Potem Creek Falls, Shasta-Trinity National Forest


What? : The 70-foot-tall Potem Creek Falls drop is impressive, and it has a large swimming pool at it base.

This location is part of my "North California Waterfall Loop" road-trip suggestion.


Where? : Potem Falls is located east of Redding. From highway 5 drive east on highway 299 for 30.5 miles and then turn left onto Fenders Ferry Road. Additional 9.5 miles drive on dirt road will bring you to the 0.25-mile hike trailhead.

Google Map Link


When? : Year round, preferred during summertime.


Due note 1: This area is part USDA Forest Service, Shasta Lake Ranger Station, no fees needed.


Due note 2: Fenders Ferry Road is a well-maintained dirt road; this forest road is in good condition and four-wheel drive, or high clearance vehicle are not mandatory. Allow yourself at list 1/2 hour to reach from highway 299 to the falls trailhead.


Due note 3: This visit can be combined with other nearby waterfalls visits, including: Hatchet Creek Falls and McArthur Burney Falls State Park (one of the most beautiful waterfall in California)


Due note 4: Overall, including the driving the forest road from highway 299 and the waterfall short hike this can be 1.5-2 hours visit.


My thoughts: Potem Creek Falls is one of those hidden places with an amazing waterfall that most people never heard off. I think that the Potem Creek Falls is something that should be on your “Pleases to Visit” list.


Detailed driving instructions:

From Redding take highway 299 East Turn a left on Fenders Ferry Rd. (30.5 miles east of highway 5). The paved road turns into a dirt road after 3.5 miles. Keep driving the forest road, after 5.5 miles you will cross the Pit River on the impressive Fenders Ferry bridge, here you’ll see the PG&E dam on the right.

Soon after crossing the bridge the dirt road start to climb to the right and you will soon see the trailhead to the falls to your left, park your car on the sideroad.

Watch carefully for the unsigned trailhead on the left, 0.6 mile beyond the bridge.

Total distance from 299 E to the falls is 9.4 miles.


Addition North California blog posts:

The visit:


From the roadside parking, Potem Falls Trail is a short down and up 0.4-mile hike, a series of three switchbacks will take you all the way down to the creek below. The trail ends at a small overlook, but you can make your way down another 15 or so feet to the water.

The 70-foot-tall waterfall drop is impressive, and it has a large swimming pool.

After enjoying the view and your swim you need to hike back up the short trail to your car.


Since 2021 has been such a dry year and I came just before the winter (Oct.) the waterfall was not so much overflowing but still it was impressive to see.