Middle Falls, and a short stop on your way to or from the horse trailhead is a must. You’ll find a large parking area, restrooms and short walk to a viewing area to take photos. The section of trail open to horses stretches from Upper Falls to Algoma (a small US Forest Service campground). Unlike the trail passing the falls, this section sees fewer hikers and only an occasional mountain bike. The first interesting sight you come to when travelling East from the Upper Falls is the sound of more falling water. Instead of a waterfall, the sound is made by the McCloud River surging over the top of Lakin Dam, an old concrete dam built to provide water for the lumber mill that once operated in McCloud.
The dam was built in 1925 and named after an executive of the lumber company who perished while fighting a fire on the outskirts of the town. Beyond Lakin dam the river character changes from the roaring river with extensive volcanic features, to a more lackadaisical landscape as it flows quietly through meadows and forested areas. Further east you will come upon the site of what was once Daveney's cabin. The cabin was built in 1935 by Mr. Daveney, who leased the land from the McCloud
River Lumber Company for $1.00/year. The chimney (all that’s left of the cabin) was made from native rock from the immediate area and was constructed by Joe Bertaco, the company’s finest stonemason. Traveling east you then come to Forest Service Group Camp 4, and a good watering hole for the horses. Leaving Camp 4 it will take you about 90 minutes to reach the Cattle Camp Swimming Hole. We find this busy on some summer weekends, but have also found it with few or any others there. Even on busy weekends there are lots of places to tie up and take a break at the water’s edge. Although the trail goes further east to Algoma, the ride I like the best is from Camp 4 (park outside/adjacent to the camping area along the road going in) to the Swimming Hole for lunch and then back to Camp 4. This makes a 3 hour round trip of ride time. If you went from the Upper Falls parking area, to Cattle Camp Swimming hole, it would be about a 3 hour ride one way. There is trailer access at the Swimming Hole if you wanted a pick up there. You do have to use caution during the fall season when we have encountered bees along the trail, and sections of the trail can be dusty in the dryer months.
The McCloud River Loop Road is approximately 6 miles east of the town of McCloud, off State Route 89.