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Scenic hike to spectacular cascades and a waterfall.

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7,281' 2,219 m


6,823' 2,080 m


460' 140 m


467' 142 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (17°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

One Way Only: This is designated as a directional trail.


This is a popular hike to Kings Creek Falls with its viewing platforms. As a bonus, on the way back, one hikes next to Kings Creek Cascades, a steep, fast set of cascades that drop over 200 feet in less than a quarter mile. And there are several overlooks with great views far into the distance, of the mountains and Juniper Lake to the east.


Kings Creek Falls Out and Back starts and ends along the park road at a well marked trailhead. From the trailhead sign, head down the steps on Kings Creek Trail into the fir forest. Flat at first, the trail runs along Kings Creek that is to the right/south. Lower Kings Creek Meadows with the creek running through them are soon passed. Sifford Lakes Trail is passed on the right at the 0.4 mile mark.

At the 0.6 mile mark a trail fork is reached. Both directions of the fork rejoin later. Continue on Kings Creek Trail, by going left at this fork. One can NOT go right at this fork - the right fork is Kings Creek Cascades Foot Trail, a one-way, narrow exposed stair step trail down along Kings Creek Cascades. When returning from Kings Creek Falls, one will take Kings Creek Cascades Foot Trail.

For the next half mile, the trail descends past some rocky overlooks with great views, and then winds down through the fir forest to meet up again with Kings Creek Cascades Foot Trail at the 1.1 mile mark. Continuing on in the forest along Kings Creek, a few large cascades/mini waterfalls are passed before reaching Bench Lake Trail on the right/south at the 1.3 mile mark. Almost immediately after Bench Lake Trail, one comes to Kings Creek Falls. Rocky outcrops with viewing platforms provide a place to see the falls drop their entire 40+ feet. This is a great place to take a break, admire the falls and surrounding beauty, and snack.

When ready to leave Kings Creek Falls, head back the way you came, on Kings Creek Trail for 0.3 miles, passing Bench Lake Trail on the way, before arriving at the trail fork where Kings Creek Cascades Foot Trail splits off to the left. Go left here onto Kings Creek Cascades Foot Trail.

Now on Kings Creek Cascades Foot Trail, after a very short stretch in fir forest that passes a large cascade/mini-waterfall, a preview of what's ahead, the trail pops out of the forest onto rock next to Kings Creek. Up ahead one can see Kings Creek cascading fast and steeply, down the lengthy Kings Creek Cascades, and the trail going up the rock face with stairs built into it, next to the cascades. This dramatic stretch of trail lasts for almost a quarter mile. The views into the distance to the east and down the cascades, get better and better with each step up the stairs. Just make sure to stop before looking so you don't step off the trail by mistake.

After about a quarter mile, Kings Creek Cascades Foot Trail ends as it rejoins Kings Creek Trail. Go left onto Kings Creek Trail here, and retrace your steps back to the trailhead to finish this awesome hike.

Flora & Fauna

Fir forest with thin undergrowth. Meadows. Rocky outcrops. Wildflowers.

History & Background

Kings Creek plunges 40-50 feet over Kings Creek Falls.

Before plunging over Kings Creek Falls, there are many cascades and mini-waterfalls along Kings Creek. The most dramatic cascades are Kings Creek Cascades that are almost a quarter mile long as they drops over 200 feet. Kings Creek Cascades Foot Trail climbs next to these massive cascades.


Shared By:

Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 4 votes


  4.3 from 4 votes
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in California


1 Views Last Month
317 Since Jul 4, 2020



Kings Creek cascades down steeply and swiftly as Kings Creek Cascades Foot Trail climbs the stairs next to the creek. Beautiful mountain views into the distance to the east here.
Jul 3, 2020 near Chester, CA
Looking up from the base of Kings Creek Falls.
Jul 6, 2020 near Chester, CA
Looking south from the trail to Kings Creek Falls.
Jul 6, 2020 near Chester, CA
The Kings Creek Valley is below and mountains stretch forever into the distance including Mt. Hoffman, 7,833 ft., (center right). Juniper Lake is in the distance at the extreme right. Looking east from high on Kings Creek Trail.
Jul 3, 2020 near Chester, CA
Kings Creek Falls
May 30, 2018 near Chester, CA
Kings Creek Falls
May 30, 2018 near Chester, CA



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Sep 3, 2023
Cevat Akin
Aug 14, 2023
Luke Skywalker
Jul 18, 2023
Tom Herr
Wonderful morning hike through the forest and down to the falls. The way back was just as enjoyable following the creek going down. Must do! 2.5mi
Jul 9, 2023
Kylie Willis
BEAR! 2.5mi
Jul 2, 2023
Emilie Kitt
Feb 12, 2022
Jiye Kim
Jun 14, 2021
Michael Jacobs