34 Most Stunning Waterfalls In California

Are you ready to check out some of the best waterfalls in California? Going waterfall hopping is one of the best things to do in California and you are sure to find yourself enchanted by the natural beauty of these dreamy cascades.

Whether you are going to be spending quite a bit of time in The Golden State or if you are just passing through, say on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip, either way, there are waterfalls far and wide in CA for you to check out.

Falls you can see from the road, falls you have to hike to, falls that are kid-friendly, and falls that are dog-friendly… no matter what type of waterfall tickles your fancy, you are sure to find a waterfall that fits your needs as a traveler.

So, let’s get started and learn about some of the most breathtaking falls in California.

Burney falls, one of the most stunning waterfalls in California. a wide waterfall that has many different paths leading to the water below, moss and trees and other vegetation cover the cliff it is falling from

Waterfalls in California Map

***NOTE: trails, parks, and national areas are often closed due to flood, fire damages, fire threat, mud slides, and other natural causes. You need to check official websites for updates on closures before your arrival.***

34 Most Stunning Waterfalls In California

Burney Falls

Among the top waterfalls in California is Burney Falls! Located in one of the best state parks in California, Burney Falls is quite popular from April through October. Take one look at this massive 129-foot waterfall and you can see why it is so popular.

Burney Falls is one of the best dog friendly waterfalls in California. This thundering fall is fed by springs and a spring-fed stream. The pool beneath the falls is a shocking 22 feet deep! This stunning waterfall is a must on anyone’s California bucket list!

There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting the waterfall. Most weekends in the summer, the area reaches capacity fairly quickly, so it is wise to arrive early so that you can avoid trying to find a place to park in the limited parking.

Keep in mind, it is illegal to park along Highway 89. Parking here can get you a citation or even get your vehicle towed. You should also be aware that there is a day-use fee and an overnight camping fee. If you arrive in the off-season, you should have a credit/debit card or exact change as the entrance kiosk will be closed.

The Burney Falls Loop Trail is only one mile long and is ranked as easy in difficulty, making it one of the best short hikes in California. On the trail, you will cross cute little wooden bridges and see benches along the path for you to stop and rest.

This waterfall is simply breathtaking with more than 100 million gallons of water tumbling down it each day. Plus, the area is the nesting grounds of the Black Swift, so a bit of bird watching is in order as well.

For everyone looking for waterfalls in Shasta County, this one is for you!

a wide waterfall that has many different paths leading to the water below, moss and trees and other vegetation cover the cliff it is falling from

Phillips Gulch Falls

Phillips Gulch Falls probably isn’t what you are picturing when thinking about California waterfalls. Located in Phillips Gulch on the Sonoma Coast, this waterfall is a hidden gem that you may be interested in stopping at if you are on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip.

This is a great addition to your California bucket list if you are looking for waterfalls near San Fransisco or if you are the type of traveler who likes to get off the beaten path. The waterfall can be found in Jenner, CA in Salt Point State Park.

You will want to visit this waterfall during peak runoff season, May or June. The fall comes from Phillips Creek and falls down into the ocean and onto the rocks below. You can expect to see various species of wildlife around the falls, such as purple sea urchins, Great Blue Herons, Osprey, and more.

From Stumps Beach, it is a 1.6-mile round trip from the falls and back. You can park at the Stump Beach Cove Parking Lot and walk along the coast until you reach the gulch. Don’t miss this fall as it is one of the most unique waterfalls in California!

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls is not only the largest waterfall in California, it is one of the biggest waterfalls in the world. There are so many remarkable waterfalls in Yosemite, but this one is arguably the most popular in the park.

The best time to see Yosemite Falls (and most waterfalls in CA) is in the spring and early summer. You can expect Yosemite Falls to be only a trickle if not completely dry by August. You may have some luck visiting in early fall as well if those early fall storms bring enough rain to strengthen the flow of the falls.

At a whopping 2,425 feet tall, this fall is truly a sight to behold. It is actually separated into three falls, Upper Yosemite Fall, middle cascades, and Lower Yosemite Fall. You can see these falls from various places in the park.

Yosemite Village and Yosemite Valley Lodge both offer you a great viewing point of the falls. You can also take the one-mile loop trail that leads to the bottom of the falls or take the strenuous all-day hike to the top of the falls.

As this is one of the most popular falls in California in one of the most famous national parks in the country, you will likely encounter some degree of crowds. During peak waterfall month, more than 300,000 people visit the park.

