The Journey to Potem Falls – NorCal’s Most Blissful Waterfall

Sitting just east of Redding on a remote stretch of water near the Pit River is a 70-foot waterfall that may just be Northern California’s most blissful experience. Potem Falls won’t get the attention of waterfalls like Burney Falls and McCloud Falls, but it’s the perfect testament to the beauty of the NorCal wilderness. While the hike down to the falls is easy, the drive is a little more difficult.

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. The easy quarter-mile hike to the Potem Falls watering hole makes it an attractive option for families. If you desire some peace and quiet, take a mid-week trip to the falls when it’s often deserted. Potem Falls also makes for a romantic date spot.

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Approaching the 70 ft beast

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Approaching the narrow, but scenic Potem waterfall, you’ll encounter a large pool perfect for swimming and lounging around. In Latin, “potem” means “to drink”, and after seeing the translucent water of Potem Creek, you might be compelled to do so. However, we don’t recommend it.

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Potem Creek Falls, Montgomery Creek CA . . On Christmas Day, @CrtrGrl and I took the day completely off and went out exploring. It was a cold, rainy day up here in NorCal, which made for absolutely perfect conditions to visit this magnificent waterfall and have the place all to ourselves. Please tread carefully in the magnificent beauty of nature and leave no trace. . . Wishing peace and joy to all on the cusp of the new decade. . . #PledgetoLNT #travelstoke #wildernessculture #neverstopexploring #adventurethatislife #awesomeearth #lifeofadventure #bewild #LetsMakeAdventures #theadventourist #bestnatureshot #nature_perfection #earthofficial #natureadventurez @the.adventourist #visualwanderlust #lobomountain @instagood #allaboutadventures #earthofficial #thegreatoutdoors #roamtheplanet #discoverearth #nationalparkgeek #moodnation #visualambassadors #OutsideCulture #hiking #hikingtheglobe #hikingculture #waterfalls #pnwonderland

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When plunging into the Potem pool, be prepared for the frigid temperature of the water. You can certainly get used to the cold especially on a scolding hot day, but it can be overwhelming at first.


To get to Potem Falls you need to find an easy to miss road called Fenders Ferry Rd between Round Mountain and Montgomery Creek. After 3.5 miles, Fenders Ferry Rd will turn to a well maintained dirt road passable in most passenger cars. You now have 5.7 miles to go to the unmarked trail head. The road will drop down from the canyon wall and a narrow bridge will take you across the Pit arm of Lake Shasta. From the end of the bridge you have 0.6 miles to go. Look for a pull out on the left side of the road. The trailhead is not clearly marked so stay alert.

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