Burney Falls National Natural Landmark -
Burney Falls Memorial State Park California
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park
Roosevelt called Burney Falls the “eighth wonder of the world.” The
129-foot Burney Falls is one of the most beautiful falls in California, and
one of the most photographed attractions in the Shasta-Cascade region.
It's not the highest or largest waterfall in the state;
it flows at 100 million gallons every day with a never-changing water
volume. Most of its water comes from springs 1/2 mile above the falls
in a constant flow. Additional water comes from springs, joining to create a
mist-filled basin. Burney Creek originates from the park's underground
springs and flows to Lake Britton, getting larger along the way to the
Established as a National
Parks Natural Landmark in 1984, it was singled out for its examples of river drainage
regulated by stratigraphically-controlled springs in a waterfall formed by
undercutting of horizontal rock layers. Burney Falls is one of the best
examples in the western U.S. of this type of formation.
Memorial State Park lies within a volcanic landscape which aids in creating
the perfect soil and rock conditions for Burney Falls. Known as the
Cascades, the region is the result of pieces of earth's crust shifting and bumping
together. Most mountains in the region are inactive, except for Lassen Peak,
still geologically alive. It was the last volcano in California to
erupt in 1914 and could erupt again. Be sure to visit Lassen Volcanic
National Park during your trip to Burney Falls. You'll be amazed to see the mudpots
and steam rising from the ground at Bumpass Hell in Lassen Park, part of the
earth's bubbling turmoil.
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park
is easy to access on a beautiful drive with tree-lined, rolling highways
that meander through forests as you depart the nearest major city 60 miles northeast in Redding.
The closest small town of less than 5,000 people, Burney, shares the
namesake with the falls. Both were named for Samuel Burney, who came to the area in the 1850s.
After he was found dead in the valley in 1859, settlers referred to the
location as "the
valley where Burney died," and finally just "Burney".
The park is within the Cascade Range and Modoc Plateau natural region, with
910 acres of forest and five miles of streams and lake shoreline,
including a portion of Lake Britton. The falls and state park are halfway
between Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak, on the Pacific Crest Trail, extending
from Canada to Mexico. Long-distance hikers often begin or end their
As you enter the park
(operated by California State Parks), you are charged a modest fee for entry
and discover ample parking nearby in a developed parking lot with a snack
shop, restaurant, public restrooms and a visitors center. Not far from
the lot is the overlook for the Burney Falls. This portion of the falls is
wheelchair accessible and perfect for families with children as well. There
are 128 campsites in the pine and oak forest on the plateau above Burney
Creek. The campground includes individual tables, fire stoves, nearby water
faucets, and restrooms with hot showers. Several campsites are open all
year, though snow sometimes hinders access in mid-winter. During the summer,
all campsites can be reserved, and the campground is full every night.
Reservations for all State Park campsites are made by the current
reservation contractor for California State Parks.
Special events such as
Heritage Day held the Sunday before Columbus Day (2nd Monday in October),
brings costumed re-enactors to the park. Dressed in 19th century costumes,
they live in encampments, ride horses and provide a living history for
visitors attending the celebration.
Additional resources in
the park include boat rentals, two miles of frontage on Lake Britton and a
developed campground. Visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, boating and
water skiing, as well. Located on Hwy 89 approximately 6 miles North of
Hwy 299 E., take I-5 to Redding, Ca., Hwy 299 East to Hwy 89 North, 6 miles
to park entrance. Call (530)
335-2777. parks.ca.gov or burneyfalls.com.
Nearby attractions include:
Lassen Volcanic National Park