your adventure to McCloud falls.

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