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Location: Lodgepole, Sequoia National Park, Tulare County
Stream: Marble Fork Kaweah River
Alternate Names:

Height: ~1200 ft.
Access:   hike   nodog  
Distance: 3.8 miles (RT)
Elevation: 6800 ft. (+600 ft.)
Season: May-Sep
Form:   tiered
Lat/Long:36.60886, -118.68964
Directions:Located at the Lodgepole campground, off Hwy 198 (27 miles north of Three Rivers). The trailhead is located at the bridge over the Marble Fork Kaweah River.   Tokopah Falls pictures for sale; Click to view gallery

Tokopah Falls is one of the highlights to see in Sequoia National Park, a beautiful 1200 ft. high cascade along the Marble Fork Kaweah River. It is one of the highest waterfalls in California outside of Yosemite, and in the spring, when the snow is melting, it is undoubtedly an amazing sight. We were here in the spring 2007, but after a dry winter, so it was really more like Autumn (for the waterfalls flow), but it was still a beautiful cascade, reminding me somewhat of Horsetail Falls near Lake Tahoe.

The trail to Tokopah Falls is probably one of the most popular, if not the most popular, hikes in Sequoia National Park. So it will be very busy. I suggest hiking to the falls first thing in the morning. I was there at sunrise, and was the only one around. The hike is very easy, gently rising 600 ft. in elevation up to the falls. As you get closer to the waterfall, you will be able to see most of the entire 1200 ft. cascade falling down the granite rock (only the uppermost section cannot be seen). The trail ends right at the base of the falls. Some people have no doubt scrambled up higher to see more of the upper sections up close, but the cliffs are steep and the rock is slick, so I would not recommend doing anything like that.

Although it is said that Tokopah Falls is 1200 ft. high, I admit that it sure does not seem nearly that high, especially from up close. To me it seems like maybe half that height in total, or maybe even a bit less. I asked my wife how high she thought it was, and she said 100 ft. Thats a bit extreme, but it is true that it does not seem as high as it is. Nonetheless, I double-checked the topo maps and they show a height of around 1000-1100 ft. So it really is as high as they say, though maybe not quite 1200 ft.

One more note: watch out for the giant killer marmots at the base of Tokopah Falls. One of them tried to drag off our child backpack carrier, then tried to eat my daughter. I am kidding, but these things really have no fear, and did come right up to my daughter within inches, looking for food or some such thing. I have heard that it is even worse at nearby Mineral King if you plan to go there. We, unfortunately, could not make it out to Mineral King to see the waterfalls there, but apparently the marmots there will chew up your cars radiator hose while you are out hiking. Thats darn scary to me, considering you are a long 30 miles from civilization.

Get Google Maps directions to trailhead

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Other waterfalls nearby:

Marble Fork Kaweah Falls 1.22 miles
Panther Creek Falls 5.07 miles
Granite Spring Falls 6.47 miles
Marble Falls 6.69 miles
Middle Fork Kaweah Falls 7.18 miles
Cascade Creek Falls 7.29 miles
Stoney Creek Falls 8.88 miles

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