Measuring 1,200 feet long, Tokopah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Sequoia National Park. Unlike the famous free-falling waterfalls in that other national park to the north, Tokopah Falls features a long series of steep picturesque cascades. The 4.2-mile round trip hike to the waterfall is fairly gradual, gaining 630 feet up a trail that should be enjoyable for hikers of all abilities. To make things simple, there are no junctions to worry about along the way to the waterfall where the trail dead ends.
Start near Lodgepole Visitor Center and General Store, driving (or walking) a short distance up Lodgepole Road to a trailhead parking area within Lodgepole Campground. Proceed from there on foot, following the road into the campground, with the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River on your left. Bear left at a split and cross a bridge over the river. On the other side, turn right up the start of Tokopah Falls Trail.
The trail to Tokopah Falls heads east along the north bank of the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River. The single track wanders beneath tall pines and passes several small forest meadows. After a few creek crossings and two bridges, exit the forest and gain the first clear view of the waterfall. To the south, an impressive peak named the Watchtower rises 1,600 feet above Tokopah Valley, making the landscape even more dramatic.
Tokopah is long and elegant. To get to it, cross a rocky moraine over the last half mile of the U-shaped canyon. The trail remains gradual and passable as it maneuvers between large boulders, ending at the base of the impressive falls. Take pictures, take a break, and return the way you came.
The Marble Fork sports another waterfall farther down the mountain from Tokopah. The 8-mile round trip hike to the thunderous Marble Falls shows how this branch of the river got its name.
Sequoia National Park has an entrance fee, but no permit is required to hike to Tokopah Falls. Dogs and mountain bikes are prohibited. The trail to the waterfall is best during the spring snow melt, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: Take Generals Highway to the turnoff for the Lodgepole Visitor Center (4.5 miles north of the Giant Forest Museum) and drive east toward Lodgepole Campground. Park in the large lot near the nature center and bathrooms and cross a bridge to the north side of the river where the trail begins.
Trailhead address: Lodgepole Road, Sequoia National Park, CA 93262
Trailhead coordinates: 36.6048, -118.7249 (36° 36′ 17.3″N 118° 43′ 29.6″W)
|Marble Falls |
This 8-mile hike takes a flower-lined path up a mountain canyon to a powerful waterfall.
|General Sherman Tree |
This one-mile hike visits the world's biggest tree, a 275-foot tall Giant Sequoia that is 36.5 feet across at the base.
|Congress Loop |
This easy paved two mile loop visits the fourth and fifth tallest Sequoias in the world (among others).
|Big Trees Trail |
This 1.4-mile stroll explores giant sequoias around Round Meadow on a paved nature trail that is easy, educational, and beautiful.
|Sunset Rock |
This 2-mile hike visits a large granite dome with great views to the west, possibly the best place to end your day in the Giant Forest.
|Beetle Rock |
This short walk from the Giant Forest Museum to Beetle Rock visits a granite dome with great views and stunning sunsets.
|Crescent Meadow |
This level 1.6-mile loop visits a Sequoia you can stand inside (Chimney Tree) and another that someone used to live in (Tharp's Log).
|Sugar Pine Trail and Bobcat Point Trail Loop |
This short but diverse 1.5-mile loop peaks at Bobcat Point, which presents a fierce perspective of Moro Rock and a massive canyon.
|Hanging Rock Trail |
This short 0.35-mile hike passes views of Moro Rock en route to a balancing boulder on a canyon rim at the edge of the Giant Forest.
|Moro Rock |
This 0.6 mile hike sports panoramic views and should be considered a mandatory hike for first time visitors to Sequoia National Park.
|Paradise Creek |
This short stroll leaves Buckeye Flat Campground to visit the perfect swimming hole for a hot summer day in the Sierra.
|Panther Creek |
This 6-mile hike follows the Middle Fork Trail to a 100 foot waterfall that drops into the Middle Fork of Kaweah River.
|More trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountains |
Explore other destinations in Sequoia National Park and the rest of the range.
|Lower Yosemite Fall in Yosemite National Park |
This electrifying 1.2-mile hike delivers visitors to the base of the tallest waterfall in North America.
|Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite National Park |
This easy paved half-mile trail visits the base of a 620-foot single-drop waterfall on the south side of Yosemite Valley.
|Chilnualna Falls in Yosemite National Park |
This 8-mile round trip hike ascends 2,200 feet past a raucous string of cascades to the top of a waterfall alongside Wawona Dome.
|Tangerine Falls in the Los Padres |
This 2.5-mile hike visits a beautiful waterfall on the edge of Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara.
|Rose Valley Falls in the Los Padres |
This 1-mile round trip trail leads to the lower tier of a lovely two-tier 300-foot waterfall.
|San Antonio Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains |
This 1.4-mile hike visits a multi-tier waterfall along the trail to Mount Baldy.
|Sturtevant Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains |
This 3.3-mile hike visits a 60-foot waterfall and a lush cottage-lined canyon.
|Fish Canyon Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains |
This 4.8-mile round trip hike leaves from an active rock quarry and progresses up a beautiful canyon to a mesmerizing multi-tiered waterfall.
|Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Campgrounds |
There are 14 campgrounds with over 1,000 total sites spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.