Peppermint Creek Falls

Sequoia National Forest / The Needles, California, USA

About Peppermint Creek Falls

Hiking Distance: 1/2 mile round trip; scramble
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2002-05-11
Date last visited: 2005-05-29

Waterfall Latitude: 36.06096
Waterfall Longitude: -118.48437

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Peppermint Creek Falls is a very pretty 150ft waterfall tumbling over a rounded granite surface with views towards the Dome Land Wilderness.

Since getting to the falls involves driving the Lloyds Meadow Road (see directions below), you’ll get to glimpse the Needles.

Peppermint_Creek_Falls_008_05292005 - Direct look at Peppermint Creek Falls
Direct look at Peppermint Creek Falls

The Needles was an unusual giant rock formation that is also known as a difficult rock climbing route.

Experiencing Peppermint Creek Falls

Getting a good view of the falls required a rather steep scramble towards the base of the falls.

Even though the scramble was only 1/4-mile (each way), we definitely had to take our time.

That was because the terrain was both slick (from the loose pebbles) and the incline was severe enough that going down was a little scary.

Peppermint_Creek_Falls_003_05292005 - Angled view of Peppermint Creek Falls during the steep descent
Angled view of Peppermint Creek Falls during the steep descent

In fact, going up back up required the use of our hands in some spots, which gives you an idea of the steepness of this scramble.

While we were busy concentrating on not taking a nasty fall during the descent, we did manage to notice some satisfying profile views of the rounded granite surface and the waterfall that tumbled over it.

Then, once we made it to the bottom, we got nice direct views as Peppermint Creek tumbled in multiple tiers while twisting towards the left.

The first time Julie and I were here (back in 2002), there weren’t a whole lot of people.

Peppermint_Creek_Falls_025_05292005 - Looking over the brink of Peppermint Creek Falls towards the Dome Land Wilderness
Looking over the brink of Peppermint Creek Falls towards the Dome Land Wilderness

We only saw a handful of people above the falls at the Lower Peppermint Campground and even fewer people who managed to do the scramble to get to the base.

On a later visit here with the parents in May 2005, there were lots more people crowding the Lower Peppermint Campground (maybe because it was Memorial Day weekend) as well as chilling out at the very top of the falls.

Nevertheless, we were still one of the few who made it down to the bottom of the falls on that day, and thus it remained nice and peaceful down there!


Peppermint Creek Falls is in the Sequoia National Forest near Porterville in Tulare County, California. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about this area as well as current conditions, visit the Sequoia National Forest website or Facebook page.

Lloyds_Meadow_Rd_001_05292005 - View of the Needles en route to Lower Peppermint Campground during our late May 2005 visit
Peppermint_Creek_Falls_005_05292005 - Mom sitting down and relaxing in front of Peppermint Creek Falls during our late May 2005 visit
Peppermint_Creek_Falls_013_05292005 - Mom checking out the Peppermint Creek Falls during our late May 2005 visit
Peppermint_Creek_Falls_019_05292005 - Side view of Peppermint Creek Falls as it tumbles over rounded granite seen during our steep scramble in late May 2005 between the campground and its base
The_Needles_001_05112002 - Old school look at the Needles in 2002 before fires swept through the area
Peppermint_Creek_Falls_002_05112002 - Side view of Peppermint Creek Falls as it tumbles over rounded granite as seen in May 2002
Peppermint_Creek_Falls_005_05112002 - Old school angled view of Peppermint Creek Falls in May 2002
Peppermint_Creek_Falls_006_05112002 - Old school direct and contextual view of Peppermint Creek Falls in May 2002
Peppermint_Creek_Falls_003_scanned_05112002 - Broad view of Peppermint Creek Falls as seen back in May 2002
Peppermint_Creek_Falls_005_scanned_05112002 - Flatter broad view of Peppermint Creek Falls from further upstream closer to its uppermost drop as seen in May 2002
Peppermint_Creek_Falls_007_scanned_05112002 - As much of Peppermint Creek Falls as I could see from its base during our visit in May 2002
Peppermint_Creek_Falls_009_scanned_05112002 - Sideways profile view of Peppermint Creek Falls as seen in May 2002

Peppermint Creek Falls was near the Lower Peppermint Campground deep in the Tule River District of the Sequoia National Forest.

We managed to get here from Los Angeles via Porterville, Ponderosa, and Johnsondale (via I-5, Hwy 99, Hwy 190 becoming Western Divide Hwy M-90, then M-50).

We turned left onto Lloyds Meadow Road from Johnsondale.

We made our return drive through Kernville to Lake Isabella, and eventually back to Bakersfield (via Mountain Hwy 99, Hwy 155, then Hwy 178) and then back to Los Angeles (via Hwy 99 and I-5).

Regardless of which way we took, the drive would take at least 4-5 hours in each direction.

Anyways, while on the Lloyds Meadow Road, we looked for the Lower Peppermint Campground turnoff a little over 11 miles on Lloyds Meadow Road from its junction with Hwy 99/Sierra Way (this junction was just east of the Johnsondale R-Ranch).

Note that during much of the drive north on Lloyds Meadow Road, the Needles formation was easily seen.

Next, we looked for parking somewhere along the Lower Peppermint Campground road with our 2wd vehicle.

Technically, there was an official parking area a little further on the unpaved road, but we had to get over a real steep sandy hill with deep ruts that I figure only a 4wd could make.

So without a gas guzzler, we just decided to walk that part.

The scramble began just beyond the “formal” parking area that only the gas guzzlers can make.

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Sweep from near the base of the falls. Please excuse the poor quality as this video is ancient.

Tagged with: sequoia national forest, peppermint, needles, tulare, sierra, springville, california, waterfall, kern, dome, johnsondale, ponderosa, kernville, porterville, camp nelson

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This Place is HEAVEN!! (Peppermint Creek Falls) November 28, 2012 1:09 pm by Don Laviolette - Back in 1989 my best friend Glenn Premore who God rest his soul passed away in 1994 showed me and our friends of this wonderful place. Since then I have been coming up every year since then and brought new friends and my two dogs Rebel and Boomer for many years until this past year… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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