12 Best Waterfall Hikes in Northern California

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When it comes to chasing waterfalls, you’d be hard-pressed to find a region in North America more prolific than Northern California. From a sheer numbers perspective, the place is home to an essentially inexhaustible supply of bucket list contenders. But it’s not just the amount of waterfalls you’ll find; it’s the staggering variety. Along the rugged coast, there are tidefalls that cascade off of sea bluffs and spill into the ocean. Farther inland, deep within the old-growth forests of Shasta County, splendorous 100-foot cascades drop into exotic emerald pools. In the venerable Yosemite National Park, you’ll find one of the tallest tiered waterfalls in the world. To sum it up, it’s a waterfall lover’s paradise, and while it’s not easy to narrow them down, these 12 will offer a solid start.

1. Crystal Creek Falls

Just 10 miles from Redding, Crystal Creek Falls is the perfect intro to Northern California waterfalls. From the parking lot in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, you’ll take the paved, level path to a well-maintained picnic area—the falls are just beyond that. Bonus: the trailhead is adjacent to the start of the James K. Carr Trail, which you can take to the nearby Whiskeytown Falls.

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