Waterfalls in Tahoe National Forest

by Ted on February 14, 2008

Hunting for Waterfalls in Tahoe National Forest

( GPS Lat/Lon )


Tahoe National Forest is truly one of the most gorgeous places on earth. There are endless outdoor recreation opportunities in every season, ranging from snow skiing and snow boarding, to river rafting and camping. And there’s nothing like taking a hike up to a cascading waterfall in the warm months. There are quite a few waterfalls to choose from if you look hard enough.

If you’ve got the kids with you or you’re just looking for an easy day hike, check out a nice little one called Love’s Falls (Lat/Long: 39.58109N, 120.60712W). It’s located near Sierra City where you can also find the Pacific Crest Trail (a great hike in love-falls-calif.jpgitself). Turn south onto Wild Plum Road off Highway 49 and you’ll see the trailhead about a mile down.

As long as you’re in Sierra County, you’ve got to check out Webber Falls (Lat/Long: 39.48405N, 120.39080W). This one is a beautiful falls, dropping around 50 feet at the end (the big drop is preceded by two smaller falls upstream). It’s a favorite spot in the spring for hiking and viewing the powerful water, and for swimming in the summer when the Little Truckee River is a bit tamer. You’ll really experience the beauty of the Sierras when you see this one.

In Placer County you can find several great falls along the American River. One must-see is Heath Falls (Lat/Long: 39.25083N, 120.40186W), which is especially stunning in the spring. Be careful though, this hike is not recommended for small children as it falls.jpgis quite strenuous. If you’re up to it (and you have a high-clearance vehicle), it is absolutely worth the difficult hike down the gorge to see this amazing sight. You can get there by taking the Soda Springs exit off I-80 to Soda Springs Road, then right onto Pahatsi Road. Continue past the Palisade Creek trailhead (stay right at the fork) all the way to the Royal Gorge warming hut where you need to stay left. Go another half mile to the trailhead.

Another strenuous hike is worthwhile to see the simply magnificent 1300-foot-high Wildcat Canyon Falls (Lat/Long: 39.19947N, 120.45607W) in Placer County. The trail that will take you to the best viewing point is an old mining trail leading down to the Walker Mine in Wildcat Canyon. It may take a bit of searching to find where the trail starts from Foresthill Road. I would recommend getting a good hiking book with detailed directions on how to get to this one; it is well worth it as long as you bring lots of water and good hiking gear.

If you happen to reside in Sacramento and want to get away with an easy hike to a pretty waterfall, I’d suggest Devil’s Falls (39.03906N, 120.89346W). It has been called the easiest waterfall to get to in the Sacramento area. It’s only about an hour’scalif-falls.jpg drive out of the city and does not require that you step out of your car. From the roadside, you will see the bottom 40 ft. or so of Devil’s Falls. The total height of the falls is about 100 ft and you can see it if you head up the path from the road.

Again, there is no shortage of gorgeous waterfalls in the high Sierras. Best of all, there is a variety of difficult to easy hikes for every type of waterfall hunter. Take a nice Sunday drive with the family to get out of the city, or make a weekend of hardcore hiking with your buddies. Either way, the high Sierras have much to offer in the way of waterfalls.

©Ted McCaleb

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }


Utah Outdoors 03.12.08 at 1:25 pm

dang i go to tahoe/truckee at least 2x a year and i dont even think ive been to any of those waterfalls. the place my dad usually trys to get us to go is eagle lake and this other trail off s.lake tahoe (sorry cant remember the name of it) Heath Falls looks like it would be awesome. Ill have to plan to see one of those on my next trip there 🙂


Hotels in Wales for Me! 07.02.08 at 12:03 am

Yeah there are a lot of cool places in this post. Some pretty tough hikes but the rewarding views have to be worth it don’t they!

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