Out in the wilds of the National Forest, about 20 miles east of the town of Mt. Shasta, the McCloud River tumbles down three separate waterfalls within a (highly debatable) mile of one another.
Viewing platforms for the McCloud River Falls, all three of them, are easily accessible for visitors in wheelchairs. I saw two older ladies being wheeled to and from Lower Falls myself. Each Falls has mostly level paved paths that lead to fenced areas where you can get multiple views of the waterfalls. The walks from the various parking lots aren’t strenuous.
Getting to the Falls pools is a different story. A story about hiking long and steep trails, basic rock climbing skills, good shoes, and fearlessness of heights and wasps. Actually taking a swim in the McCloud requires tolerance to cold water, more rock climbing to get back out, and possibly even a leap of faith.
Don’t plan to swim at the Lower Falls pool unless you can safely climb up and down a 10 foot rock cliff or super-steep trail. It’s possible to wade in the river above the falls here if you can scramble over a few rocks and stand the cold water.
At Middle Falls, you must be able to boulder-scramble. Also, Middle Falls has yellow jackets–my own personal kryptonite. I didn’t get a chance to scope out the Upper Falls swimming situation, but it clearly involves another steep hike or cliff climb.
It’s much quicker to drive from one Falls overlook to the next. The hiking trail between the Falls is wide and not too steep, but the signs all seem to say “1/2 mile” to the next falls. 1/2 mile my exhausted, aching ass. Next time I’m wearing a pedometer and getting an accurate reading. Be aware that the road to the Upper Falls has a serious pothole problem that will jostle you both hither and yon.
Each Falls overlook has restroom facilities in the form of permanent pit toilets. They’re clean enough to use, but the smell can be indescribable. (Pit toilets get like that in the summertime.) BYO hand sanitizer.