Yosemite Falls is one of the most highly visited waterfalls in California (and for good reason!) So, if you have the opportunity, be sure to check out this incredible natural feature in the Golden State.

top waterfalls in california, yosemite falls, a wooden walkway leading into a large field with the waterfall in the background falling from the top of a mountain

Nojoqui Falls

Looking for the waterfall near Solvang? Nojoqui Falls is one of the waterfalls in California that can be reached via a short hike. It only takes around half an hour to complete this easy hike. The trail gains around 230 feet in elevation and is less than a mile in length. (0.8 miles long)

Nojoqui Falls is one of the easiest hikes to a dog friendly waterfall in California. Puppers must be on a leash though! This is also a kid-friendly waterfall in CA for all of you family travelers out there. Just be sure your little ones have closed-toed shoes for the hike.

If you are looking to add to your list of things to do in Solvang, taking a short fifteen-minute drive from the beautiful Danish town to take a hike to this waterfall is a great excursion to add to your travel plans.

Keep Nojoqui Falls on your radar as well if you have been looking for things to do in Santa Barbara. The fall is around forty minutes from the city center and is a superb way to step away from the city for a little time spent in the forest.

McWay Falls

McWay Falls is an iconic Big Sur waterfall that stands at eighty feet tall. This unique waterfall falls from the rock cliff above to the sandy beach below. At high tide, the waterfall dumps right into the ocean!

If you have been looking for short hikes with waterfalls in California, McWay Falls is a must-visit! It may very well be the most popular fall on the West Coast. It’s definitely one of the best kid friendly waterfalls in California and leaves visitors in awe on the daily.

You will find the waterfall in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park around 37 miles south of the Monterey Peninsula, making it a great day trip if you are looking to add to your list of things to do in Monterey.

To reach the waterfall, you will take a short 0.6 mile that is rated easy in difficulty. Just before you reach the waterfall you will go through a large pipe that you walk through before the trail opens up again.

When you reach the end of the trail, you will see panoramic views of the ocean and of course, you can see the beach and waterfall down below the trail as well. You can expect there to be others on the trail most times of the year as this is such a popular waterfall.

While it may be tempting, you can’t actually go down to the waterfall. There are steep fines for going down to the beach and it is dangerous anyway. This area is super beautiful and there is camping in the area if that is something you are interested in.

The Saddle Rock and South Gardens Campground is just a minute down the road from McWay Falls. Keep in mind that you need to reserve sites ahead of time and doggos are not allowed at this campground. However, they do have grills and picnic areas for you to use while you are there.

among the most visited waterfalls in california is mccway falls, it is a waterfall that falls into the ocean and onto the beach, the photo shows an arched cover where the waterfall is falling off a cliff, a sailboat is in the ocean in the background and a large palm tree is on the left of the photo

Big Falls

The biggest waterfall in Southern California, Big Falls can be found in the San Bernardino National Forest. It runs year around and stands around 500 feet tall. The trail to the falls starts at the parking lot and goes 0.7 miles to the falls.

Big Falls is one of the waterfalls in California that look stunning in the snow! If you are visiting in the winter, no worries! The trail to the waterfall looks incredible with snow surrounding the Evergreen and resting atop the boulders around the mountains.

This trail is short, but not the safest. You shouldn’t hike past the end of the trail as it is slippery and there are a lot of loose rocks and steep terrain. As far as the trail to the falls, remember to take it slow and watch your footing as the terrain changes.

There are several places to camp around Big Falls if you are planning on spending some time under the stars while you are in the area. And if you feel like making the drive, you are only one hour from Big Bear Lake and Sugar Loaf Mountain when you are at Big Falls.

McCloud Falls

This picturesque waterfall in McCloud, CA is among the most stunning waterfalls in northern California. A mega-popular waterfall in CA, McCloud Falls can be reached via a 3.9 mile out and back trail. This route, while not particularly short, is fairly easy. It takes around an hour and a half to complete so make sure you budget plenty of time to enjoy the falls during your stop here.

Like most of the popular waterfalls in California, you can expect to be with others on the trail and at the waterfall during your visit. If you have been looking for waterfalls you can swim in in California, there’s all the more reason to check out this dreamy cascade as the pools below the middle falls is great for swimming.

The Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls viewpoints are accessible to most. The observation points are accessible by wheelchairs and strollers. And if you are traveling with your doggo, you’re in luck! Dogs are welcome at the waterfall as long as they are on a leash.

If you are looking for waterfalls near Redding or waterfalls near Mt Shasta, this is the waterfall for you! McCloud Falls is only about forty minutes from Mt. Shasta and around an hour and a half from Redding, CA!

a wide trickling waterfall in the woods during autumn, there are countless trees and small plants surrounding the waterfall and water below it

Bridalveil Falls

For everyone looking for hikes with waterfalls in California, Bridalveil Falls should be on your radar! Located in the breathtaking and idyllic Yosemite National Park, it’s by far one of the best waterfall hikes in California. If you want to hike to the bottom of the falls you will take the Bridalveil Fall Trail.

This trail is super short and easy. It is only 0.5 miles round trip and gains less than a hundred feet in elevation. You only need around twenty minutes for this trail and waterfall. However, you will probably find yourself wanting to stay and enjoy the area for a bit as well.

If you aren’t interested in hiking to the falls, you can find great views of it at various places in the park. You can view it from Tunnel View while driving to Yosemite Valley on both Southside Drive and Northside Drive. You can also see it from Inspiration Point and at Valley View. (Valley View is also called Gates of The Valley.)

What really makes this one of the most popular waterfalls in CA is the incredible scenery around the waterfall. While the waterfall itself is quite impressive, the large rock cliff facings and mountains in the background really are the icing on top of the cake.

If your California travel plans include checking out some of the best things to do in Fresno, consider taking a day trip to Bridal Veil Falls as it is one of the best waterfall hikes near Fresno.

an expansive valley view at sunset of one of the prettiest waterfalls in california, the waterfall can be seen on the right side of the image/valley

Pfeiffer Falls

For everyone looking for a Big Sur waterfall hike, Pfeiffer Falls can be found in Pfeiffer Falls State Park off of the Pacific Coast Highway. This waterfall is one of the less famous waterfalls in California but it still draws quite the crowd amongst those taking a Big Sur road trip.

This towering waterfall reaches sixty feet above the pool below and the trail to the falls takes just shy of an hour on the 1.3-mile out-and-back trail to complete. The trail gains around 60 feet of elevation but is still considered easy in difficulty.

While this waterfall will have many visitors during peak season, you may get lucky and have the place to yourself during the winter months. If you are traveling with your dog, keep in mind that dogs aren’t allowed on state park trails.

If you want to extend your stay in the area, you can take an offshoot of the Pfeiffer Falls Trail to Valley View for expansive picturesque views of the valley near the falls. This hike from Pfeiffer Falls Trail to Valley View is only 0.3 miles so you don’t have to worry about this adding too much time to your hike.

Rainbow Falls

This remarkable Mammoth Lakes waterfall is simply one of the most stunning and photo-worthy waterfalls in California. If you are going to find yourself in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, you will not want to miss this little slice of heaven on the fork of the San Joaquin River.

The waterfall plunges a shocking 101 feet down to the waters below. Rainbow Falls is a part of the Devil’s Postpile National Monument. As you may have guessed, it is known for the rainbow that forms from the mist around it. The Rainbow Falls Tail is a five-mile out-and-back trail that will take you to the fall.

It gains around 500 feet in elevation and is ranked as moderate in difficulty. You’ll cross beautiful creeks and bridges, see gorgeous green fields and evergreen treen-covered mountains, and tackles steep staircases on this trail. That being said, dogs are still allowed as long as they are on a leash.

This waterfall in California is really quite a treasure and it makes for a great place for photographers to practice their art as well as a place to sit and relax with the sounds of the rushing water filling the air. Don’t forget to add this to your California bucket list if you haven’t done so yet!

a wide rectangle shaped fall in the forest that is falling down a cliff into a large pool below that cliffs are surrounding, there are trees above the cliffs and waterfall

Beale Falls

For travelers looking for hiking trails in Sacramento with waterfalls, Beale Falls in nearby Grass Valley should be on your radar. Less than 65 miles away from Sacramento, this waterfall makes a great day trip from The Capital City. Beale Falls is not one of the most known waterfalls in California, but it is super pretty and has a beautiful trail to follow as you make your way toward the cascades.

You can take Fairy Falls Trail to Beale Falls. The trail is around 5.3 miles on a loop near the Beale Air Force Base. It usually takes hires around two hours to hike this trail. While this trail isn’t super short, it is a fairly easy hike, making it manageable for young visitors and those who aren’t interested in a difficult hike.

