The McCloud River Falls Trail takes you past three beautiful waterfalls in just under two miles. There are several campgrounds and picnic sites along this relatively easy trail, making it a good option for a leisurely afternoon with your favorite four-legged explorer. Don't forget your camera and your dog's favorite treats.
The trail begins right at the first of the three falls. The Lower Falls Picnic Area has bathrooms and picnic tables, as well as parking. Do note that this area and parking lot are for day use only. A little further up the trail is Fowler's Campground which offers overnight parking and camping for a fee. After your first visit, you might just want to come back and reserve a spot to linger here longer. The McCloud River is considered to be one of California's most scenic waterways.
Lower McCloud Falls is a tranquil fifteen-foot cataract that spills into a circular pool in a bowl of basalt rock. It's a popular swimming spot for people brave enough to plunge into the cold water. As you journey past the falls, you'll make a gentle ascent along the river's edge, passing in and out of the shade of the surrounding coniferous forest. After Fowler's Campground, the trail narrows and becomes less crowded.
Prepare for Middle McCloud Falls to take your breath away. This roaring tumble of water is fifty feet high and a hundred feet wide. Not only is it the largest waterfall in the Mount Shasta area, it is particularly scenic, surrounded by a curtain of tall pines and nestled into a deep, shaded ravine. Moss, ferns, and other shade-loving plants grow on and around the rock faces next to the falls, giving the area the feel of an enchanted garden.
Continue up some stairs built into the hard volcanic rock and through a few switchbacks and you'll soon be at the next waterfall. At about 25 feet, Upper McCloud Falls isn't as tall as the middle falls, but it's just as photogenic, with a completely different look. Here, the river pours through a narrow gap in the basalt. Jagged rocks jut at all angles around the powerful chute, framing the lush green forest beyond in a unique and dramatic way.
These waterfalls are great to visit again and again. They are beautiful in every season, draped with lush green foliage in the summer and fringes of orange and gold in the fall. There are parking areas and quick access to all three, making these scenic vistas a great place to return just to share a peaceful moment and some treats with your best friend. This pawsome, dog-friendly place should be at the top of your list any time you're in the Mount Shasta area.