Burney Falls - Northern California Attractions
California travel expert Veronica Hill of visits McArthur Burney Falls State Park in this episode of California Travel Tips.
This beautiful evergreen forest, located just north of Redding between Lassen Peak and Mt. Shasta in California's lava country, is famous for its 129-foot waterfall, which cascades from Burney Creek down into Lake Britton. The falls are a sacred place for the Pit River Indian Tribe, who have held ceremonial rituals here for thousands of years.
President Theodor Roosevelt called these falls one of the wonders of the world. The year-round falls are formed by melting snow from Burney Mountain, which travels through underground streams before hitting solid rock and flowing back to the surface. Each day, more than 100 million gallons of water plunge over the falls.
While you're here, don't miss the Falls Loop Trail, which is a 1-mile hike to the base of the falls and back up. During the walk, you'll see lava flows and fractured basalt — evidence of the region's turbulent volcanic activity. After descending 100 feet into Burney Canyon, we're rewarded with a cool mist at the base of the falls.
The 20-foot pool is quite popular with fishermen, who regularly pull in rainbow, brook and brown trout. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks are allowed, and the season runs from late April through Nov. 15. Swimming is discouraged in the pool, which maintains a chilly 48 degrees.
As the trail continues uphill, you'll reach the top of the falls and circle back to the visitor center. The cliffs at the edge of the falls are unstable, so be sure to stay behind the fence!
If you want to stay the night, Burney Falls State Park has an excellent campground, with 128 sites, flush restrooms and showers. You can also book one of their 1- or 2-bedroom cabins, which are equipped with fire rings, propane heaters, picnic tables and bunk beds. Just note that there is no electricity, so bring along lanterns and your own bedding. At the Burney Falls General Store, you can stock up on grocery items, souvenirs and snacks.
During your stay, you can rent a canoe, paddle or rowboat for a day on Lake Britton, or head into Lassen Volcanic National Park. The McArthur Burney Falls park Heritage Day is held annually on Columbus Day in October.
After visiting Burney Falls, be sure to pull into Dusty Campground for a peek at the bridge from Stand By Me.
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