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Blog Best Spring Hiking Trails Near Oakhurst
Ciara Turner-Ewert | 06/01/2022Family Friendly, Food & Beverage, Guest Stories, Hiking, Itineraries, Outdoor Activities, Plan Your Trip, Road Trip, Seasons, Stay with Us, Wildflowers, Wildlife |   

Where To Find the Best Spring Hiking Trails Near Oakhurst

Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons to explore the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Yosemite National Park is less crowded, and the waterfalls are rushing with fresh snow melt. There are Bridalveil Fall, Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, Wapama Falls, and countless other waterfalls to explore in the park (editors note - find out more about the many waterfalls in Yosemite, check out our Guide to Yosemite Waterfalls). But what most visitors don’t know is that the town of Oakhurst, Yosemite’s Southern Gateway, is also brimming with its own natural water wonders. 

Tucked just beneath the mountain ridge, this town features numerous hikes that showcase the glorious Sierra Nevada Mountains, blooming wildflowers, rushing waterfalls, and swimming holes screaming “play with us.” If you’re craving a more intimate adventure, here are the best hikes in Oakhurst to add to your spring hiking list. 

Address: Rd 630, Oakhurst, CA 93644 or park at the large turnout on Highway 41 

One of my favorite trails to explore during the springtime is Lewis Creek Trail which is about 7 miles from the Yosemite border. This not-so-hidden gem is a popular hiking spot for locals as it showcases colorful wildflowers and two beautifully flowing waterfalls. 

Corlieu Falls sits about 80 feet high and has a steep descent to view the waterfall from the ground up. This descent is 100% worth it, as it offers impeccable views of the falls, a refreshing pool for dipping your toes in, and prime spots for picnicking beneath the shade. 

On the other hand, Red Rock Falls are much smaller, cascading about 20 feet down. The falls are much wider, and I think the pools here are much better for swimming. Although, keep in mind that the water will be cold since the fresh snow melt, so tread lightly!

The trail fluctuates between medium and easy and is about 3.5 miles round trip, depending on which trailhead you park at. The main trailhead is at the large turnout on Highway 41, but there’s also a trailhead near Camp Sugar Pine on Road 630 called the Lewis Creek National Recreation Area North Trailhead. 

It’s important to note that there are no restrooms on the trail, but there are portable toilets at the trailhead. Also, this is a popular picnicking spot, so remember to leave no trace after dining among the beautiful evergreen trees.

Address: Rd 432, Bass Lake, CA 93604

Along the North side of Bass Lake are the famous Devils Slide (or Devils Slide Falls) and Angel Falls. Each of these water attractions are located on Willow Creek, offering a cold retreat to hikers escaping the heat in the area.

Devils Slide is one of the most unique water attractions I’ve seen, as it’s not your typical waterfall. Rather, it’s a long gentle granite slope with a rushing water slide that spans about 600 feet and has aqua greenish mini pools. Follow the slide down, and you’ll immediately be greeted by the other waterfall, Angel Falls. 

Angel Falls, in comparison, is quite larger and is a picturesque fall that continues to flow down the granite rock into Willow Creek. And during sunset, the colors here are quite immaculate. We witnessed the light reflecting colorful rainbows as the sun kissed the waterfalls goodnight.   

The best way I found to access these falls was by parking at the Falls Day-Use Parking Area. In total, Willow Creek Trail is a 3.1-mile loop, but I found access to falls from this parking area much shorter. To reach both falls, it took us about 30 minutes for a moderate climb up the hill. 

When hiking this trail, it’s important to use caution and stay on the trail while hiking this area. It can be extremely slippery here, and many accidents have happened before.

Ciara is a travel writer, health & wellness writer, certified wellness & transformative travel coach, and a world traveler who’s visited over 30 countries. Her work has been seen in USA Today, Essence, Travel Noire, and many other publications. When she’s not writing for publications or coaching, Ciara is traveling the world with her amazing husband, eating chocolate chip cookies, and writing for a wellness travel blog she founded, Wellness Travel Diaries. On her blog, you’ll find adrenaline-seeking inspiration, outdoorsy adventures, drool-worthy allergy-friendly eats, and tried and true wellness hacks.

Our annual Visit Yosemite | Madera County Visitors Guide can answer all your questions about visiting California's Gateway to Yosemite. From the park itself to the museums, wineries, art galleries and more throughout Madera County, our guide can help you plan the perfect vacation. Please note that we mail to the USA only, but anyone can download the guide.
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