The walk to the falls is quite enjoyable with wildflowers along the way and loads of green space. You may even have some cow visitors while you are walking out to the falls! If you google this waterfall you may see it called Shingle Falls or Fairy Falls, this is the same as Beale Falls.

If you are visiting in the summer months, you may find yourself wanting to take a dip in the pool below the falls. Go for it! Beale Falls is one of the best waterfalls in California that you can swim in. The water is cold, but it is a super dreamy location and definitely a bucket list activity.

Alamere Falls

Looking for waterfalls in the Bay Area? Alamere Falls on the Point Reyes National Seashore is one of the best waterfalls near San Fransisco. You will find it deep in the Phillip Burton Wilderness where it falls dramatically down a 40-foot cascade. This mystical waterfall is one of only 34 waterfalls in the world that flow into the ocean!

You will want to arrive for the hike to the falls early in the morning so you can be sure that you are able to get a parking spot. This is especially true during the warmest months of the year and on the weekends. Now, this is one of the longest hikes to waterfalls in California.

You will hike nearly 14 miles and gain nearly 2000 feet in elevation to reach this waterfall. You should plan on spending around seven hours getting to and visiting the waterfall. You can find pit toilets at the trailhead but keep in mind that there are no facilities along the hike.

There is a shorter way to reach the waterfall, but it is not as safe and it is not endorsed by the park service. It cuts the elevation down to less than a thousand feet and the milage down to just over eight. That being said, it involves going down a rocky ledge so it is not advised to take this unsanctioned route.

Don’t get me wrong, most of the waterfalls in California are breathtaking. But, there is something really unique about Alamere Falls. The shocking drop and the sand erosion below the falls show the power of the falls. And getting the opportunity to see one of these incredible falls that flow into the ocean is simply amazing.

waterfall in california that empties onto the beach and ocean, there is moss on the cliff that it is falling off of.

Kings Creek Falls

It’s time to talk about the super stunning waterfall in Lassen Volcanic National Park, Kings Creek Falls. This one is for everyone who is spending some time in North CA or for those looking for hiking trails in California with waterfalls. Take one glimpse at this waterfall and it is easy to see why travelers love it so dearly.

The trail to reach this waterfall is a loop of 2.3 miles. You will start around 7,280 feet in elevation. There is a gradual descent along the Upper Cascades portion before a steep and narrow stone staircase before you reach the waterfall. Be prepared for an uphill return on the trail.

You should budget around 90 minutes to two hours to spend at Kings Creek Falls. The elevation gain can be tough, especially in the direct sun so be sure to bring plenty of water with you. This is one of the most ethereal and majestic waterfalls in California; it is well worth the hike to see it!

a wides waterfall that is bouncing over many rocks as it makes its way down a clidd, photo is taken from a cliff above/near the waterfall.

Heart Rock Falls

One of the most unique waterfalls in southern California can be found at Heart Rock Trail. This 1.3-mile loop trail near Crestline CA in the San Bernardino National Forest gains around 270 feet in elevation and takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete.

The trail’s most prominent features are the waterfall and a hole in the rock cliff near the falls that is in the shape of a heart. In order to see the heart shape, you need to be at the top of the falls. On your way there you will cross a small creek, traverse rocky terrain, pass through tree-enclosed sections as well as more open areas in the forest.

Like with most waterfalls in California, it’s super awesome to visit in the spring when there is peak run-off and you can see all of the incredible wildflowers along the trail. After your hike at the falls, you can make the thirty-minute drive to nearby Lake Arrowhead where they have a lovely beach, great restaurants, hiking opportunities, and beautiful streets to explore.

Darwin Falls

You may be shocked to find out that there is actually a waterfall in Death Valley National Park. There are actually a few of them, but Darwin Falls is definitely the most popular. It stands around eighteen feet tall and it has a small swimming hole as well. This spring-fed cascade offers an unexpected oasis in the harsh desert.

The hike to the falls takes about two hours on this moderate trail that gains around 450 feet in elevation. The trail is only two miles but if you are visiting in the summer, it is not recommended that you hike after 10 AM. If you are traveling with dogs, be aware that they are not allowed on the trails in the park, not even if you carry them.

