Webber Falls

Tahoe National Forest / Truckee / Sierraville, California, USA

About Webber Falls


Hiking Distance: 1/2-mile round trip (to best view)
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2016-07-12
Date last visited: 2016-07-12

Waterfall Latitude: 39.48393
Waterfall Longitude: -120.39182

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Webber Falls seemed to be a somewhat little known waterfall on the Little Truckee River north of Lake Tahoe. Although it had a two main plunges (an upper one of a reported 25ft tall and a more dramatic lower one said to be about 80ft tall), it was a bit of a challenge to try to find a satisfying view of the entirety of the falls without risking a fatal fall into the steep gorge carved out by the Little Truckee River. The photo you see at the top of this page was my best attempt (which was limited by a tree that was in the way) as the steepness of the terrain surrounding the rim of the gorge made me a bit too uncomfortable to try to get all the way to the rim’s edge for that better photo of the falls that you might see in the literature. It was almost as if Mother Nature was playing a game of dare to test how far we were willing to push our luck to improve our photo opportunities of the falls. That said, it was much easier to access the plunge pool and upper waterfall, which we could tell from the condition of the use trails leading there that this was a much more popular option for those in the know who’d come here and cool off.

The water from Webber Falls was said to be coming from Webber Lake, which was on private property that was owned by the Louisiana Pacific Lumber Company. We weren’t sure about whether the waterfall itself was on private property as well (or some kind of arrangement was made between the owner and forest service), but from what we could tell, the US Forest Service (Tahoe National Forest department) seemed to have managed the area by the falls as if it was open to the public. The waterfall itself was said to be only 500ft from the nearest parking area, but even getting there required us to do a short walk from a pullout alongside the paved Jackson Meadow Road (see directions below.

From the roadside pullout, we followed a dirt road leading down from there towards another parking area further down the hillside. Boulders were set up to prevent vehicles from taking this dirt road as it appeared that vehicular access was once allowed. In any case, this stretch of descending dirt road was quite short, and just at the bottom of the descent, we crossed a wider and more well-used dirt road to get into the parking area closest to Webber Falls (which we could hear at this point). Beyond on the parking area, there was a well-used trail that appeared to approach the steep gorge containing Webber Falls. It was pretty easy to see the 25ft upper drop of the falls as well as its plunge pool, but in order to try to go a little further downstream alongside the canyon rim for a better view of the taller lower drop, that was where things got dicey for us. You see, the terrain was steep and slippery (from loose rocks and pebbles), especially as it got closer to the edges of the canyon rim, and this was where I had trouble justifying getting all the way to the edge of the rim for that better photo at the expense of a potentially fatal fall into the gorge.

So instead of getting all the way down to the rim of the gorge, I found a trail-of-use higher up on the canyon that went further downstream of the falls (well backed off from the dropoffs) and eventually reached a ridge jutting out towards the gorge. The ridge looked scarier than it really was (kind of reminding me of the doubts I was having about Angels Landing when approaching its knife-like ridge with dropoffs on both sides), and I’d eventually drop down to as far as I was willing to go before looking back upstream at Webber Falls (yielding the photo you see at the top of this page). This short walk was roughly 1/4-mile to 1/2-mile (I wasn’t keeping track) but it took me roughly 10-15 minutes in each direction. As for reaching the top of the upper drop of Webber Falls, there was a more gradual descent leading in the upstream direction from the nearest parking area before it made its steep but shorter descent to the plunge pool at the base of that upper drop. From what I could tell, there was no way to get a safe view of the lower drop from here, but it did appear possible to cross the Little Truckee River and attempt to get a different view of the entirety of Webber Falls from the other side (something we didn’t attempt).

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The nearest major town to Webber Falls was Truckee, California, which was about an hour’s drive west of Reno, Nevada. Since we had spent the night prior to our hike at Reno, that was where we started our drive to the falls, and that’s from where we’ll describe the driving directions.

From I-80/I-580 junction in Reno, we drove west on the I-80 for a little over 30 miles to the Hwy 89 (exit 188) just east of Truckee. We then followed the Hwy 89 north for a little over 14 miles to the Bear Valley Road turnoff on our left. Shortly after making this turnoff, we then turned left again onto Road 07 (which indicated that Independence Lake and Webber Lake was in this direction). Road 07 became Jackson Meadows Road, and we followed this road for about 6.7 miles to an unsigned pullout on our left. This pullout was just past (west of) a signposted turnoff signed for Lake of the Woods. We stopped the car at this pullout because boulders blocked the dirt road that descended in about a minute’s walk towards the actual parking area closest to Webber Falls. Overall, this drive took us just a little over an hour.

It was worth mentioning that in the description above, there was a wide dirt road between Jackson Meadows Road and the parking area for Webber Falls. It turned out that this road was the Henness Pass Road, which was unpaved. This particular road was at a turnoff just before the Bear Valley Road turnoff described above, but it also linked with Jackson Meadows Road roughly a mile before the pullout near the Lake of the Woods turnoff. The Henness Pass Road was the road that would have allowed us to park at that lot closest to Webber Falls. We noticed one truck did just that during our visit as they were camping here.

To give you some additional geographical context, Truckee was 100 miles (over 90 minutes drive) northeast of Sacramento, 187 miles (about 3 hours drive) northeast of San Francisco, and 486 miles (over 7 hours drive) north of Los Angeles.

Sweep focusing on Webber Falls' entirety before doing a 360 degree sweep then ending at the falls again


360 degree sweep from right at the top of the upper tier of Webber Falls

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Tagged with: sierraville, truckee, tahoe national forest, sierra county, sierra nevada, northern california, lake tahoe, graeagle, waterfall, webber lake, lake of the woods, jackson meadows

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