Hike to Middle McCloud Falls

California Fowlers Campground

Added by

Beautiful waterfall and swimming hole 4 hours north of San Francisco. This is a great spot for photography or picnicking. The Waterfall is 50 feet high and 80 feet across.

Just 4 hours north of San Francisco, McCloud Falls offers a quick hike and swimming hole for those looking for something less crowded than Burney Falls. McCloud Falls has 3 tiers, but the middle section offers the best views by far.

To get here, park at the Fowlers Campground which is roughly 5 miles east of the town of McCloud. Follow signs for the Lower McCloud Falls picnic area, veering right on the road.

From the parking lot, it's an easy 1.5 miles on a paved trail. There will be a sign along the trail when you're about .5 miles away from the overlook. Once there, you can choose to admire it from afar, or climb down the hill to get up close and personal. Many choose to take a swim or jump into the chilly water, while others eat their packed lunch on the rocks while taking in the falls. Once you're done, continue along the trail towards Upper Falls, or head back out the way you came to get back to the parking lot.

Pick up food nearby at Mountain Star Cafe in McCloud. They'll wrap up sandwiches or wraps for your picnic. 

Pack List

  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Lunch or snacks
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • ND filters
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How to Get There

about 2 months ago

Great falls!

We stopped here quickly on the last day of our week long northern California road trip last June. Falls had a really good flow and we had the place all to ourselves at about 8 am on a Friday morning.

about 2 months ago

4 months ago

Great place for a picnic

My girlfriend and I made quick stop here on our drive to Crater Lake. The parking lot is easy to find and the trail is pretty quick down to the swimming pool. Even on a crowded summer day the area is large enough to find a rock to perch on top of and dry off in the sun after swimming in the frigid water.

4 months ago

5 months ago

Leaves bigger than your head!

This is a great secluded campground, especially beautiful in the fall where the leaves are red and golden. Not crowded in the least bit, but better visit quick, that's certain to change quickly.

5 months ago

11 months ago


Great waterfall and swimming hole with minimal effort required. Definitely bring your camera!

11 months ago

about 1 year ago

Beautiful and rewarding hike! Middle McCloud falls are a wonderful site to see I would Definitely recommend it to anyone! The swimming hole below the falls is an excellent swimming hole with cool water and high cliffs to jump off

Be careful in winter as the trail is steep!

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Amazing Even In The Snow!

We hiked this on 2/13/16 and it was very snowy! We just about managed it in trainers although it was a little slippery in places! We hiked to lower falls first, then middle falls, and then upper falls and back along the road to the car. It was about 6 miles altogether and well worth it. If you're limited on time just do middle falls - it was incredible! When you park you need to head through the campground to the trail - it may be more clear without 3ft of snow but it took us a bit of time to find where we were going!

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago


Seldom are we rewarded with such amazing scenery with so little work. Easy hike. I went in late October to see the fall colors and had the campground, trail, and falls all to myself.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Great spot in NorCal!

Great place to hang out, swim around, and jump at! Tried helping a pal put up a first ascent of the wall to the right of the falls but wasn't able to - the rock was crazy loose.

over 1 year ago

Added by Lisa Bao

Photographer based out of San Francisco, CA. Focusing on travel and landscapes, my aim is to inspire others to get outside and connect with their own adventures.


Chillin, Camping, Photography, Swimming, Hiking

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



1.5 Miles



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

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