Waterfall Hat Trick
History: The McCloud river is fed by streams draining the south slopes of Mt Shasta in the Cascade Mountain Range. Archaeologists determined that the Wintu Indians occupied this area seasonally and the area was used as a fishing and hunting base. Fishing for Salmon was particularly good due to several waterfalls which interfered with their progress upstream. T.B.Fowler homesteaded this land in the late 1800s and built cottages to accommodate travelers on the nearby stage road. With its rich history, the Forest Service acquired the land in a deal with a lumber company in 1932, and it has been a managed recreational area since.
Hike: Starting at the Lower Falls day use area, you will find water available and a restroom. The McCloud River normally has a strong flow and the sound of the river will be evident. Just a short quarter of a mile will bring you to an overlook of the Lower Falls. Its very popular with fishermen and it makes a great swimming hole but the water is sure cold. Huge boulders provide ample open seating and places to just relax to the sound of the stream and soak up the sun. The trail continues to the east along the river with a gradual grade. The river is lined with huge stands of Ponderosa Pine which provides for the many birds and squirrels. Black bear frequent the area as well as bobcats. Keeping an eye on the river, you may see a river otter. The trail meanders but keeps the river in sight the entire hike. At about a mile and a half you can hear Middle Falls ahead. It is much more spectacular. The view of the falls is great with many large boulders inviting you to stay a while and on a warm day enjoy the cool mist which accompanies the falls. Continuing on the trail, it does a switchback at this location as you have to get up and over the river channel to get to the upper falls which lies about half a mile ahead. A couple more switchbacks brings you to a set of stairs to make the final ascent. The trail is very interesting in this section and sits like a shelf in the basalt high above the river below. The Upper Falls are soon heard but not seen. Coming around a corner the falls come into view if only partially. The river is more contained here and the water is forced between basalt rock cliffs causing increased turbulence. The power of the water cutting thru the rock is evident. There are several more view points of the upper falls on the trail ahead but none offer a full frontal view of the entire display. Never the less it is impressive. The official trail ends here but you can continue on for a distance. Getting your fill, return the way you came.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.