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Mud Creek Falls

Mud Creek Falls

Mud Creek Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in California. Fed by both glaciers and springs, it has the highest volume by far of any of the falls on Mount Shasta. Where Whitney Falls is full of grace, Mud Creek is full of fury. The high volume of water erupts over the edge of a band of hard, erosion resistant rock and thunders down into a narrow chasm. The bulk of the water flowing over the falls plunges downward in a classic, linear waterfall while a smaller, yet still significant, amount spreads out in a lacy series of cascades bouncing down the face of the rocky cliff. It is a tremendous sight and worthy of far more attention than the waterfall receives.

The Scene:

Perhaps Mud Creek Falls languishes in relative obscurity because it is nearly overshadowed by the epic scope of its surroundings. Tucked into the bottom of 1,500 foot deep Mud Creek Canyon, the falls are dwarfed by the tremendous size of the canyon. Mud Creek Canyon itself appears diminutive when compared to the mighty cone of Mount Shasta, which rises overhead. Volcanic spire after spire march up Sargents Ridge, casting their shadows deep into the canyon. Near the summit, the Konwakiton Glacier clings to the mountain’s rocky slopes. Melted water from the glacier is the initial source of Mud Creek. The entire scene, taken as a whole, is mesmerizing and it is easy to see why such a magnificent waterfall as Mud Creek Falls is lost amidst the grandeur of the mountain.

Getting there:

Perhaps the biggest drawback to Mud Creek Falls is the difficult access necessary to reach it. Most who observe the waterfall do so from the Clear Creek Trail, which hugs the east rim of Mud Creek Canyon. The difficulty is that it is about 1 mile away from the falls. Even despite this distance, the falls are an impressive sight and are still audible from across the canyon. Though far away, this vantage is still a satisfying place from which to view Mud Creek Falls, given the much larger and truly awe-inspiring scene. For those intent on reaching the waterfall, there is a difficult cross-country route from the Clear Creek Springs at the end of the Clear Creek Trail. This route descends down the steep side of Mud Creek Canyon to the falls. Rappelling the band of cliffs alongside the falls is popular with the very, very few who make it that far.

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