Explore the most popular waterfall trails near Three Rivers with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
10 hours ago

Took the Crystal Cave Tour and it surpassed my expectations. The trail has great views and you're treated with a waterfall at the end while you wait for tour to start. Highly recommend the tour!

hiking
10 hours ago

Came here on a weekday when we could park at the trailhead. It's a short but steep hike up to the top. The views were still amazing despite some of the haziness from the nearby fires. Definitely plan to come back when the sky clears and to go to stargazing.

Stunning caves not to be missed, trial itself has a bit of steps, otherwise it is pretty easy. There are pretty streams and falls along the trial.

5 stars for the beautiful scenery along the trial, minus 1 star for the disappointing falls itself in summer. Easy trial along the flowing river, enjoyable with kids and pets.

hiking
3 days ago

The views are spectacular and second to none. The parking is limited. The crowds are dangerously overwhelming. Be extra careful when going up there.

The reason this hike only gets 4 stars is the lack supervision from park rangers. I saw a lot of people careless on trail that doesn't give second chances.

Scott’s review was very useful as it allowed us to prepare ourselves for the height (I have a profound respect for heights, not fear, respect!)

We only hiked to the first lake, taking the watchtower route. We were fine until we hit the cliffs... (everyone else was fine there too, I was the one who clung to the walls and was focused on making it through.). The tough part is about 400m long with some seriously scary spots..

The way back was through the hump route.

Our children joined 20, 16 and 13. Trail was beautiful and demanding. We swam at the lake then hiked down.
Recommended for sure.

The trail itself is quite beautiful and easy with a steady uphill out and steady downhill on the back. There is one area that has a rocky outcropping that can be difficult. We started early on a Saturday. Unfortunately, there was a group that had 70 or so people in it, so it was way too crowded with trash left all over the place. I’d do this trail again, but during off season.

Absolutely spectacular! Probably the best day hike I’ve ever been on! This trail has it all! We hit the trailhead at 0715 and had it all to ourselves! We went out to Heather Lake via Watchtower and back using the Hump Trail. The views on Watchtower are breathtaking! If you’re scared of heights this is NOT the trail for you! The edge of the trail drops off precipitously to say the least! I jumped out of planes in the Army and still found myself hugging the wall! Watchtower is the easiest way to get out to the lakes (side-hilling). Heather Lake is amazing. Crystal clear water and the trout breaching for insects is a spectacle in itself. We opted to return to the trailhead via The Hump Trail. The elevation gain on the Hump Trail is no joke. The views from the top are amazing. Going back we must have seen 30 or more hikers. Some more prepared than others. Go early and enjoy nature!!

Not as advertised. Very difficult hike, especially in the summer months because of the rare shade found for the greater parts of the hike. The elevation change is also closer to 2,300 feet and round trip it is almost 10 miles. The falls are gorgeous at the end but with the poor air quality in the park and the fires in the nearby areas, it was difficult catching a full breath the whole time. Would not recommend for inexperienced hikers.

See Amanda's review for good directions. I was able to get up the dirt road in a Dodge Charger; slow going but basically any sedan can make it.

Overall the hike was meh. Lots of bugs after the first waterfall. DO NOT do this hike at dawn or dusk as you'll likely encounter rattlesnakes. I came across two myself, there is grass that very easily hides them almost the entire path. I stepped about a foot away from one... that got my heart pounding.

Unless your taking this path to backpack higher up I don't recommend this for a day hike (especially in the summer). There's lots neater things to see in Sequoia than this trail. It was an okay hike, but like I said... rattlesnakes are abundant.

Hiked this with my parents and kids. An easy day hike that gives you great valley views and meanders along a beautiful stream. Trail ends at a waterfall- there is a great rock to jump from into a deep pool. The river has many places to wade in and cool off, where he water makes natural slides over the granite bed

This was by far the most wonderful hike ive ever done. Challenging though,but will give you the best legs workout. Although i didnt get to see the emerald and pear, heather was just so beautiful. The water is perfect for a quick dip, and surprisingly is not that cold!

