This one comes from the recommendation of a very good friend and it has ended up being one of my favorites so far this summer. Her family has been coming to the campground for over 75 years, so it holds special meaning for her, and I can absolutely see why. It is a National Forest Service campground and one of the more popular. Not all of the sites are reservable, but some are, and we were lucky to get in since it’s a small campground. The location is just to the east of the small town of McCloud. It’s actually not that far off I-5, a stretch of highway we’ve flown down countless times. Again, we were struck by how much sheer natural beauty we have been missing in this part of the state.
As soon as you pull into the campground, you can hear the sounds of a rushing river. I imagine this is what it looks like when it’s very full. Just a short walk down a paved trail, you can get to the Lower Falls. That alone is worth the price of admission, but turns out to be not the most spectacular of the three falls. We pulled in lateish on a Monday and just had time to check it out and do dinner. We were really happy with how strong the cell service was at the campground!
Richard needed to get some work done the next day, so he biked over to “Hoo Hoo Park” in McCloud. That had to be the prettiest office anywhere if you’ve got to spend the day being productive. The views of Mt. Shasta from that area are incredible.
Later, we got to do the 1 1/2 mile hike up to Middle Falls and we remarked all along the way that none of it seems real. It’s like a Disneyland version of a perfect waterfall. Someone clearly planted the clusters of leafy greenery, clinging to the sides of the river and waterfall precipice. No way did that naturally occur. In fact, the whole perfectly cascading look of Middle Falls looks unrealistic and idealized. The landscape designers did a great job.
From there, you can climb some switchbacks and stairs to get to the Middle Falls lookout point. You can also go a relatively short distance along the trail to finally arrive at Upper Falls. This one is more like a crazy, and most definitely deadly, amusement park water ride. The river here is more compactly channelled into a high speed chute that plunges over a rock wall like a fire hose left running. We noticed birds doing maneuvers up and down the channel that could not have been for any purpose except that it was fun. On our return, I booked it down the trail, fast enough to catch another gorgeous sunset over Mt. Shasta.
Our third day at Fowler’s brought a third person to the party, plus her three dogs. We had been anxiously hoping for her arrival because we’d planned this leg of the trip to be together. Unfortunately, she ran into some technical snags that delayed, and almost ruined, her departure. She’s a stubborn lady though and you don’t want to come between her and her vacation time. She pulled some crazy long towing days but finally pulled in near dusk. We celebrated with breakfast for dinner (pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs, all cooked on the grill) and went for an early evening hike up to Middle Falls. Her doggies were obviously thrilled to be out of the car and frolicked merrily down the trail.
The next day, we headed northward as an Alto caravan of two. I give a big thumbs up to this campground. It’s got a world class water feature, times three, nicely spaced sites, and proximity to a town with groceries and gas. Plus, you’ve got amazing views of Mt. Shasta right from the campground. The cell service is fantastic. I didn’t explore kayaking, but I understand there is a lake or reservoir pretty close by. If it had been hot enough, there are some swimming holes along the river that would be fun to cool off.
Great recommendation from a great person. We could not have asked for a more perfect location to celebrate our four year Doryversary, as well as our 26th year wedding anniversary. Fun times.
Total miles from Almanor North Shore: 130.3 with a side trip to Burney to do grocery shopping, 18.4 mpg, 2 hours 58 min. Site 7. Sites with a river view: 3**, 24**, 26, 29, 30. **not reservable. Excellent cell service for both. Vault toilets. No dump. Water spigots in campground, but a little awkward to use if you want to fill fresh water tanks because you’re blocking the road (yes we did, but no one else was coming). You can dump tanks at the Pilot in Weed, heading north.