Top 10 beautiful waterfalls in Northern California

From mountainous cascades in Yosemite National Park to beachside torrents, Northern California is home to some stunning waterfalls to ignite the imagination.

Known for its vast landscape, the Golden State is abundant with natural beauty and scenic wonder. If you fancy chasing waterfalls, here are the ten most beautiful waterfalls in Northern California.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect spot to snap a mystical Instagram shot or you just want to shower in the great outdoors, California is home to an abundance of waterfalls for all types of adventurers.

10. Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park – an iconic location

Yosemite Falls is one of the most famous.
Credit: Pixabay / 12019

Yosemite Falls, located in Yosemite National Park, starts our list of beautiful waterfalls in Northern California on a high.

One of the world’s tallest waterfalls, this incredible cascade is actually made up of three separate falls. Upper stands at an astounding 1,430 ft (436 m), Middle at 675 ft (205 m), and Lower at 320 ft (98 m).

Address: Yosemite Village, CA 95389, United States

9. Potem Falls, Montgomery Creek – a popular swimming spot

Potem Falls is one of the most incredible waterfalls in Northern California.
Credit: Instagram / @i_rather_be_camping

This stunning 70 ft (21 m) waterfall is known as a popular weekend swim spot for locals in the area.

With an easy 0.4 km (0.25 miles) hike to reach this spot, Potem Falls is also a popular choice with families.

Address: California 96003, United States

8. Whiskeytown Falls, Whiskeytown National Recreation Centre – a hidden gem

Whiskeytown Falls is a hidden gem.
Credit: Flickr / Eric Leslie

Whiskeytown Falls is nicknamed ‘Hidden Falls’, thanks to its remote location in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Centre.

Standing at an incredible 220 ft (67 m) tall, this waterfall even has a natural stairway running up the left-hand side. Thus, allowing visitors to get up close to the water rushing down the rocks.

Address: California 96087, United States

7. Burney Falls, Redding – a scenic spot

Burney Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Northern California.
Credit: Instagram / @mfrivera

Named by President Theodore Roosevelt as the ‘eighth Wonder of the World, ’ Burney Falls is a must add to your NorCal waterfall bucket list.

Located between Lassen Peak and Mout Shasta, this fantastic 129 ft (39 m) falls tumbles down into Burney Creek below. Visit at sunset for a truly atmospheric experience.

Address: California 96013, United States

6. Rainbow Falls, Devil’s Postpile National Monument – a classic waterfall

Rainbow Falls is an amazing sight to behold.
Credit: Flickr / Bill Gracey

For a classic waterfall that you’d spot on a picture postcard or laptop lock screen, visit Rainbow Falls on the San Joaquin River.

This is perhaps one of the most iconic natural sights in the United States.

Dropping a massive 101 ft (31 m), this incredible cascade creates a mass of colour and mist as it crashes into the waters below. Midday is the best time to catch the rainbows, from which the waterfall takes its name.

Address: California, United States

5. Kings Creek Falls, Lassen Park – for dramatic cascades

Kings Creek Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Northern California.
Credit: Instagram / @tuesdaysurfer

Kings Creek Falls is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Northern California.

Located in Lassen Park, these immense 40 ft (12 m) falls are popular with both hikers and photographers. Gushing down the cliffside, Kings Creek Falls is one of the most dramatic in the area, making it a must-visit.

Address: California, United States

4. McCloud Falls, Mount Shasta – three waterfalls in one

McCloud Waterfall comprises three falls in one.
Credit: Instagram / @stewart.carnes

For something extra special, pay a visit to McCloud Falls.

This mesmerising torrent actually consists of three waterfalls: Upper, Middle, and Lower. Middle McCloud Falls is the most popular with visitors. However, many make a day of it, hiking to all three.

Address: Upper Fall Rd, McCloud, CA 96057, United States

3. Hedge Creek Falls, Dunsmuir – for a fairytale experience

Hedge Creek Falls is one of the most incredible waterfalls in Northern California.
Credit: Flickr / Eric Leslie

This small yet scenic waterfall offers visitors a much more intimate experience than some of the other falls on this list.

Cascading in front of a 12 ft (3.7 m) high cave, this stunning waterfall is like something from a fantasy film.

Address: 4131 Dunsmuir Ave, Dunsmuir, CA 96025, United States

2. Alamere Falls, Point Reyes National Seashore – for a seaside shower

Alamere Falls is truly unique.
Credit: Flickr / Jeff

This beachside falls is a unique addition to our list. This rare 30 ft (9 m) ‘tidefall’ flows directly into the ocean, making it a popular visitor attraction.

Accessible by a 13 km (8 miles) hike, this spot is well worth a visit.

Address: California 94924, United States

1. Root Creek Falls, Castle Crags State Park – in the shadow of a mountain

Root Creek Falls is one of the most iconic waterfalls in Northern California.
Credit: Instagram /

Topping our list of the most beautiful waterfalls in Northern California is the stunning Root Creek Falls.

Set in the shadow of the magnificent Castle Dome, this gorgeous waterfall is truly a sight to behold. With several nearby trails through Castle Crags State Park, this cascade proves popular with hikers and day walkers.

Address: Pacific Crest Trail, Castella, CA 96017, United States

Siân McQuillan
Siân McQuillan
Siân McQuillan is a writer and travel lover from County Down, Northern Ireland. While she enjoys travelling to other countries and exploring new places, she loves nothing more than discovering all the wonders her home country of Ireland has to offer. When not writing about her travel experiences, Siân can be found exploring the great outdoors and will more than likely be somewhere near the Mourne Mountains or the Causeway Coast.

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