​A woman in a black bathing suit sits on the tree staircase. Right: A woman in a red bathing suit faces the waterfall.

A woman in a black bathing suit sits on the tree staircase. Right: A woman in a red bathing suit faces the waterfall.

Hatchet Creek Falls is proof you don't have to fly to Hawaii to see amazing waterfalls. Some of the best ones are hidden right here in the Golden State.

Visitors can climb a fallen tree staircase that's right in the middle of a cascading waterfall. Little steps have been carved into it, so it's easy to reach the top.

To get to the pools, you'll need to take an easy 0.2-mile hike near the city of Big Bend. Since the trail is unmarked, it can be a little tricky to find.

Start out on Highway 299 and drive about 45 minutes south of Redding. When you get to Big Bend Road, turn left. Follow the road until you reach a dirt area with a bridge and pull-out spot. That's where you'll find the falls.

The swimming hole is pet-friendly, but remember to bring a leash and bags to clean up after your furry friends.

The best time to go is from early March through October when the weather is warmer and sunny.

When you reach the pouring falls, you'll see they're split by a massive fallen tree that forms the perfect staircase. It provides easy up-close access to the falls and surrounding cliffs.

There are many places to jump from varying heights. Just be sure to check the water level and rocks before you take the plunge for safety.

As things start to heat up, this is a great place to lounge, sunbathe, and escape the NorCal heat.

As always, make sure to clean up after yourself and leave no trace. Let's leave this gem as lovely as we found it.

Hatchet Creek Falls

Price: Free

Location: Big Bend, CA

Why You Should Go: A one-of-a-kind experience located in the wilderness of California's natural beauty.


Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

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