Perfect day hike! All the best of the sierras. My hubby and daughter stopped at heather to fish for trout and hang out, while my 11 year old son and I went ahead to pear. Lakes are all beautiful and varied but pear takes the cake. Granite surrounds above the tree line and crystal blue green water for a refreshing dip. We started hiking at 7:30 and we’re back in the car by 3:30. Steep climb most of the way, and amazing and slightly scary views from watchtower...

A real California Adventure! Personally would recommend staying two nights at Emerald and day hiking the hour to Pear Lake. Although Pear Lake does feel more isolated. Watchtower Trail is awesome as long as you're sure footed and not afraid of heights.

I completed this hike on August 4th and it was AMAZING!!! The forest in the beginning was nice and shaded and got some good views. The Watchtower is spectacular!! You walk on the ridge line and catch some epic views of the peaks across the way. Heather and Emerald Lake were beautiful but Pear Lake takes the cake. We jumped in and swam a little bit and enjoyed the sunny weather.
Side note: The trailhead said it was 6.2 to Pear Lake so in and back would be 12.4 miles.

Awesome views, and the Lakes are wonderful. Very tough hike. Recommend going via watchtower and return via hump trail.

hiking
11 days ago

Awesome hike! Trail was a bit of a challenge. Ran into a large doe with two fawns about halfway in. Had to make room because momma wasn’t having it. None the less awesome views and the water was amazing definitely recommend!

hiking
11 days ago

After our plans to reach the Mineral King area today fell through, we decided to do a hike in the foothills instead.
Mid-June, the temperature was easily in the 90s and there isn't much shadow along the way, so be sure to carry a lot of water and wear sunscreen and a hat if you're doing this in summer. Long pants also come highly recommended, as the trail is narrow and there is a lot of undergrowth.
The hike itself is not terribly exciting for most part - you don't get much in the way of views and, especially in the summer heat, it can become a bit of a slog. The waterfalls are quite pretty though.
Overall, I would say that there are better hikes to do in Sequoia, but if you want to experience the climate of the foothills, this is not a bad hike to do.

Just did this trail a few days ago. We hit the trailhead around noon on a Wednesday and boy was it hot! I was coming off a tough few days of work and starting out in 85 degree heat was not the ideal way to do this continuously uphill climb. It was very strenuous BUT... it was worth it. The lakes themselves are spectacular. Next time, we'll spend the night somewhere close by and start up early morning - way better to actually enjoy the hike.

We camped at Emerald Lake the first night and Pear lake the 2nd night. Emerald lake actually has the better campsites, and next time we'll spend two nights at Emerald lake and just day hike up to Pear Lake.

Also, the best lake to swim in was definitely Heather Lake, the first of the lakes. It's a little smaller, and thus was warmer than both Pear and Emerald Lake. We didn't try Astor Lake (next time!)

Beware the marmots at Pear Lake! We tried to set up at one of the campsites, but there was a marmot who was clearly not happy with us being in his home. We switched campsites and later found that that same marmot had been snatching clothes left out at a neighboring campsite!

Sun exposure first 1/3 of trail, then easy shaded walk until last .2 miles with narrow path through rocks. Can rock scramble at end, though waterfall is minimal in late July. Went with 10mo on back and 6+8 year olds - we all did fine though was nearing our limit. Kids played in river afterwards, should have brought swimsuits. Moderate traffic on a Sunday afternoon when Yosemite was closed due to fire.

Just got back from doing this trip this weekend. It was incredible! My first backpacking trip, and I loved every minute of it. The scenery and views are abundant stunning. The wildlife is beautiful - I was yelled at by a bear! The water in Pear and Emerald Lakes was so refreshing. Emerald’s water was a bit warmer, and I jumped off my first rock! =) Would totally recommend this trail. I can’t wait to go back and bring some friends next time.

