These 7 Northern California Waterfalls Look Incredible During the Winter

It may go against all your instincts to go chasing waterfalls during the winter months. After all, many of the best waterfalls in NorCal are in high elevation areas, making the hikes cold and wet. It’s quite a different experience than going on a relaxing hike in the summer months.

But when the rain and snow hit the hills during a big storm, some of these waterfalls go crazy! The winter of 2017 was a great example of how different these falls can look when the heavy precipitation hits the North State. By going back through the photos of that winter, we found the seven waterfalls that will look amazing when the winter storms hit:

1. Burney Falls

Two years ago, Burney Falls hit flood stage, pumping up 250 millions of gallons of water off the falls per day. This waterfall is beautiful everyday, but seeing this much water fall 129 feet to the ground is quite the spectacle. Usually Burney Falls looks like this:

And this is how it could look when the winter storms hit:

Now that’s a lot of water! Read all about the Eighth Wonder of the World – Burney Falls.

2. Potem Falls

Located near Montgomery Creek, CA off of Hwy 299, Potem Falls is a 70-foot waterfall on the Pit River arm of Shasta Lake. For good reasons, it has become a popular weekend swim spot in recent years.

During the summer and fall months, after much of the snowfall has already melted and there hasn’t been much rain for months, Potem Falls can look like this:

That’s pretty, right? Well once the winter picks up, this waterfall can explode with water. Check out what it looked like during the winter of 2016/17:

That’s a big difference! Read all about Northern California’s most blissful waterfall – Potem Falls.

3. McCloud Falls

The three tiers of McCloud Falls are gorgeous year round and while they are more pleasant to visit during the warmer months, these falls can really come alive in the winter. Here is what Middle McCloud Falls looks like in the summer:
No matter the flow, Middle McCloud Falls is amazing. But when the winter hits, it turns into a completely different waterfall. This is how it can look when the flows are high:

And when the water’s flowing, daredevils can even kayak off the falls! Check it out:

Now that’s a cool transformation! Watch cliff jumpers put on a winter show at a GUSHING McCloud Falls.

4. Hedge Creek Falls

During summer months, particularly during drier years, Hedge Creek Falls isn’t much of a waterfall at all. It’s one of the smaller falls in the area and although it’s cool to see a waterfall cascade over a cave, the water flow can be quite low. Here is what the falls can look like during the summer months:

During the winter months, this waterfall can really come alive. See what Hedge Creek Falls looked like during a storm in 2017:

What a transformation! Read all about the short hike to Hedge Creek Falls.

5. Feather Falls

Before being accurately measured, Oroville’s Feather Falls was considered the sixth tallest waterfall in the United States. Though widely reported, the height of the falls is not 640-feet, but instead 410-feet (pretty impressive either way).

While this is a year-round waterfall, the water really comes alive during the winter. This is what the falls looks like in the summer months:

It’s an amazing waterfall due to its towering height, but it is especially incredible when the water flows increase. This is how it looked during last year’s winter months:

Who says chasing waterfalls is a summer sport? Read all about NorCal’s towering waterfall – Feather Falls.

6. Phantom Falls

Listing this waterfall may be cheating a little bit, since it’s basically non-existent in the summer months. As you can see, when it’s dry it just sits as a large canyon with no water:

In Table Mountain near Oroville, Table Falls comes alive into a 134-feet waterfall during the winter and spring months. See for yourself:

Yep, this waterfall is definitely better to visit in the winter! Read about The Phantom Falls Experience: 164-Feet of Pure Waterfall Bliss.

7. Yosemite Falls

Quite honestly, North America’s tallest waterfall is stunning year-round. Yosemite Falls is arguably the centerpiece of one of the world’s most popular parks, Yosemite National Park. Consisting of three tiers – Upper Yosemite Fall, the Middle Cascades, and Lower Yosemite Falls – the waterfalls is fun to explore through the summer months:

But when the rainy weather comes through the park, the 2,425-feet waterfalls comes alive with a show for the ages:

Such a beautiful sight to behold! Learn all about North America’s tallest waterfall – Yosemite Falls.

Have fun on your winter waterfall chasing adventure!

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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