Marble Falls Trail begins from Potwisha Campground in the foothills region of Sequoia National Park. The 8-mile round trip trail is the perfect spot for a spring hike. Follow a flower-lined path up a mountain canyon to a powerful waterfall. In April and May, much of the trail is colored with flowers, giving hikers plenty to look at on the way to Marble Falls.
The trail starts near site 14 at Potwisha Campground. There are a couple parking spots at the trailhead for those who are not staying at the campground. If those are full, you may park in a large lot across the road from the campground.
The trail commences up a service road past a sign for Marble Falls. The Marble Fork of the Kaweah River can be seen and heard through the trees to the left. After a short distance, a posted arrow points up a single-track to the left. Turn up this new trail and stay on it for the rest of the hike, as it switches up the canyon wall and heads north toward the falls, gaining 2,150 feet of elevation along the way.
The trail continues steadily uphill, weaving through a painter’s pallet of wildflowers. While it remains several hundred feet above the river, the rushing water will stay within earshot. The trail passes through chaparral, along rock faces, and through groves of bays. It is a sincere four miles to the falls. As the elevation increases, the vegetation becomes more alpine. After 2.5 miles, a prominent outcropping boasts a wide view up the canyon and at the raging creek below. From here, the trail continues to climb before finally leveling out near the falls.
Marble Falls tumbles about seventy feet into a large pool. The river is wide and powerful and the thundering water echoes off the sheer canyon walls. The trail passes the falls and ends on a slab of white marble. Pause on the marble and take in the cacophony of the rushing torrents. If interested, continue up along the river a bit farther to be treated to another waterfall that tumbles into a lively pool. There is faint trail to the upper falls and a bit of easy scrambling is required. This falls is shorter, but a more direct view is available, and it is no less picturesque.
The other good news is, the hike back is mostly all downhill. In the spring, when the temperatures in the foothills are accommodating and the river is flowing strong from the snow melt, this hike deserves to be on every itinerary.
To get to the trailhead: From Southern California, take the 5 North to the 99 North. After 96 miles, take the 198 East toward Visalia. The 198 leads right to the park, where it becomes the Generals Highway. An entrance fee is charged to access the park. Four miles into the park, cross over the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River and Potwisha Campground is on the left. There is parking across from the campground for those not staying at Potwisha.
Trailhead address: Generals Highway (California 198), Sequoia National Park, CA 93262
Trailhead coordinates: 36.51581, -118.800967 (36° 30′ 56.91″N 118° 48′ 03.48″W)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding Sierra Nevada trails and campgrounds.
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There are 14 campgrounds with over 1,000 total sites spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.