Must have permit to camp - walk up only at Lodgepole. We slept in the parking lot Thursday night, and were standing in line behind 3 others before the Visitor’s Center opened. We got the last 2/3 permits.

Must have a bear canister. Pack out everything. Leave it better than you found it.

A beautiful hike without question. You start by hiking through a pleasant forest until you reach the Watchtower where you finally get above the tree line and get some views. The trail can perhaps be a bit a bit scary if you're afraid of heights but I didn't think there were any tricky bits at all. That said, if you want to avoid hiking on trails that have sheer drops, use the "Hump Trail" to bypass the Watchtower section completely. Or you can use the Hump Trail on the way back so as not to retrace your steps completely. Mosquitoes can get pretty annoying, especially around the lakes, so make sure you carry a bug spray.
Overall, this is a lovely hike that will take a better part of a day but I probably wouldn't really consider it as hard. Definitely recommended.
As for wildlife, we saw plenty of yellow-bellied marmots and heard some grouse but never saw them.

A great little hike - especially if you're staying at the Lodgepole campground, this is a must-do.
We had done the General Sherman to Moro Rock hike in the morning and and with nothing much to do later in the day, I went to see the Tokopah Falls. The hike itself is easy and mostly flat. However, once you get to the falls, you can scramble up if you chose to, which is fun and can be a bit trickier. The waterfall itself was still pretty impressive beginning of June but I suspect it might be more of a trickle later in summer. That said, the views of the glacial valley will be amazing any time of year, so if you find yourselves in the area and have 2 hours to spare, definitely give this hike a shot.
As for wildlife, I saw some marmots at the falls but that's about it.

This is a beautiful trail, but I don’t think it should be rated as “easy.” The views are amazing throughout the entire hike! Wild flowers, massive granite cliffs, evergreens and tons of swimming holes. The waterfalls is a bit of a dud this time of year, but still beautiful. Definitely recommend this hike.

Lovely hike with amazing swimming holes along the route. Start early to avoid crowds and heat. We spent some time swimming in the ice cold pool at the top and our 8 and 10 year old boys loving exploring the area. We saw a few people struggling, definitely bring more than one small bottle of water and be prepared for the elevation.

Not really a hike but the view is breathtaking

BRING LOTS OF WATER. I would recommend long pants because there was nettles and poison oak along the trail and overall my legs got itchy from rubbing against the dry brush. Trail is narrow and loose so make sure you've got a good footing. Some areas are shady and some parts have no shade at all. Was an awesome hike and the falls are beautiful! We finished our hike in 5 hours. Oh and a FYI, the trail starts in a campground. There were no signs for it.

hiking
23 days ago

Awesome views!

hiking
24 days ago

Short climb up to the top for views of the Sierra's and the Valley floor. Gets crowded at sunset. Pro Tip: Go right after the sun goes down - everyone leaves, you still get soft light and usually you have the top of yourself to view the city lights below and stars above. On a full moon, the mountain range behind you really light up!

hiking
24 days ago

Completed this trail on July 22, 2018. We were on the trail by 8:30am and completed it in approx. 4 hours. Our total time included about 25 min of rest at the falls:) Trail has some great shady portions, but quite a bit is full sun and quite hot this time of year. Trail is definitely narrow and has steep drop offs close to path. Hard to pass if you come across others. Would not recommend taking small children. I would not rate trail as hard for those who are able to move well and are sure footed. It does have a variety of terrains such as rocks (both loose rocks and secure rocks embedded into mountain), sandy, slick dirt, leafy bedding, water, and fallen trees, all of which require close attention to footing, balance and the ability to shimmy around bushes in some pretty narrow passes where the trail is washed out a bit. I would recommend long pants AND a pair of good hiking boots. There were LOTS of rattlers sending their warnings out this time of year. Did not SEE any rattlers but they were very close to the trail. We did encounter a water snake at the falls. It was laying on the rocks in the pool. Be cautious if you choose to take a dip. I highly recommend this trail and suggest you go all the way to the end and spend some time enjoying the falls! Absolutely worth the hike!

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