South Creek Falls

Sequoia National Forest / Kernville, California, USA

About South Creek Falls

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

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

Waterfall Latitude: 35.97209
Waterfall Longitude: -118.49279

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

South Creek Falls is an attractive roadside waterfall that we might have noticed from the road had we been headed westbound on Road 99 (Sierra Way).

However, since we were going the other way, we merely noticed the activity around a very tight car park (with only room for a few cars) that indicated to us that perhaps we ought to make a stop.

South_Creek_Falls_005_05292005 - Looking down at South Creek Falls from the road
Looking down at South Creek Falls from the road

It was a good thing we thought this way because that was when we realized that we had seen another impressive waterfall in the Sequoia National Forest.

This waterfall is said to be 120ft and it had an attractive split drop.

Experiencing South Creek Falls

Perhaps the best way to experience South Creek Falls was to park the car then walk along the road to get better roadside views (as the parking spaces were practically right on top of the falls).

I had to admit the temptation was great to figure out a way to get to the bottom of the very steep ravine for a better look at it.

That said, it was a good thing that I avoided that temptation because the terrain looked very steep as it was full of loose rocks.

South_Creek_Falls_001_scanned_05112002 - This was what South Creek Falls looked like when we first saw it back in May 2002
This was what South Creek Falls looked like when we first saw it back in May 2002

Even though the dropoffs didn’t look too extreme, the loose rocks very easily could’ve created a situation where I could end up at the bottom but then not have enough traction to get back up the steep incline to the road.

Anyways, the roadside views were generally good anyways, and thus this waterfall seemed to be at best a roadside stop for folks visiting the Kern River area.

Like most snowmelt-fed waterfalls, the falls is at its widest in late Spring.

I reckon if you come later in the season or the snow pack is low, then this falls probably loses much of its luster.


South Creek Falls is in the Sequoia National Forest near Kernville 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 their website or Facebook page.

South_Creek_Falls_003_05292005 - Contextual view of South Creek Falls as seen in May 2005
South_Creek_Falls_003_05112002 - Old school photo of South Creek Falls taken in May 2002
Kern_River_001_05112002 - Nearby South Creek Falls is the Kern River, which is popular for whitewater rafting
South_Creek_Falls_002_scanned_05112002 - Looking across South Creek Falls when we first saw it back in May 2002

South Creek Falls was near the Kern River on the far southeastern end of the Tule River District of the Sequoia National Forest.

From Johnsondale, we drove about 4.2 miles east along Mountain Hwy 99 to the limited car park mentioned above (there’s a chain-linked fence making it pretty obvious).

From Kernville, we drove a little over 30 minutes north along Mountain Hwy 99.

The aforementioned limited car park was about a half-mile west of the bridge over the Kern River.

This is about 22 miles from the northern extreme of Lake Isabella on Road 99 (Sierra Way).

It was roughly 3.5 hours drive north of Los Angeles via Bakersfield, Lake Isabella, and Kernville. It was roughly 5 hours drive north of Los Angeles via Porterville, Ponderosa, and Johnsondale.

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Tagged with: south creek, kernville, kern, tulare, sequoia national forest, johnsondale, sierra, california, waterfall, roads end

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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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