Kings Canyon Falls, Nevada

I love finding waterfalls in geographic locations that don’t necessarily conjure up the thought of waterfalls. I’ve mentioned before that Nevada is one of those places for me. There are waterfalls for those who look, though! There are a number in the area near Las Vegas (including First Creek and Lost Creek Falls), and one of my followers let me know about waterfalls in Lamoille Canyon near Elko (which I have added to my list of places to visit). If you live in the Reno/Carson City area, there are a few waterfalls near the cities, including the previously mentioned Hunter Creek Falls. In Carson City, there is also Kings Canyon Falls, a small, but beautiful and easy-to-visit waterfall.

It’s a very easy drive outside of Carson City’s downtown area (though you are still officially in Carson City based on boundaries). At the parking area, you hike up mildly steep switchbacks for just over 1/4 of a mile to reach the falls. After hiking almost 6 miles round trip in warmer conditions to see Hunter Creek Falls earlier that day, the short hike in the cool shade of the evening was very enjoyable. (I was a bit cold, actually!) It’s not a big waterfall, about 30′ or so, but it’s worth a detour. In late May, there was water flowing, though it might dry up as it gets warmer in July and August. When it’s flowing, though, I’m guessing it’s rather popular, as there were a surprising number of people hiking to the falls.

Directions:

  1. In Carson City, the main road running north/south is NV-529.
  2. The road that leads to the falls starts of as West King Street, but it doesn’t directly connect with NV-529. You first have to turn on a street running parallel to it (W Musser if coming from the north or W 2nd Street if coming from the south would work), and then you turn left or right on a road such as S Curry Street to get to West King Street. (Convoluted, I know…) Then turn heading west onto West King Street. (It helps to look at a map or have a GPS here.)
  3. Just keep going west along W King Street. It turns into Kings Canyon Road (which is also numbered as National Forest Road 39). You don’t keep driving on this road until it ends, but instead stop at the parking area for the falls, just under 3 miles from NV-529. This area is rather large, and there is signage indicating you’re in the correct area. (You shouldn’t be driving very far along dirt road…It’s mostly paved.)
  4. Hike to the falls. There was a dirt path with switchbacks that led up to the falls. (There may be another route that also leads to the falls.)

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate, mildly steep, but short!)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Kings Canyon Falls in late May 2013

Where in the World is Kings Canyon Falls?

Lost Creek Falls, Nevada

Lost Creek Falls in January 2010

Nevada might not be the first place one thinks of when thinking about waterfalls, but there are some waterfalls in this dry state. Many of these waterfalls, though, are fleeting. They are most likely to be found in the winter and spring, and even then it appears their existence isn’t guaranteed.

Last year, when visiting the Las Vegas area in January, the creeks I visited did actually have a small amount of water flowing. This year, also in January, there was very little water at all. The waterfall on First Creek was completely dry. Lost Creek Falls had a small amount of water flowing over, but admittedly not enough to really show up well in the photograph.

If you live in the Las Vegas area or are visiting the area and are there has just been a rainfall or snow melt has occurred, that is likely the best time to view the falls. If the flow is higher, I think Lost Creek Falls might actually be pretty impressive. The falls were taller than I expected.

Directions:

  1. From Las Vegas, head toward the Red Rocks Canyon National Conservation Area, which is west of the city off of NV-159.
  2. On NV-159, head to the entrance to the scenic drive for the canyon. There is an entrance fee, which is definitely worth it even if the waterfall is not that great.
  3. Obtain a free visitor’s guide, and look for the area on the map indicating Lost Creek. The visitor’s guide very clearly describes the area.
  4. Begin your drive on the one-way road. You’ll definitely want to make stops along the way. After going more than halfway around the drive, you can either continue on the main road, or take a right. Take the right turn. You must go slowly as you are likely to miss this turn. If you miss it, you have to re-drive the loop again.
  5. After taking the right turn, go to the first parking area on your left, which will be for Lost Creek and the Children’s Discovery Trail.
  6. Park and take the trail for Lost Creek. Trust your instincts, as the trail does split off numerous times, often leading to other trails. The trail is VERY short, only a little more than 0.35 miles one-way. If you’ve gone any further, you’ve probably gone the wrong way.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

Lost Creek Falls in December 2010 (flash floods 2 days earlier)

Where in the World is Lost Creek Falls?