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. Of all the swimming holes in California, Hatchet Creek Falls needs to make it onto your list. 

Where else can you climb a fallen tree staircase that's right in the middle of a cascading waterfall? Little steps have even 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 walk 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.

It'll only take you 5 to 10 minutes to reach your reward. Dogs are even welcome as long as they're kept on a leash. 

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 make sure to check the water level and rocks before you take the plunge.

During the summer months, this is a great place to lounge, sunbathe, and escape the NorCal heat.

Pro Tip: Bring some good hiking shoes with you and venture a little further upstream. There are plenty of amazing sights to take in.

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: You can climb a fallen tree staircase in the middle of a pouring 30-foot waterfall.


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.