Waterfalls of the Southern and Central Sierras

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The Southern and Central Sierras feature an interesting mix of 14,000ft peaks, remote pine forests, groves of giant sequoia trees, deep river canyons, and ancient volcanic remnants.

In the rainshadow of this mountainous spine of California is the forbidding Death Valley. Nestled within the mountain range of this part of the Sierras are several national forests and national parks. The most notable reserves are Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (featuring some of the largest known living organisms on earth as well as one of the deepest canyons in the US) and the world famous Yosemite National Park.

Of course, Yosemite is a waterfall haven in its own right and we've devoted a section on just this park alone. Still, waterfalls galore in the remainder of this mountainous area and you could spend a lifetime trying to collect sightings of all of them.

Some of the more notable waterfalls we've seen in this region include Rainbow Falls in the Devils Postpile National Monument, Peppermint Creek Falls in the Sequoia National Forest, and Tokopah Falls in Sequoia National Park.

We've also visited some backcountry waterfalls requiring overnight backpacks such Moonlight Falls and the Big Pine Creek Waterfalls.

Indeed, we've collected the waterfalls in this area in a variety of weekend trips. Thus, such trips can easily be arranged by those wishing to escape the urban chaos of Los Angeles, San Fransisco, and even the sprawling Central Valley cities. Although we've seen our share of waterfalls in this area alone, we haven't come close to even seeing half of the waterfalls that exist out here!

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Click on the waterfalls below to read more about them.

the spectacular Rainbow Falls on the San Joaquin River

4 Rainbow Falls

Devil's Postpile National Monument
Lower Falls of the San Joaquin River

1.5 Lower Falls

Devil's Postpile National Monument / Ansel Adams Wilderness
Minaret Falls

2.5 Minaret Falls

Devil's Postpile National Monument
One of several of the Lundy Canyon Waterfalls

2 Lundy Canyon Waterfalls

near Lee Vining / Inyo National Forest
Leavitt Falls on the Sonora Pass Road

2.5 Leavitt Falls

near Sonora Pass / Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Rancheria Falls near Huntington Lake in the Sierra National Forest

2 Rancheria Falls

Huntington Lake / Sierra National Forest
Grizzly Falls

2.5 Grizzly Falls

near Cedar Grove / Sequoia National Forest
Roaring River Falls in Kings Canyon National Park

1.5 Roaring River Falls

Cedar Grove / Kings Canyon National Park
Mist Falls deep in Kings Canyon

2 Mist Falls

Cedar Grove / Kings Canyon National Park
Sheep Creek Cascade on the Don Cecil Trail

1 Sheep Creek Cascade

Cedar Grove / Kings Canyon National Park
One of the interesting ephemeral waterfalls seen on the Kings Canyon Highway (Hwy 180) to Cedar Grove

1 Waterfalls on Kings Canyon Highway

Sequoia National Forest / near Cedar Grove
Tokopah Falls

3 Tokopah Falls

Sequoia National Park / Lodgepole
Marble Falls on the Marble Fork Kaweah River

1.5 Marble Falls

Sequoia National Park
Black Wolf Falls in Mineral King

1.5 Black Wolf Falls

Mineral King / Sequoia National Park
Mineral King Falls

2.5 "Mineral King Falls"

Mineral King / Sequoia National Park
A side view of the Middle Fork Tule River Falls

1.5 Middle Fork Tule River Falls

Sequoia National Forest
profile view from behind Nobe Young Falls

2.5 Nobe Young Falls

near Ponderosa / Sequoia National Forest
Peppermint Creek Falls

3 Peppermint Creek Falls

Sequoia National Forest
South Creek Falls not too far from Kernville

2.5 South Creek Falls

near Kernville / Sequoia National Forest
Long exposure look of Boulder Creek Falls as my mom gazes upon it

1.5 Boulder Creek Falls

near Ponderosa / Sequoia National Forest
Darwin Falls - a rare waterfall in the Panamint Springs area of Death Valley

1.5 Darwin Falls

Death Valley National Park
Horsetail Falls in low flow near McGee Creek a short ways off the Hwy 395

2 Horsetail Falls

John Muir Wilderness / Inyo National Forest
Twin Falls seen over the Twin Lakes

2.5 Twin Falls

Mammoth Lakes / Inyo National Forest
Second Falls

1 Big Pine Creek Waterfalls

Inyo National Forest
Shadow Falls

1.5 "Shadow Falls"

Inyo National Forest
Moonlight Falls

1.5 Moonlight Falls

near Bishop / Inyo National Forest
One of the Onion Valley Waterfalls

1.5 Onion Valley Waterfalls

near Independence / Inyo National Forest

Have comments (or would like to read other people's comments) about the waterfalls in this region? Click here

Or have comments (or would like to read other people's comments) about a particular waterfall in this region? Click here

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