25 California Waterfalls You Need to Explore This Spring

California, United States


A heavy winter of rain and snow means an epic spring of waterfall adventures.

The winter California has needed for so long finally arrived this year. You can practically feel mother nature's sigh of relief as the rain and snow continue to pummel the state. Besides revitalizing California's snowpack, rivers, and lakes, the seemingly never-ending precipitation also results in an epic surge of power throughout the state's waterfalls. If you visited Yosemite a few years ago, you would have been pretty disappointed by some the falls' lackluster. But as the snow melts and the rivers rage this spring, all of California's waterfalls will be absolutely roaring. To be sure you don't miss out, check out our list of some of our favorite waterfalls throughout California and start making plans for spring adventures.

1. Hike to Burney Falls

Photo: Lisa Bao

2. Hike to Phantom Falls

Photo: Xavier Salgado

3. Hike to Mossbrae Falls

Photo: Mark Handy

4. Hike to Alamere Falls

Photo: Jake Young

5. Take in Iconic McWay Falls

Photo: Stephen Bellrichard

Note: Highway 1 is currently closed near Big Sur due to mudslides. Check the California Department of Transportation website for updates.

6. Hike to Middle McCloud Falls

Photo: Lisa Bao

7. Hike to Upper Yosemite Falls

Photo: Tiffany Nguyen

8. Hike to Lower Yosemite Falls

Photo: Beth Young

9. Hike to Nevada Falls

Photo: Kristina Zhylenkova

10. Hike to Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls

Photo: Aaron Bird

11. Hike the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls

Photo: Brynn Schmidt

12. Hike to Illilouette Falls

Photo: Sarah Giek

13. Hike to Mist Falls

Photo: Matt Purciel

14. Hike to Waterwheel Falls

Photo: Alex Souza

15. Hike to the top of the Chilnualna Falls

Photo: Josh Currie

16. Hike to Grizzly Lake

Photo: TJ Orton

17. Cliff Jump at Hatchet Falls

Photo: Shawn Ford

18. Explore Deer Creek Falls

Photo: Jake Young

19. Hike and Camp along the Palisades Creek Trail

Photo: Joey Washburn

20. Hike to Fairy Falls (Shingle Falls)

Photo: Annalise Del Rio

21. Hike to Frazier Falls

Photo: Ben Bardet

22. Hike to Bassi Falls

Photo: Beth Young

23. Hike to Nisene Marks’ Maple Falls

Photo: Joshua Scruggs

24. Backpack to Glen Aulin

Photo: Alex Souza

25. Hike to Darwin Falls

Photo: Korey Taylor

Bonus: Hike to the North Fork Dam of Lake Clementine

Photo: Clayton Herrmann

Since it's a manmade "waterfall," this makes the list as a bonus. Regardless of how it got there, it's worth a visit!

Cover photo: Lisa Bao

Published: February 13, 2017


Hi-Tec is committed to making rugged, durable footwear for outdoor trails and urban life, authentically inspired by everyday outdoor experience.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.

How Hiking the John Muir Trail Changed Me


We are all looking for big adventures in life. Being somewhere that is so immense and feeling the simplicity of the world all at once.

18 Saves

3 Days of Exploring Canyons and Chasing Sunsets in Southern California


It's winter, but here in Southern California you can still go camping without a winter coat. My girlfriend and I had a plan to go to Joshua Tree to celebrate the winter solstice.

27 Saves

A Solo Sierra Sprint


Traffic tends to wake me up at 4:30AM on the weekends. Not because of the noise or the lights, but because I have a special disdain for sitting still on an endless asphalt roadway.

15 Saves