About Whiskey Falls (Whisky Falls)
Whisky Falls (I’ve also seen it spelled Whiskey Falls) was a diminutive waterfall with a cumulative drop of a reported 40ft over a couple of tiers on rounded granite slabs.
With it being so easy to visit (once we found out how to access it by car; see directions below), we looked for ways to extend our time here.
In doing so, I figured out that there was a little alcove behind the falls, where I was able to crouch into it from the side of the creek to get that unusual view of the waterfall’s backside.
Meanwhile, Mom took off her shoes and put her feet in very cold creek to offset the high temperatures of the Summer.
Our visit to this waterfall took place in July, where you can see in the photo above, seemed to have occurred under low flow conditions.
I’ve read that this creek should flow year-round, but its visual impact would probably be best during the late Spring and early Summer months (May to June).
Even though Whisky Falls was pretty remote as far as vehicular access was concerned, we definitely weren’t the only people here as it was practically next to the Whiskey Falls Campground.
Nevertheless, this place definitely felt much quieter and intimate for a roadside waterfall, and we enjoyed our 30 minutes spent here.
Whisky Falls resides in the Sierra National Forest near North Fork in Madera County, California. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
Although we visited Whisky Falls during a long drive from Huntington Lake to Oakhurst via Shaver Lake and Bass Lake, it seemed like the nearest big town to make a visit to the falls was Oakhurst.
Since we stayed in that town on the day we visited the falls, we’ll start the driving directions from there.
Oakhurst was about 47 miles (a little under an hour’s drive) north of the Hwy 99/Hwy 41 interchange in Fresno.
From the Hwy 41 and Hwy 49 traffic light in Oakhurst, we’d drive north on Hwy 41 for about 3.5 miles.
We would then turn right onto Bass Lake Road (there was also a sign indicating this was the way to Bass Lake).
Next, we’d follow Bass Lake Road for around 4 miles where we’d then bear left onto Road 274 (Malum Ridge Road).
Then we’d continue for the next 10 miles on Malum Ridge Road before turning left onto Mammoth Pool Road (at a four-way stop near the town of North Fork).
Following Mammoth Pool Road for just under a mile, we then turned left onto Road 233 or Cascadel Rd (there was a sign indicating Whiskey Falls Campground was this way).
After about a half-mile, we kept left at a fork leading us onto Autumn Ridge Way (Road 8S09).
Once we were on Autumn Ridge Way, the road became unpaved at some point.
We then followed this road for roughly 7.5 miles passing through an extensive burn area as well as a grove severely affected by bark beetles resulting from the multi-year drought in California.
Most of this road was a little on the bumpy side, but it was quite doable by passenger vehicles except for one little bouldery stream crossing that looked like it could shred a tire if not careful.
Other than that, we then followed a sign indicating that the Whiskey Falls Campground was to our right, and we turned right to continue on the Whisky Snowmobile Trails Rd.
This road became a little narrower for the last 1.2 miles as it would ultimately arrive at a bridge.
Whisky Falls was just a few paces upstream from this bridge.
There appeared to be a little sloping pullout on the left just beyond the bridge as well as a narrower pullout further down the road on the right (where we parked).
Of course, if you’re camping here, there would be plenty of parking for your designated camping spot.
Overall, this drive took us about just under an hour.
If you were to come from Huntington Lake like we did on the way to Whisky Falls, it took us around 2.5 hours to make this drive.
We did it by going south on Hwy 168 towards Fresno, then turning right onto Auberry Rd and following it north towards Mammoth Pool Rd in North Fork before picking up the rest of the directions as described above.
To give you some additional geographical context, Fresno was 221 miles (3.5 hours drive) north of Los Angeles and 188 miles (about 3 hours drive) southeast of San Francisco.
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