August 11, 2022


McCloud Falls north of Redding, CA

Redding is surrounded by California’s most incredible waterfalls. How do you choose which ones to visit? Check out our guide.

Anyone who has visited Redding knows it is paradise for outdoor lovers.

And one of the most spectacular opportunities Redding has to offer is waterfalls – lots of them! There’s at least 20 notable options surrounding Redding, joining many incredible rivers, lakes and adjacent trails.

The gateway to the wilderness in Northern California, Redding is the ideal place for hiking and waterfall lovers to set up camp.

With so many falls within a short drive, you’d be crazy not to take in the crisp waters, fresh air and explore all that Redding, Shasta County, Lassen County and Siskiyou County has to offer.

So where do you start? Here are just some of the waterfalls near Redding that you shouldn’t miss.


A young man wearing orange swim shorts diving into the water at Potem Falls near Redding, California

Potem Falls | Photo Credit: Kara Stewart

An hour’s drive northeast of Redding and approaching Montgomery Creek is the idyllic Potem Falls, popular with romantics and families alike.

The 70-foot drop emanates from the Pit River arm of Shasta Lake and lures plenty of swimmers in the heat of summer.

A midweek trip usually rewards visitors with a much quieter and more intimate experience where the full sensory experience can be appreciated.

Potem is dog friendly but the trail to the falls is steep so be wary.

While you’re in the area, maybe a trip to Hatchet Creek Falls is also worthwhile.

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A three-mile hike in Lassen Volcanic National Park will reward visitors with the sight of the spectacular Kings Creek Falls.

The hike is only open during the summer months and some residual snow may be encountered early in the season.

There remain plenty of reminders of the Dixie Fire which scorched 69 percent of the park in 2021, sometimes giving hikers an eerie feeling on their approach.

It’s downhill to the falls where the 50-foot drop is a favorite with photographers.

Take care if you wish to tackle the precarious path leading to the foot of the falls.

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A person standing on a rock in front of McCloud Falls located north of Redding, CA

McCloud Falls | Photo Credit @adventuredude_raul

Want to triple your money?

A day out taking in the three-headed monster at McCloud Falls is the ticket!

Put aside around two hours to fully enjoy this wonderful 4-mile round trip and all it has to offer – or longer if you want to picnic, swim or fish as well.

Lower McCloud Falls is the baby of the three but features a platform for people to jump into the water. Middle Falls is the biggest and most spectacular of the trio with a swimming hole that is very busy in summer.

While the Upper Falls can be viewed near the top of the trail with a challenging descent into the canyon for those who are game.

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Phantom Falls located southeast of Redding, CA

Phantom Falls | Photo Credit: Anthony Ferretti

Don’t let the name of this waterfall fool you. There’s nothing spooky about it! It earned the name Phantom because it disappears during the dry season.

This is why you’ll want to go during rainy months, around late autumn through early spring, so you can catch the waterfall at full capacity.

Hike 2 miles from the parking lot to the rim of Coal Canyon where the stunning 166 foot waterfall is visible. 

If you make it down to the base of the waterfall, keep your eyes peeled! You might be lucky enough to spot a Coastal Range newt in the small pool at the bottom. 

Near the town of Oroville, about an hour and a half from Redding, Phantom is a waterfall you don’t want to miss.

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A moderately challenging hike off the Pacific Crest Trail in the Castle Crags Wilderness near Castella reveals the beautiful Burstarse Falls.

Don’t be fooled by the first cascade, it’s just the 25-foot Lower Burstarse offering visitors a cool dip on their travels to the main prize.

The real deal lies further up the trail where a 50-foot waterfall awaits.

The 4.6 mile round-trip is open all year long but best taken in late spring.

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A young woman standing beneath the spray from Hedge Creek Falls north of Redding, CA

Hedge Creek Falls

The narrow Hedge Creek drop is special because it offers visitors a unique perspective, plunging in front of an accessible and expansive 12-foot cave.

The Hedge Creek Falls trail also offers breathtaking views of Mt Shasta and the Sacramento River.

The round trip hike is just a quarter-mile making it attractive for young and old and it is open year round.

And it’s all just a five-minute drive north of Dunsmuir on the I-5.

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Faery Falls is one of a kind not for its geography but its history.

Follow the Ney Springs Canyon Trail near Siskiyou Lake in Mt Shasta and you’ll be transported back in time to uncover what remains of the 19th century Ney Springs Resort.

Once resplendent with accommodation for up to 50 guests keen to take advantage of the area’s hot springs, precious little remains intact.

Defying the hands of time, the 50-foot Faery Falls is going strong, complete with its greenery, birdlife and fishing opportunities.

The trail is open all year but dogs must be on a leash.

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Crystal Creek Falls located in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area west of Redding, CA

Crystal Creek Falls | Photo Credit Don DeBold

A waterfall with a difference, this one is man-made but no less enchanting.

It is the result of an overflow created for water spilling into Crystal Creek from the Central Valley Project designed in 1920.

A flat and easy 15-minute walk of less than a mile is met with picnic tables, barbeques and an opportunity for a dip.

You’ll need a pass from the Whiskeytown Visitors Center before you leave.

Other Whiskeytown favorites, Boulder Creek Falls and Brandy Creek Falls are also nearby.

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One of the region’s best kept secrets until recently, Whiskeytown Falls is also sometimes known as “Hidden Falls”.

That’s because it remained “hidden” from survey maps from the 1960s until 2004!

The Whiskeytown National Recreation Center was soon established and a trail built to showcase this 220-foot tall beauty.

A stairway that runs up the left hand side of the falls gives visitors a unique perspective of its power and beauty.

The 3.4-mile loop is moderate to difficult and connects with the Mill Creek Trail and the footbridge over Crystal Creek.

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A man in a red jacket standing in front of Burney Falls located 1 hour east of Redding, CA

Burney Falls | Photo Credit @tdcameraman

Saving perhaps the best for last, Burney Falls. The most popular waterfall in the area, the pandemic made it an even bigger star attraction so be prepared for long queues as the park reaches its capacity.

Going early or after 3pm might make things a little more comfortable.

President Theodore Roosevelt once dubbed Burney Falls the eighth wonder of the world!

So spectacular that few photographs do it justice, its 129-foot drop is the result of melting snow from Burney Mountain.

More than 100 million gallons cascade down the falls every day.

It’s a sacred site for the Pit River Indian tribe who have worshiped it for centuries.

Dogs aren’t allowed on the trails and there is a $10 fee to park.

If it’s too busy here, maybe the river wide Pit River Falls is more your thing.

But you’ll have to arrive by kayak or raft …

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Want to know more about chasing waterfalls near Redding? Check out the full Visit Redding waterfalls page.

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