Middle Fork Tule River Falls is a short but sweet waterfall that we happened to notice while we were driving the twisty Hwy 190 between Springville and Ponderosa.
This waterfall (said to be 50ft though we think it might be shorter than that) resided in a part of the Sequoia National Forest that belonged to the Tule River District. According to the literature, there are many waterfalls on the Tule River, but for one reason or another, most of them are not safely accessible. However, this waterfall was the exception to that statement although it wasn’t necessarily an easy thing to do to get close to it.
First, we had to identify the right pullout as there was no signpost indicating where to get started (see directions below). Next, we had to descent on a fairly steep and primitive scramble where there was an easy-to-miss turnoff that ultimately led to a profile look at the falls. Continuing on the wrong path would’ve led to some unremarkable upper cascades though I suspect some young folks who think they’re indestructible might actually stream scramble to the downstream from here to the top of the falls.
Anyways, we were content with the view of the falls from the apparent end of the 1/4-mile (each way) scramble. It was desirable to continue to see if there was a more frontal look at the falls from up this close, but from what we were able to tell, the scrambling became steeper and more dangerous so we didn’t push the issue any further.
As stated earlier, the falls can be found on Highway 190 between Springville and Ponderosa. Springville is under a half-hour drive east of Porterville. Porterville is about an hour’s drive north of Bakersfield (along Hwy 65), and Bakersfield is about 2 hours drive north of Los Angeles (without traffic).
You can see this waterfall from the road (there are no pullouts for this view however), but you get a closer and more satisfying view from a scramble on one of the unsigned pullouts about 1.7 miles east of the Camp Wishon turnoff (Road 208).
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