The waterfall was named after an Army physician who prospected silver out west in the 1840s. The water here is super stunning as it allows a lot of pretty vegetation to grow. Vegetation like cattails, trees, ferns, and aquatic vegetation. If you are lucky, you may see a Bighorn Sheep or other wildlife coming to the waterfall.

If you are looking for waterfalls in California that offer a serene space that look like a magical oasis, you’ve found one! Darwin Falls is a great place for photographers and keen hiking travelers. Visiting Darwin Falls is just one of the many exciting things for you to do in Death Valley National Park.

a waterfall in california that split into two right before it reaches the pool of water below it. a tree is stretching over the water in front of the waterfall

Vernal Fall

This waterfall in California has nature’s giant staircase in front of it, creating a beautiful and unique waterfall experience. Photographers, waterfall hunters, and excited travelers unite! Because this is one of the waterfalls in California that you will not want to miss on your Golden State adventures.

This turbulent fall can be reached on a three mile out and back trail near the Yosemite Valley. This challenging route takes around two hours to complete and is super popular. You will cross a wooden footbridge and see some of the most remarkable views in all of California on your way to this waterfall.

A powerful fall and turbulent waters below create a lot of noise and mist in the area. Due to the shocking beauty of this cascade, you are sure to be on the trail and at the falls with many other visitors. Since the fall is in Yosemite National Park, you will need to pay a fee to enter or have your America The Beautiful Pass.

a staircase is in. the foreground and to the right while a rectangle shaped waterfall falls over a cliff in the background, one of the best waterfalls in california

Nevada Fall

Nevada Fall is one of the more popular waterfalls in Yosemite and by far one of the best waterfalls in California. This stunning waterfall drops nearly 600 feet off the side of a rock cliff. It is quite the hike to reach the falls, but so worth it! You can reach Nevada Fall by starting your hike like you are headed to Vernal Fall.

If you go all the way to the top of Nevada Fall, the hike is 5.4 miles round trip. If this sounds too daunting, don’t worry, there are a lot of sights on this trail and you can turn back at any point while still being able to enjoy the pretty natural features in this area.

If you only make it to the Vernal Fall Footbridge, that is 1.6 miles round trip. To vernal Fall, it is 2.4 miles round trip. And then, of course, you have the 5.4 miles to the top of Nevada Fall via the Mist Trail. Going all the way like this sees you gaining around 2000 feet in elevation.

If you are going all the way to the top, you should schedule at least 5-6 hours to cover hiking time, breaks, and enjoying each waterfall. The hike to all of these features starts at Happy Isles. There isn’t parking at the trailhead, you can park at Curry Village which is less than a mile away from the trailhead.

Since this is a long trail and you should be sure that you are prepared for the terrain, weather, and elevation. Unlike most waterfall hikes, there are bathrooms along the trail! Something else to know before you hike is that sprained ankles and knee injuries are common on this trail. So, going slow and wearing appropriate shoes is a must!

trees in the foreground and mountains in the background, this waterfall is tumbling down a cliff in the mountains

Bonita Falls

Looking for some short hikes to waterfalls in California? Bonita Falls is just 1.5 miles out and back and is very popular among hikers and adventurers. The best time to visit this waterfall is from March to October. The tall waterfall drops down a craggy rock cliff that is covered in moss before tumbling over boulders below.

Like some of the other waterfalls in California, you will see quite a bit of graffiti on the rocks beside the trail and at the rocks near the waterfall. This is really unfortunate, but the stunning Bonita Falls still shines through the defacement.

The landscape around the trail is very pretty. You have a creek, wide expanses of rocky earth, and then, sagebrush-covered mountains in the background. This trail and waterfall are a great example of southern California landscape and natural beauty.

This is a must-visit destination for everyone looking for waterfalls in southern California. You will be just forty minutes from the famous Mt. Baldy, there is a lot to do in the area, especially if you are looking for other hiking adventures and natural spaces to explore.

Horsetail Fall

Arguably one of the most popular waterfalls in California. For anyone looking for Mammoth Lake waterfalls, consider taking the 45-minute drive to the Yosemite Valley so you can check out this remarkable waterfall. Horsetail Fall flows off the eastern edge of El Capitan. It is a skinny little waterfall that leaves a big impression on those who get to see it for themselves.

It is most known for the rare occasions when it glows orange. This happens in mid to late February when it is backlit by the light from the sunset. This is sometimes called Firefall. This is a super rare thing to see as even slight cloudiness or haze will prevent the event from occurring. Seeing it in person is quite a treat!

