Scenic USA - California

Lower Falls - McCloud River

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Lower Falls of the McCloud River - Siskiyou County, California

Photo by Ken Reece
Ken Reece Photography
McCloud River inset courtesy of the USFS

     It's been a while since Mother McCloud ensured a smooth running lumbering operation and a town full of happy McCloud River Lumber Company workers. It's been much, much longer since an expedition of the Hudson Bay Company first explored the McCloud River Valley. Led by trapper Alexander McLeod, this exploration party was most likely the first white men to witness this scenic section of the Cascade Range in northern California.
     From under the lofty gaze of Mount Shasta, the McCloud River gathers momentum and passes through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Paralleling the Sacramento River, the McCloud joins Lake Shasta after its 50 mile run. It's here on the Upper McCloud where you'll find a waterfall trio, McCloud River - Siskiyou County, California often called the Falls of the McCloud River. The park entrance and parking lot is near the lower falls, and a hiking trail follows the river upstream to the middle and upper falls. Although it's a steep climb to the Middle Falls overlook, here hikers are rewarded with grand views of Mount Shasta and Castle Crags. Captured in this inviting view, the Upper McCloud River flows over huge basalt ledges, remnants of a once very active Cascade Mountain Range. In fact, the nearby Mount Shasta is found to be an excellent example of a stratovolcano. Located near the southern terminus of the Cascade Range, Shasta is made up of several overlapping volcanic cones, with four or more vents. Standing alone, with no other surrounding mountains, the snow covered Mount Shasta always makes for an impressive sight.

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