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10 Unbelievable Northern California Waterfalls Hiding In Plain Sight… No Hiking Required

The weather is perfect for a little waterfall fun. As much as we love to hike into the depths of a cool forest for a hidden treasure like this, there’s something about driving up and just walking a few steps for the prize, am I right? If you’re not into hiking for miles and miles, these falls below are an EASY hop, skip and a jump from the road. Seriously — EASY. Just in case you’re not up for hiking in the summer heat, we’ve put together a few of our favorite waterfalls that need little to no exertion on your part to get there. Enjoy!

1. Kinner Falls

This oasis is a narrow waterfall and it drops 139 feet into the Pitt River below. About 90 minutes from the city of Redding, it’s a lovely and easily accessible waterfall.

2. Lion Slide Falls

Just a short walk from Big Bend Road, it’s far from a hike. We DO NOT recommend using a kayak to enjoy Lion Slide at Hatchet Falls, but this is still a pretty cool way to beat the heat. Use your kayak to enjoy it from the bottom of the falls, NOT the top!

3. Little Hawaii Falls

Located in Manton, this lush waterfall may not be King when it comes to water flow, but it wows us with its lush vegetation and moss everywhere. A little slice of Hawaiian paradise right in our own NORCAL backyard.

4. Lost Creek Falls

Summer is the perfect time to head over here. A selfie is a must. How else can you make your friends jealous? You can find this exquisite spot in Hat Creek, which is about ninety minutes from the city of Redding.

5. McCloud River Lower Falls

One of three McCloud Falls and this 12 foot plunge is a doozy! But, if you’re not into jumping in, you can sunbathe on the large flat rocks and just listen to the roar of the falls. Better yet, enjoy the campgrounds close by!

6. Mossbrae Falls

If you find yourself in Dunsmuir then you need to add this to your must-see list. Mossbrae Falls is over 50 feet of cascading water year-round. The Sacramento River runs below and is the sweetest spot for some family photos and summer fun.

7. Bassi Falls

This one’s a beauty! Full disclosure here, there’s an easy walk from Ice House Rd. in Pollock Pines to this spot – BUT, some like to take the 2-3 mile walk from the campground. We’re more interested in the easy walk from the road on this one.

8. Sempervirens Falls

You can find this slice of heaven in the Big Basin National Park. Take the well-marked spur trail downhill, cross the road, and walk down a few steps to the viewing platform. Next to the platform, Sempervirens Creek falls over a 10-foot-high ledge and into a deep pool in a little sanctuary grotto.

9. Basin Falls

Uvas Canyon County Park in Morgan Hill is home to this 20 foot cascading waterfall. An easy trek to this place is just what the doctor ordered. Oh, and a lazy day to go right along with it.

10. Alamere Falls

This 40 foot waterfall can be found on the bluffs of Point Reyes. One of the most amazing beach waterfalls in Northern California, it’s a no-brainer of a bucket list trip. When are you going?

Just in case you haven’t got your fill of Northern California waterfalls, take a peek at 15 more that might be worth a longer hike to. Put a few down on your calendar. Life is short–go for it!

Joanne Kraft
Joanne is a fourth-generation Northern Californian. She knows good sour dough bread when she tastes it and understands the best parts of the Golden State are nowhere near Los Angeles.