Back before there was Mari and Ben, there was Toby and Raley. They were my first children and the thought of leaving them behind for a hike or a camping trip was incomprehensible. They wagged their tails and happily hopped in the car and went along with whatever journey I had up my sleeve. Today, the dogs don’t join us nearly as many trips as they used to because honestly, two toddlers are hard enough to wrangle, let alone two dogs! Luckily, things are getting easier. Soon Toby and Raley will be hopping back in the car and walking alongside us on the trail. Until then, I have memories of trips past, including the one we took to McCloud Falls.
McCloud Falls are actually three different waterfalls located within two miles of each other along the McCloud River in Northeastern California, not far from Mt Shasta. There is a trail that runs along the river connecting each of the falls and the entire roundtrip hike is 3.4 miles. Its a great little hike for families with three different destinations along the way!
The Lower Falls are the most popular due to their accessibility. They are only twelve feet high but the water takes a powerful plunge over those twelve feet into a wide pool below, creating a beautiful scene. The base of the falls is a popular spot for swimming and picnicking. The edge Lower Falls is also a popular cliff jumping spot. There was absolutely no way you were going to get me to take the plunge (one fall off a cliff will do that to you) but Paul and my friend Kristi were happy to take the plunge over and over again while Toby howled with worry.
The Middle Falls are the most impressive of the trio. They are 46 feet tall and nearly 100 feet wide. The area surrounding the pool has plenty of boulders around it, perfect for soaking up the sun after swimming in the chilly waters at the base of the falls.
The Upper Falls are just a couple minutes up the trail from the Middle Falls and shoot over the edge to a pool 25 feet below. Most people only view them from the platform above but I have read that you can scramble your way down to the bottom.
Camping along the McCloud River is a wonderful way to spend a family vacation and explore a part of California that few people ever see. I look forward to taking Mari and Ben to McCloud Falls with my original babies one day, and making some new memories as a complete family.
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