There’s no doubt about it; Sacramento is one of the most versatile cities in all of California. Known for its rich mining history, unique cultural food, and its continuously evolving community, there’s truly no place quite like Sacramento and its many unique residents. However, despite all the wonderful things that the city itself has to offer, sometimes it’s nice to get away from the fast-paced city life for a bit and venture out into some nature-based activities, and one of the best ways to do that is to take a trip to a quiet nature trail that leads a relaxing waterfall. And thankfully, the beautiful national forests and surrounding mountain ridges just outside of the city certainly have a lot of those to offer.
With that said, if you’re looking to find a fun waterfall hike of your own, here is a guide to some of the best waterfall hikes near Sacramento, CA, that are perfect for hikers seeking to set out on a new adventure.
Hidden Falls Regional Park
To start, the first waterfall located near Sacramento, CA, is the Hidden Falls Waterfall. Located just 15 minutes out of Auburn, CA, the trail leading to Hidden Falls waterfall is about a 3.2-mile long hike and is very popular amongst locals of the area for its relaxing and peaceful atmosphere. Perfect for all levels of hikers, this trail takes you to about a 470-475 ft elevation change and is completely accessible by foot. Because of this, this is a great hiking trail for families and dogs and is only about a 45-minute drive out of the city of Sacramento, making it a perfect getaway trip for the morning or afternoon.
Aside from this, however, the Hidden Falls Regional Park, where the waterfall is located, also offers up to 30 miles of alternative trails all around the park that are all suitable for hiking, running, biking, and horse riding. Therefore, you can venture to many different places while visiting the park and truly make a day of it.
Dutch Creek Falls
Next on the list is the Dutch Creek Falls. Featuring two twin waterfalls that represent the joining of the Johntown and Dutch river, the Dutch Creek falls are about 30 feet tall each and are definitely picture-worthy. Excellent for families and dogs on leashes, this hike takes you on a 270 ft elevation gain and is said to be a good hike for beginners, as it is only 1.4-miles long and accessible to just about everyone. Because of this, this is one of the top local picks for places to see in the area, as the waterfalls are truly mesmerizing to watch and are extremely easy to get to.
More than anything, this hike is fun, surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, and is located only about 55 minutes out of Sacramento near Garden Valley, making it an excellent trail to get away to for a few hours if you’re looking for a little natural zen.
Next, if you’re looking for one of the largest waterfalls in the area and are okay with venturing out a little further, Bassi Falls is truly a waterfall unlike any other. Located about an hour and a half away from the city of Sacramento and a 3.6-mile hike in length, this nature trail takes you deep into the peaceful backwoods of Kyburz, where you’re bound to find your inner peace. Here, you’ll also find a few small waterfalls just off the main trail that will eventually lead you to the large Bassi Falls, toppling down large boulders at 109ft that leads to a river of waterfalls below and is certainly picture-worthy.
Not to mention, with a 430 ft elevation gain, this trail is considered to be perfect for some beginner and intermediate hikers, as most of the trail is pretty flat with only a few steep up and down slopes along the way. Therefore, if you’re looking to get lost in the woods for a few hours and find your zen, Bassi Falls is a perfect place to go for some peace and quiet.
Sly Park Waterfalls
Next, the Sly Park Waterfalls is another place to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing hike away from the roaring buzz of city life. At just over an hour’s drive from Sacramento, located in the Pollock Pines area, this trail takes you through beautiful forests, quiet meadows, along riversides, and if you’re up for a 9-mile hike, eventually to Jenkins Lake, where you can camp, picnic, fish, waterski, and paddleboard. However, the waterfall itself is only about 2.8 miles away from the trailhead marker and is sure to take your breath away, falling at the height of 33 ft.
With that said, the trail to the waterfall itself is rated for beginner to intermediate hikers and is said to be suitable for dogs, horses, and bikers; and is overall a perfect place to visit with the whole family for a day or night trip.
Lake Clementine Dam
And lastly, one of the largest and most beautiful man-made waterfalls in the Sacramento area is the Lake Clementine Dam. A hidden gem in the California foothills right next to the Foresthill Bridge, this hiking trail is about 4.5 miles long and takes you through the most beautiful forest scenery along the north fork of the American River, which eventually leads you to the Lake Clementine dam, where you’ll see 155 ft waterfall. However, despite the waterfall itself, the best part about this hike is that there are also several unique lookout points along the way that overlook different areas of the river, as well as multiple areas where you can branch off onto other smaller trails that either go up or down the hills that will lead you to other scenic areas, so you never know where you might end up.
More than anything, this is a highly popular hike amongst locals and is only about a 40-minute drive from Sacramento and is certainly a bucket list hike you’ll want to venture out on at least once in your life. This hike is also considered to be ranked at moderate difficulty due to some rocky terrain but is still considered to be suitable for dogs and families.
There are many beautiful places to hike around Sacramento. Whether you’re looking for a short 40-minute hike or a day-long adventure, the surrounding forests of the area are sure to have you covered with a variety of different places just waiting to be explored. Above all else, hopefully, this article has helped you to discover some new waterfall locations near you so that you can get away for a few hours or a few days and make some adventurous memories of your own deep in the beautiful California wilderness.