Since this is such a desirable sight in Yosemite National Park, reservations are required during most of February. On your visit, be sure to dress in layers and expect snowy conditions. Dressing appropriately will greatly improve your experience in the fall. In terms of facilities, you can find vault toilets at the El Cap Picnic Area.

You can park at the Yosemite Falls Parking Area and then walk the 1.5 miles to the El Cap Picnic Area which is a viewing area for the falls. There is additional parking at Yosemite Village and Curry Village where you can use the free shuttle to take you to the Yosemite Falls Parking Area. From there, you can walk 1.5 miles to the viewing area.

a super tall and slender waterfall falling off of a mountain, the sunset is shining on the falls making it look like its on fire

Escondido Falls

Alright, this one is for travelers looking for waterfalls in Los Angeles. Just outside of LA in Malibu is this attractive Escondido Canyon Park waterfall. You can reach Escondido Falls via the Escondido Falls Trail which is a 3.7 mile out and back trail. You can expect to gain around 530 feet in elevation and spend around two hours here hiking and visiting the waterfall.

While this waterfall is ranked as moderate in difficulty it is one of the family-friendly waterfalls in California as it has many relaxing flat stretches of trail, wildflowers to memorize the little ones, and shallow calm areas beneath the waterfall where little ones can put their tootsies in the water.

Before you go, you should know that there are not a lot of parking spaces and you will need to pay twelve bucks to park here for the falls. Arriving in the early morning will help ensure you can get a spot before others arrive during the busier times.

Brandy Creek Falls

Brandy Creek Falls is among the best waterfalls near Eureka CA. You can find it in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area it can be reached via the long route on an 8.2 mile out and back trail that gains more than 1600 feet in elevation. Alternatively, you can also take the short 2.6 round trip hike that can be reached on Shasta Bally Road.

You can expect to cross wooden footbridges, walk along Brandy Creek, see wildflowers, and pass beautiful transparent green pools of water before you reach one of the most mesmerizing waterfalls in California.

a wide and dramatic waterfall in the forest that empties into an emerald pool of water, trees are above the falls and people are standing in front of it, brandy creek falls-one of the most highly visited waterfalls in california

Feather Falls

Have you been looking for hiking trails in Sacramento with waterfalls? Well, Feather Falls is one of the best waterfalls near Sacramento as it provides a Yosemite-esque waterfall without the national park crowds. To get to the overlook at the waterfall there are two options.

Once you start the Feather Falls trail, you will see a third of a mile in that the trail forks. You can take the steep path for 3.3 miles to the falls. Or you can take the path to the east which is 4.5 miles, but way more gentle in the incline. The two trails will converge again before you reach the observation deck for the waterfall.

This hike takes some effort at around 9 miles round trip and it also takes a bit of experience or at least determination as you have to cross primitive wooden bridges and climb nearly 2000 feet in elevation before you reach the deck.

If you have been looking for waterfalls in California that will blow your mind without having to be surrounded by hundreds of others who are out seeking the same thing, you should consider visiting Feather Falls. This 400+ foot waterfall knows how to deliver in wow factor!

a misty waterfall that takes multiple paths to down a tall cliff, dense trees above the waterfall, feather falls; one of the waterfalls in calfornia that you have to hike to

Etiwanda Falls

Etiwanda Falls is for everyone wanting to visit some waterfalls near Los Angeles. About an hour from The City of Angels is the North Etiwanda Preserve is the beautiful Etiwanda Falls. The trail to reach the falls is a 3.4-mile out-and-back trail that gains around 800 feet in elevation. You should plan on spending around two hours here.

If striking mountain and valley views are something you are excited to see while waterfall hunting in California, Etiwanda Falls is one of the best places for it! You will also walk along a creek, through the woods, and see wild flower-lined paths while you are on your way to the waterfall on the trail.

One of the great things about visiting waterfalls in California is that there is so much natural diversity in the state that you are sure to see a variety of beautiful natural features no matter what part of the state you are in. And at Etiwanda Falls you are able to see some of that diversity for yourself.

Potem Creek Falls

One of the best waterfalls in California to swim in is Potem Creek Falls. This ethereal waterfall stands high above the swimming hole beneath it. The cliffs around the waterfall grow moss and other vegetation, adding to the calming and appealing ambiance.

