June 21, 2023


Whiskeytown Falls at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area outside Redding, CA

Are you feeling the need for a nature escape? Then we’ve got a treat for you: the waterfalls at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area don’t disappoint—each one is a wonder set amidst the area’s natural beauty.

Located in Northern California, Whiskeytown Lake is home to some of the most stunning waterfalls in the Shasta Cascade region. Here, we’re spotlighting four of them: Whiskeytown Falls, Brandy Creek Falls, Crystal Creek Falls, and Boulder Creek Falls.

So, put on your hiking boots, grab your camera, and make your way down Highway 299 to experience the tranquil beauty of Whiskeytown waterfalls and the trails that lead you there.

Exploring Whiskeytown Waterfalls

Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or an easy out-and-back walk to a waterfall, Whiskeytown Lake trails have what you’re looking for. Read on to find the right waterfall adventure for you.

If you have questions or need help along the way, the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area Visitor Center is open daily from 9 AM – 5 PM. It’s also a great picnic area with a stunning lake view!

Cascading Whiskeytown Falls in Redding CA

Whiskeytown Falls | Photo Credit: @apaigephotography

1) Whiskeytown Falls

Whiskeytown Falls was a well-guarded secret for over 40 years, only rediscovered in 2004. This 220-foot waterfall is tucked away within the dense forests of the park, the tallest of the four waterfalls in the park and truly a sight to behold.

The hike up to this majestic beauty on the Whiskeytown Falls Trail is a fulfilling adventure in itself. Be prepared for some steep inclines as this 2.7-mile out-and-back journey takes you through a canopy of conifers and old oaks, whispering tales of age-old wilderness.

As the sound of rushing water grows louder, you’re met with the awe-inspiring Whiskeytown Falls cascading ahead of you. This is a sight that’s worth the hike! It’s a perfect spot to take a break, soak in the beauty, and snap some photos to capture the moment.

Once at the falls, try taking the rock-and-boulder “stairs” up to where the falls extend from for a beautiful view. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the rusty handrail towards the left of the falls.

Brandy Creek Falls at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area west of Redding, CA

Brandy Creek Falls | Photo Credit: @sis_sees

2) Brandy Creek Falls

Next up, Brandy Creek Falls. This waterfall is a multi-tiered spectacle and a favorite among visitors. Unfortunately, the area is currently closed due to the aftermath of the Carr Fire. But don’t worry! Efforts are underway to restore this stunning area to its former glory.

When it does reopen, prepare yourself for a moderately challenging hike before reaching the main five-tiered waterfall. The largest drop is about 70 feet, and there are a few smaller cascades downstream.

This hidden gem can be accessed by a 2.5-mile round trip hike through the beautiful forest, which is full of lush ferns and towering trees. The trail itself is moderate in difficulty, but the scenery along the way is breathtaking. For a longer Brandy Creek Trail hike, begin at Brandy Creek Beach and plan for about four hours from start to finish.

One of the best parts about Brandy Creek Falls is it’s usually less crowded than other waterfalls in the area. This means you can take your time to enjoy the beauty of the falls and take plenty of photos without feeling rushed.

Because the waterfall is surrounded by trees, it is shaded for most of the day, so it’s a great place to cool off on a hot summer day. The gentle spray of water, the lush greenery, and the symphony of rushing water create an almost mystical ambiance.

While we eagerly await its reopening, let’s explore two other cascading wonders Whiskeytown has to offer!


Crystal Creek Falls at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area just west of Redding, CA

Crystal Creek Falls | Photo Credit: @susanlbarnes

3) Crystal Creek Falls

Crystal Creek Falls is another breathtaking sight that should not be missed. This 40-foot waterfall is located along the James K. Carr Trail, which is a moderately difficult hike that spans about 2.2 miles round trip.

As you make your way along the easy 0.7-mile out-and-back Crystal Creek Falls Trail, you’ll be surrounded by towering trees, lush foliage, and the tranquil sounds of Crystal Creek. The trail is well-maintained, with plenty of spots to stop and take in the scenery along the way.

When you reach Crystal Creek Falls, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning sight that’s sure to take your breath away.

For those looking for a longer hike, the James K. Carr Trail connects with the Mill Creek Trail, which leads to Whiskeytown Falls. This longer hike spans about 4.5 miles round trip, and takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the park.

Boulder Creek Falls at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area outside Redding, CA

Boulder Creek Falls | Photo Credit: @jackattacktodak

4) Boulder Creek Falls

Lastly, we have Boulder Creek Falls, a series of three cascades hidden deep within the park’s wilderness. The hike to this waterfall takes you through mixed conifer forests, over charming footbridges, and past sparkling creeks.

Be prepared for a 1.5-mile steep hike up the road to reach the Mill Creek Road Trailhead. From there, the 1.9-mile out-and-back trail will take you an average of about 45 minutes to complete.

Once you reach the falls, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of water cascading over 138 feet of granite into a clear pool below. It’s a tranquil spot to enjoy a picnic or simply soak in the beauty of nature.

Wind Down at Whiskeytown Lake

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is more than just a place to hike; it’s a place to connect with nature, recharge your batteries, and create unforgettable memories.
If you want to bring your dog with you, you’ll be glad to know that—unlike national parks—the hiking trails in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area are dog-friendly. Please keep your dog on a leash and remember to clean up after them along the way.

We can’t wait for you to explore thee amazing waterfalls and experience the magic for yourself. Just remember to leave no trace and respect the park’s rules to preserve these beautiful places for generations to come.



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