Hatchet Creek Falls – The Best Swimming Hole in Northern California?

It's one of the most recognizable, as well as most popular, swimming holes in Northern California

Everybody loves Hatchet Falls (or Lions Slide Falls, depending on who you ask). A Montgomery Creek swimming hole, Hatchet Creek cascades down creating Lion Slide Falls and a large pool beneath. It’s one of the most recognizable, as well as most popular, swimming holes in Northern California.

Its familiarity amongst locals is most certainly due to the giant fallen tree that lays right in the middle of the falls, creating a makeshift stairway for swimmers to climb and jump into the water. At Hatchet Creek, kids can swim around in a shallower area formed by a dam. The waterfall and creek are easily accessible after a short trail walk. It’s the perfect place to spend a summer day.

Another popular feature with this swimming hole is the cliffs on either side of the falls where adrenaline junkies can perform cliff jumps. Take a look for yourself:

Now, to take that up a notch, there was even a kayaker who flew off the falls:

But at the end of the day, it’s really just a great spot to spend a summer day:


Take 299 East from Redding. From there, drive about 34 miles (passing through the towns of Round Mountain and Montgomery Creek) towards a signed turnoff for Big Bend Rd on the left. Big Bend Road is roughly 4.5 miles or so past the turnoff for Fenders Ferry Road. Follow Big Bend Road for the next 0.8 miles to a fairly large pullout on the right side of the road just before the road curved towards the bridge over Hatchet Creek. There are two paths to reach the falls. By far the easiest follows the edge of the creek after exiting the tunnel of vegetation. The more difficult path travels to the right and up the hill.

*Note We have known people who have been seriously injured climbing on the rocks above the swim hole. Please use caution.


Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


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    No wonder its caked with garbage and graffiti.

  2. Hatchet Creek/Lion Slide Falls is on private property. Access is closed and any trespassers are subject to citations.

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