Potem Creek Falls is easy to get to in the Shasta Trinity National Forest. The trail to the fall is less than a mile and gains around 140 feet in elevation. This short 0.6-mile trail takes less than 20 minutes to complete. It takes you to one of the best waterfalls near Redding CA and is quite easy for nearly all ages and experience levels.

Waterfalls in California that you can swim in are some of the best places to visit in California. However, you should keep in mind that the time of year that you visit will affect whether the water is calm enough to swim in. During peak runoff and after big rains the water may be too turbulent for swimming.

a thin waterfall leading to a calm pool of water in the forest, trees stand to left and more rock cliff to the right, one of the popular waterfalls in california

Ortega Falls

One of the best hikes in Orange County with waterfalls is Ortega Falls. This waterfall is in the Cleveland National Forest and is on a super short hiking trail. That being said, the trail is ranked as challenging as it is quite steep and there are loose rocks on the trails. This short 0.2-mile trail right off the highway near Lake Elsinore is way worth it though as the fall is incredibly beautiful.

The trail is open year around but the waterfall is seasonal. Visiting after a good rain is best to see Ortega Falls flowing at its fullest. From Highway 74, just type Ortega Falls into Google Maps and you will be taken to a dirt turnout on the side of the highway.

This turnout can hold around ten cars or so. You can see a bit of the waterfall from this little dirt parking area. Then, you will take the trail through rocky places, under a tree tunnel, and over boulders to reach the falls. If you visit on the weekend or after a big rain, you can expect there to be quite a few others visiting the waterfall with you.

Unfortunately, like some other waterfalls in California, the rocks around Ortega Falls has been defaced by paint and graffiti. Some people like this addition to the falls, sharing the opinion that it adds a cute and fun touch. So, if you end up visiting this beautiful waterfall while you are in California, you can decide for yourself!

Grizzly Falls

This waterfall in Sequoia National Forest should be on your radar if you are looking for waterfalls near Fresno. A two-hour drive into the Sequoia National Forest will take you to the trailhead for the falls. Then, a short 0.1-mile walk will have you at the bottom of Grizzly Falls.

The trail to the falls allows you to stand very close to the waterfall. This is great for those hot summer days when the mist from the fall is very welcome. This is also quite exciting for young kids and its nice for travel photos as well. Like most waterfalls in California, you should visit during the spring or early summer to see the falls at its best.

a turbulent waterfall cascades down a slick rock cliff in the woods, there are trees all around the falls and the path to it

Salmon Creek Falls

Looking for falls in Big Sur? Salmon Creek Falls in the Big Sur Region of Monterey County is on California State Route 1 roughly three miles from Ragged Point. This is another one of the waterfalls in California that can be reached from a short and easy hiking trail, perfect for those wanting to see some falls without having to don your hiking gear.

Just put on a decent pair of walking shoes and head out on the short 0.3-mile out and back trail to the incredible Salmon Creek Falls. The trail is aptly named the Salmon Creek Trail and only gains around 25 feet in elevation. You shouldn’t need more than 10 minutes to hike this easy trail.

You will find Salmon Creek Falls looking its best in the winter rainy season. There is the potential for this waterfall to go dry during certain times of the year, particularly in the summer and shoulder season.

The waterfall is surrounded by rock facings that are housing trees and other vegetation. This created a little pool of water beneath the falls that is semi-enclosed. This is an ideal location for visitors looking for places to practice their photography skills.

The pool below the waterfall looks emerald green and is a tantalizing place to swim. If you are visiting in the warmer months, be sure to take your bathing suit so you can enjoy this magical swimming hole near Big Sur. There is also a really cool space behind the waterfall where you can sit on the rocks behind the water!

a tall waterfall that splits off into two as it tumbles down the rock cliff, green vegetation on both sides of the fall and a large pool of water below it.

San Antonio Falls

This is one of the super fun and easy waterfall hikes in southern California that you should check out if you are in the area! San Antonio Falls in Angeles National Forest can be reached on a 1.4 mile out and back trail that gains around 280 feet in elevation.

For everyone who is making plans to visit Mt. Baldy, San Antonio Falls is less than five miles away, so it can easily be added to your travel itinerary for the area. Like many of the best waterfalls in California, you can expect to see others during your visit as this is a very popular area for hiking.

When planning your visit, be sure you have appropriate shoes; even though the trail is relatively easy and short, there are still places with loose rock and uneven ground so decent shoes are necessary.

Mossbrae Falls

DISCLAIMER: This waterfall is on Private Property! You should get permission from the owners if you plan on visiting this California waterfall.

