Easily accessible most of the year, McCloud Falls and its surroundings offer a different presentation throughout the year.
Snow Melt off in Late Spring
The waterfalls themselves are most impressive in late spring when the snow starts to melt, adding volume to the river. At this time, the Upper Falls are particularly pumping and shoot out before dropping down to the river below.
Summertime Camping at Fowlers Campground
With the nearby snowpack melted, the falls don’t have as much volume to them in the summer, but the riverbank trees and cool breeze flowing off McCloud River can provide a respite from the summer heat. As a bonus, Fowlers Campground, with its numerous canopied trees, is open. You can camp overlooking McCloud River and explore the area at your leisure. Definitely a worthwhile venture.
Smoke & Wildfires in Siskiyou County
It’s important to note that Northern California has been plagued by wildfires, particularly in recent years. Even if there aren’t fires nearby, watch out for smoke permeating the region. Check the air quality for the town of McCloud on Weatherbug before you travel.
Be sure to take care if you have a campfire (if it is allowed). Never leave a campfire unattended and be sure to extinguish it completely as winds can unexpectedly flare campfires up. The dry conditions of Siskiyou County are a major fire hazard.
Visit Fall Foliage at McCloud Falls
In the autumn, the surrounding trees give you an extraordinary display of fall foliage colors for a completely different feel than the rest of the year. The volume of the waterfalls depends on the amount of rain at this time. It can pay off to plan your visit after a local area rain. The switchback trail from Middle McCloud Falls overlook and the riverbank is a particularly beautiful walk, although a bit steep.
Enjoying McCloud Falls in the Wintertime
Winter is a unique story. Due to snow, McCloud River Loop Road is closed in the winter from December 15 through March (or longer if there is still snow). There is a locked gate just off of Highway 89, but parking is available outside the gate. Do not park on Hwy 89.
Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing is advisable if you want to view the waterfalls. Motorized vehicles like snowmobiles are not allowed. You can hoof it through the snow, but walking can be difficult in deep snow, but may still be possible depending on the amount of snow.