Roaring River Falls

Kings Canyon National Park / Cedar Grove, California, USA

Rating: 1.5     Difficulty: 1
Roaring River Falls
Roaring River Falls is one of those rare waterfalls where it seems less is more.

We've seen this waterfall gush during the Spring on two occasions when its plunge pool was a frothing white mess, and the pool's depth rose to such a degree that the falls' reported height of 15ft seemed like an overestimate. Clearly under this condition, all that we were able to do was to gawk at the loud and powerful waterfall and be glad that we were nowhere near the torrent.

Then, we came here during the late Summer in 2004 when the falls was considerably less turbulent. In fact, the plunge pool was attractively clear and colorful, and the falls appeared to be taller given the lower plunge pool depth. The photograph you see at the top of this page was the waterfall in just this state!

The main walk to the falls was on a paved, wheelchair-accessible 1/4-mile path along the east side of the Roaring River. The walk ended at a lookout behind some of the rocks that would protect us from the fury of the Roaring River in high flow. In low flow, it looked like plenty of folks had no problems scrambling onto rocks or even getting a little wet in the river.

On the opposite side of the Roaring River, there was a less developed path that followed the west bank of the Roaring River. This path climbed a bit towards a separate overlook with a more distant and rockier view of Roaring River Falls. I believe this path was also 1/4-mile round trip.

Directions: You can find this waterfall in the Cedar Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park near the Hwy 180 Road's End. The car park is 3 miles past the Cedar Grove Campground just beyond the bridge over Roaring River on the right (about a stop before Zumwalt Meadow).

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Roaring River Falls gushing in high flow
Practically right next to Roaring River Falls is the Zumwalt Meadow, which was a pleasant little alpine meadow that was almost Yosemite-like in that it was backed by giant cliffs and rock formations like this one
Bridge over the Roaring RiverBridge over the Roaring River. The car park and paved stroll are on the other side of the bridge. The side from which this photo was taken was on the start of the primitive path to the alternate lookout.

Roaring River Falls in low flow at the end of the stroll in late Summer 2004The falls in low flow at the end of the stroll in late Summer 2004

View of Roaring River Falls from the overlook on the other side of the riverView of the falls from the overlook on the other side of the river

Roaring River Falls in moderate flow in April 2002The falls in moderate flow in April 2002

A more colorful look at Roaring River Falls in moderate flow in April 2002A more colorful look at the falls in moderate flow in April 2002

Old school photo of Zumwalt Meadow from April 2002Old school photo of Zumwalt Meadow from April 2002. It's definitely worth checking out since it's at the next road stop from Roaring River Falls

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Left to right sweep of the raging waterfall in Spring. Please excuse the poor quality as this is a real ancient video.

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For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.

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