This Dunsmuir waterfall is considered to be one of the most mystical and photogenic waterfalls in California. The scenic moss-covered cliff is graced by thin streams of water falling over the edge that is 175 feet wide.

Standing at around fifty feet high, this Dunsmuir Waterfall will leave you awestruck. Fed from springs, you can sit and watch the water slide down the canyon wall into the Sacramento River below for hours.

a super side waterfall is falling down a moss-covered cliff, there is a skinny stretch of water beneath the fall and trees above it, one of the coolest waterfalls in california

Cedar Creek Falls

Cedar Creek Falls is one of the best waterfalls in southern California. The trail to reach the falls isn’t easy, so this waterfall isn’t recommended for family hikers with young children or for those who aren’t very experienced with hiking yet. It is also not recommended that you hike here during the hot summer months.

The waterfall can be found in the Cleveland National Forest. You will take the Cedar Creek Falls Trail which is a 5.6-mile out-and-back trail that gains over 1000 feet in elevation. You should plan on spending at least three hours here to finish the trail and see the waterfall.

This lovely waterfall near Romona is one of the waterfalls in California that allow dogs as long as they are on a leash. Before you visit, you will need to get a permit which costs ten dollars and can be used for a group of up to five people.

a slender waterfall falling down in a V-shaped dip in the rock cliff, there is a large pool of water beneath the falls

Berry Creek Falls

Berry Creek Falls is among the top falls in northern California. It is located in the Big Basin Redwoods State Park and is one of the most visited areas in the park. The trail is quite long; it’s a 10-mile loop trail that gains over 2000 feet in elevation. As such, it is not one of the most kid-friendly waterfalls in California.

The areas around the falls have giant ferns and moss-covered surfaces as well as small streams that create a mystical atmosphere that is well worth the visit. The lush groves of Redwood trees and Sequoias make this California waterfall one of the best to visit in northern CA.

Hedge Creek Falls

Hedge Creek Falls is one of the most highly visited waterfalls near Mt Shasta. The fall itself is stunning and the trail is less than a mile, putting it among the most desirable waterfalls in Shasta County. The trail to the falls begins at a small picnic area across from the parking lot.

With this trail being quite easy, it makes it safe to add to your list of the best kid-friendly waterfalls in California. While on the trail, you will see that the area perches on the edge of a canyon of the creek. You will cross a small stream and descend at a moderate grade before you reach the falls.

You will love this idyllic little fall in the woods! Hedge Creek Falls is one of the waterfalls in California that you can walk behind. There’s actually quite a bit of space below a cliff-hanging where you can chill behind the water which is awesome for cooling down, relaxing, and taking photos.

a slender waterfall falling down a rock overhanging, there is plenty of space behind the waterfall to walk, one of the best waterfalls in california, hedge creek falls

Huntington Falls

If you are looking for waterfalls near the Bay area, you should check out this waterfall in San Fransisco. Unlike the other waterfalls in California on this list, Huntington Falls is a manmade waterfall. You can find it in Golden Gate State Park. It stands at 110 feet tall and it falls down into a man-made lake called Stow Lake.

You can walk around Stow Lake on the Lakeshore Trail. This trail will let you pass Huntington Falls as well as two bridges and the Golden Gate Pavilion which is a Chinese Pagoda that was presented to San Fransisco by their sister city, Taipei.

Eagle Falls

Eagle Falls is one of the most intriguing waterfalls in California. You will find it on the Eagle Lake Trail in El Dorado National Forest which is on the western shore of Lake Tahoe. The lake trail is about two miles and gains around 450 feet in elevation. You should plan to spend at least an hour here.

This waterfall in California really showcases how the California landscape knows how to wow visitors. The trail to the falls will have you crossing a wooden footbridge over small cascades in the creek, walking through the Evergreen trees that surround the path, and it will also give you great views of Eagle Lake.

If you are looking for a trail that will offer you incredible views, an excellent atmosphere, a stunning waterfall, and the opportunity to meet many other hikers, Eagle Falls is for you! This area is quite popular thanks to it showing off the most striking natural features in the Lake Tahoe Basin so you aren’t likely to be alone on the trail.

a waterfall on the right rushing over some rocks, a trail is visible in the background along with trees

Now that you have learned about some of the best waterfalls in California, which of these astonishing natural features will you be visiting first? We would love to hear from you!

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