Probably, one of the easiest waterfall in this post: close to interstate 5, a short walk from the parking. Falls are sweet and not huge. Pipes from the road spoil the picture. It’s a great place to stop on a long journey to stretch the legs.
Hedge Creek Falls
When I-5 climbs closer to the Shasta, it passes the small old town Dunsmuir. The town has sweet charm in it, and we once stayed there overnight – though it wasn’t a pleasant stay, coffee and pastries in the morning tasted terrific. And Dunsmuir is famous for two falls.
Less than a mile long trail leads to the 30 foot high falls surrounded with basalt columns.
Another thing to consider while here, if the trail is not very slippery, try to walk behind the falls and follow the path near Hedge Creek. It will pass a few smaller falls and finally reach the observation deck with a view over the Sacramento River and Mount Shasta.
One of the “must-see” falls in Northern California has no public access as of now. The town of Dunsmuir right now is working on the creation of an official trail.
While the trail is not completed, some hikes along the railway tracks. Personally, I think it’s a bad idea: first, they are crossing private property, second is a danger of trains passing here.
I mention the falls in this list because it definitely should be in it and because I hope that the trail will be available soon enough.
Probably, the most beautiful falls in the area. This area is famous for spectacular trails that lead to stunning views, and Faery Falls gets their place on top of them.
0.7 miles one way, trail passes remains of the historic Ney Springs Resort before reaching Faery Falls. The trail is steep and more strenuous than one could expect, but the falls, in the end, are a great treat for an eye. We hiked during the rain, and the trail was muddy most of the time. But at the same time, water flow was high, and we met only on a party of 4 with their dogs. Most of the time, we had the falls just for ourselves.
Mt Shasta Views
Though not a waterfall still a great place to stop and take a photo
As you will drive to/from Faery Falls, the road will pass Lake Siskiyou, one of the state’s prettiest reservoirs.
Each of the majestic volcanos of the Pacific Northwest has its best viewpoint and mt. Shasta’s is a south beach of Lake Siskiyou. I haunted the clear sky for two sunsets and two sunrise, three days total, but winter storm covered the peak with heavy clouds. However, right before leaving and driving back to the bay, the sun came out and gave us a glimpse of the beauty (made a note for me to return here in Summer).
McCloud River Falls
The famous and very scenic three falls on the McCloud River are an absolute must when you visit the Mt. Shasta area. All three are connected with the trail (easy to moderate), so if you park on Lower or Upper Falls, you will get a fantastic half of the day adventure.
As it happens, the trail could be entirely under snow and ice in winter, which makes it harder but still manageable. In summer, lower falls become a swimming spot for the tourists and locals, though I thought the water was too cold to be pleasant.
Lower McCloud Falls
Middle and Upper McCloud Falls
Hands down, middle falls are the most interesting on the river. They also become an object for cliff jumping during the hot season.
1, 2 – Middle Falls; 3, 4 – Upper Falls
Burney Falls is the most distant in this list from Mt Shasta, but if you find the time, they would be the best you see on this trip. Always flowing on full, huge, and moody, Burney Falls is the must for any who visit NorCal.
There is a short easy to moderate trail around the falls, which takes you to several viewpoints, giving you a full picture from all possible sides.
This waterfall left me awestruck! It’s so accessible via short hike (only 0.4 out and back), but it’s so huge and powerful. We spent almost an hour exploring the fall’s base, and I can’t wait to come back again!
Map and links
- Hedge Creek Falls Trail on alltrails.com and hikemtshasta.com
- Faery Falls trail on alltrails.com
- Complete Lake Siskiyou trail on alltrails.com
- McCloud River Waterfalls trail
- Potem Falls trail description on alltrails.com
- Official page of McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, home of Burney Falls
- Burney Falls Loop Trail on alltrails.com
- Summer camping at McArthur-Burney Falls park
- The blogpost about McCloud River Falls in Summer