Angel Falls on Willow Creek. Oakhurst, California
|Angel Falls near Oakhurst,California|
Angel Falls is located about 7 miles from the town of Oakhurst California. If you’re headed to Yosemite from Orange County of Los Angeles, you’re most likely going to be driving through Oakhurst anyway, so Angel Falls is definitely worth a stop.
Angel Falls is a series of cascades and small waterfalls along Willow Creek. The largest waterfall is probably around 20 feet tall. In the summer, these waterfalls are really popular among the locals. There are several great swimming holes and a few great places for cliff jumping if you’re brave enough, or dumb enough, depending on how you look at it. If you head upstream, there is a trail on the left side of the creek that leads uphill, but I prefer hiking through the creek. The granite has been polished over the years by the water, so be careful if you decide to try and climb up through the rocks. Wet granite can be as slick as ice and it would be easy to crack your skull if you slipped and fell.
I visited the falls in mid-June this year for the first time and the water in Willow Creek was cold, but not unbearable like some of the creeks and rivers in Yosemite. Diving off the rocks into the crystal clear pools was one of the highlights of my Yosemite trip this year, and when you’re talking about Yosemite, that’s a real compliment. If you’re looking to budget your time on the way into Yosemite, I would say that 2 hours would be sufficient to explore the falls and take a swim. There is another larger 50 foot waterfall about a mile upstream from Angel Falls called Devil’s Slide Falls. I only found out about this "secret" waterfall by accident a few days later when I was browsing the internet in our hotel room. I definitely plan on coming back next year to see it.
A word of warning: I’ve read that Angel falls can get really crowded on the weekends with kids partying. It was basically empty on a Wednesday afternoon in June, so you may want to plan your trip accordingly.
Direction to Angel Falls:
Drive North of Oakhurst on Highway 41 for approximately 3 miles. Turn right on Highway 222 (Bass Lake Road). Follow Bass Lake Road for approximately 3 miles and bear left onto Route 274. Continue for 1 mile and look for the dirt pullout on the left-hand side of the road just before the small bridge. Parking can be difficult on weekends.
|Angel Falls Swimming Hole|
|Angel Falls on Willow Creek|
|Willow Creek Parking area|