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Written by Jessica Moore
Outdoor enthusiasts understand there’s nothing quite like hiking in California. Known for its stunning natural vistas and inspiring long stretches of coasts, lush fields, glistening lakes, and towering mountains, this heart-stopping beauty that is California makes outdoor outings extra special. Waterfalls in California are no exception.
Hiking is great, but hiking toward a waterfall as your destination is truly where it’s at.
We’ve lined up the best waterfall weekend trips to take your hiking excursions up a notch. But first, here are a few pro-tips to make your waterfall excursions unforgettable:
So tie up those hiking boots, grab your trail mix, bring some sunscreen, and get ready to see water crash!
Ever see a waterfall crash into the ocean? Get ready to, because this waterfall is a natural wonder all on its own. Located in the Phillip Burton Wilderness in northern California, you’re going to awe at the 30-foot waterfall against the cliff. Pack a small picnic and lay out a blanket on the sand near the waterfall for a scene you won’t forget.
Big Sur by itself is a stunning west coast destination, with so many trails, vistas, and beaches, it can be overwhelming to try to absorb all that Big Sur has to offer in one day. So plan a weekend trip and stay at a yurt for an au natural romantic getaway.
The well-kept Limekiln trails feature running creeks, gigantic redwood trees, expansive moss, and metal kilns, which are old furnaces from the earth 20th century that are largely intact (perfect for adding a vintage rustic element to your ‘gram). You’ll pass a smaller waterfall that’s relatively easy to get to. Follow the trail and stream crossings to the 100-foot waterfall crashing against limestone. Make sure to take a moment to listen to the trickling water, feel that awesome waterfall spray, and take in all the sounds of nature.
People from all over the world flock to see the wonders that is Yosemite. In fact, in the summertime, you can experience all four seasons in one day driving through this beautiful national park.
Start out on the Happy Isles Trail for a close look at Vernal Falls, which is a 317-foot waterfall that is all kinds of majestic. Follow the one-mile trail and cross the Vernal Footbridge that leads to the top of the waterfall. The best time to visit any waterfall is after a good rain, but make sure to proceed with the utmost caution, as any powerful waterfall can be really slippery.
Oh, Lake Tahoe. End your summer the right way by visiting Tahoe for a weekend for swimming and hiking and immerse yourself in spectacular views of the lake.
Cascade Falls consist of 200-foot waterfalls along a rocky cliffside, with trees as tall as buildings as far as the eye can see. This relatively easy hike to the waterfalls is in South Lake Tahoe and starts at the Bayview Campground. Follow the trail and you’ll make it to the falls in less than an hour. Take a dip in the creek just below the falls, but proceed with caution, as the water can tend to rush at a fast rate.
LA city dwellers, you’ve got waterfalls too, don’t you worry.
Head over to Eaton Canyon located in the San Gabriel Mountains near Pasadena for an eccentric hike to a 40-foot waterfall. Due to dry conditions in southern California, it’s never a guaranteed rush of water, but it’s best to visit preferably after a good rain. Along the way, you’ll breeze through the mostly flat trail and get to see the awesome graffiti on old concrete and broken down structures. Running streams and boulders will lead you to the waterfall. More often than not, you’ll see a family wading and splashing through the waist-deep pool beneath, or couples enjoying a picnic on gigantic rocks or near running creeks. This is a popular trail. If you’re you’re dead set on basking in nature in solitude, this waterfall probably isn’t for you. But what you will witness are LA natives celebrating this waterfall tucked in the mountains.