Hidden Adventures: Fresno County's largest waterfall, Stevenson Falls

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- If you're looking to escape the noise of the city and get back to nature's sound, you don't have to go far with Stevenson Falls.

The eleventh tallest waterfall in the state of California, Stevenson Falls is by far the biggest in Fresno County.

To get there, head north from Auberry on Jose Basin Road just north of Mono Wind Casino. Take your time on the narrow one-lane road, then take a left at the fork to follow Italian Bar Road. After about an hour and 45 minutes of driving from Fresno, you'll come to a gate.

Managed by Southern California Edison, a service road was built in 1922 for the Big Creek Hydroelectric Project. It's said to have cost one million dollars per mile to build. The name "Million Dollar Mile Road" stuck, and the paved ground found there will be your path to the falls.

About halfway there you'll find a cave off to the right. It's an adit (add-it) managed by SoCal Edison that's used to drain excess water. Should you hear sirens, the water is about to be released.

It's about three and a half miles from the gate to the falls. Depending on the time of year, a variety of wildflowers and succulents will be in bloom. After an elevation gain of about 700 feet, you'll come to the falls.

In non-drought years, SoCal Edison releases water from Shaver Lake into Stevenson Creek. The result is a roaring cascade that makes the bridge impassable. A sign at the entrance says as much.

Either view the falls from afar or on a hot day-venture out a few feet for a quick cool down.

The falls drop 1,200 feet in four sections (380, 260, 250 and 180 feet) before feeding into the San Joaquin River. With the water covering the bridge, the only way to see the upper section of falls is from above.

The falls run year round and have become a popular escape for runners and bikers.

It's a Hidden Adventure you can see without going to a national park that puts you face to face with one of the biggest waterfalls in California.

As a reminder, whenever you enjoy the great outdoors, preserve the experience for everyone else by following the principles of Leave No Trace.

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