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.
The World Bucket List’s top tips for visiting waterfalls in Northern California
- Make sure to have a look at the weather conditions before heading to your chosen waterfall and if it is suitable to go.
- Timing is key – the flow will depend on the season, so again be up to speed with the best times to go.
- It is essential to bring with you the relevant gear, such as shoes for hiking, a backpack and clothing for swimming.
- Also make sure to respect the wildlife, which is rich in Northern California.
- Lastly, make sure to see if there are any permits or fees required for visiting any waterfalls in Northern California.
10. Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park – an iconic location
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
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 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
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
For a breathtaking view of 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, 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
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
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
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. It is on par with some of the best waterfalls in Maui.
Address: California 94924, United States
1. Root Creek Falls, Castle Crags State Park – in the shadow of a mountain
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
Your questions answered about the most beautiful waterfalls in Northern California
If you still have questions, we have you covered! In this section, we’ve compiled some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions and popular questions that have been asked online about this topic.
What waterfall in Northern California flows into the ocean?
The Alamere Falls flows directly from a cliffside into the Pacific Ocean. It is a stunning sight to behold.
Where is the largest underwater waterfall on Earth?
This lies beneath the Denmark Strait, that separates Iceland and Greenland. The waterfall is almost a 3.2 km (2 mile) drop.
Where is the biggest waterfall in California?
Yosemite National Park is home to the biggest waterfall in California, Yosemite Falls.
What is the deepest waterfall in the world?
The deepest waterfall in the world is regarded to be Angel Falls in Venezuela.
Read more here: our list of the highest waterfalls in the world