Roaring River Falls

Kings Canyon National Park / Cedar Grove, California, USA

About Roaring River Falls

Hiking Distance: 0.4 miles round trip; wheelchair
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2002-04-27
Date last visited: 2005-05-27

Waterfall Latitude: 36.78053
Waterfall Longitude: -118.62149

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Roaring River Falls is one of those rare waterfalls where it seems like less is more.

We’ve seen this waterfall gush during the Spring on two occasions when its plunge pool was a frothing white mess.

Roaring_River_Falls_007_08272004 - Roaring River Falls in pleasant Summer flow
Roaring River Falls in pleasant Summer flow

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 getting swept away by 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 (see photo above).

The Short Trails to Roaring River Falls

Roaring_River_Falls_001_scanned_04272002 - Roaring River Falls in high Spring flow when we first saw it in April 2002
Roaring River Falls in high Spring flow when we first saw it in April 2002

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 (just past the bridge over the Roaring River).

Roaring_River_Falls_012_08272004 - Roaring River Falls as seen from the opposite side of the river
Roaring River Falls as seen from the opposite side of the 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.


Roaring River Falls is in Kings Canyon National Park near Pinehurst in Fresno County, California. It is administered by the National Park Service. For information or inquiries about this area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Roaring_River_Falls_003_05272005 - Roaring River Falls when it was really gushing during our visit in late May 2005
Roaring_River_Falls_004_08272004 - Roaring River Falls in low flow at the end of the stroll in late Summer 2004
Roaring_River_Falls_010_08272004 - Looking back across the Roaring River from the other side of the creek on an alternate trail to a lookout for the Roaring River Falls as seen in late August 2004
Roaring_River_Falls_014_08272004 - Bridge over the Roaring River as seen in late August 2004. The parking lot and paved stroll were 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_027_08282004 - Looking downstream from the alternate lookout for Roaring River Falls towards some tall cliffs in the distance as seen in late August 2004
Roaring_River_Falls_001_04272002 - Roaring River Falls in moderate flow in April 2002
Roaring_River_Falls_001_scanned_04272002 - A more colorful look at Roaring River Falls in moderate flow in April 2002
Zumwalt_Meadow_007_scanned_04272002 - Old school photo of Zumwalt Meadow from April 2002

You can find Roaring River Falls in the Cedar Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park near the Hwy 180 Road’s End.

The parking area is 3 miles past the Cedar Grove Campground just beyond the bridge over Roaring River on the right (about a stop before Zumwalt Meadow).

It’s roughly 2 hours drive east of Fresno (which itself is about 3.5 hours drive north of Los Angeles).

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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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Tagged with: kings canyon, cedar grove, 180, fresno county, roaring river, zumwalt meadow, wheelchair

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

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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