Are you planning to spend some time exploring Northern California? I cannot stress this enough, but I highly recommend that you take a little visit to Burney Falls in Shasta County in the Cascade Range mountains. In a state that is full of natural beauty, the 129-foot Burney Falls stands out for being exceptionally so. While this is technically considered a hike, the walk down to the falls is very easy to do, so even nonhikers can enjoy this one!
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is a beautiful visit in Northern California, with the falls being the park’s centerpiece. The land was gifted to the State of California in the 1920s, in order to preserve the beauty of this natural region. This is one of the most popular hikes in this region of California and for good reason, it is an absolutely stunning site to see!
6 Reasons You Should Visit Burney Falls in California
Burney Falls Was Once Named the Eighth Wonder of the World by Teddy Roosevelt
While Burney Falls is not officially recognized as the Eighth Wonder of the World, it was dubbed that by President Theodore Roosevelt when he made a visit to the park in 1903. The mist-filled basin of the 129-foot tall and 250-foot wide Burney Falls provides visitors with a fantastic view of these majestic falls.
It’s an Amazing Place to Take Photos
In this social media-crazed world we live in, a place’s photographic cred tends to be important to people. I happen to love landscape photography, so I kind of get it. Either way, Burney Falls truly is one of the most beautiful places I have ever photographed. The blue of the water of the 22-foot-deep pool at the base of the falls pops through amazingly in photos, which is a stark contrast to the white water flow of the waterfall.
As you can see in the photo above of my daughter and my youngest son, even my then 5-year-old son was all about the view.
Just take a look at these no-filter photos in this post and you’ll have an idea of just how beautiful this place really is.
Burney Falls Consistently Makes the List of Most Beautiful Waterfalls in California
While Burney Falls might not be the largest waterfall in California, it almost always makes the list of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state and oftentimes even in the country. You’ll often see Burney Falls on a list with other majestic waterfalls such as Yosemite Falls and Tokopah Falls.
It’s in A Great Location
One of the greatest things about this waterfall is its location! It is literally only 60 miles Northeast of Redding, 72 miles east of Shasta Lake, 59 miles southeast of Shasta Mountain, and less than 4 hours northwest of Lake Tahoe. We actually stopped to see Burney Falls on our way home to Oregon from a trip to Lake Tahoe. It made for a wonderful trip home!
In addition to all of the semi-local places we mentioned above, the park itself shares a lake shoreline with Lake Britton! As a matter of fact, Burney Falls was created when Burney Creek arose from the park’s underground springs and flows towards a nearby portion of Lake Britton. This creek grows in size as it approaches the falls which helps to create the 100 million gallons of water that flows over the falls each day!
The Water Flow Tends to Not Slow Down Through the Year
One of the coolest things about Burney Falls is that, unlike many other waterfalls throughout the state or country, is that you can expect the same water flow year round. You don’t have to time your visit to coincide with the snow melt-off after winter in order to see the falls in all of their glory.
That being said, wintertime is often not a good time to visit as the entrance kiosk is often closed during the snowy season.
It’s a Very Accessible and Easy Hike
For my friends who may not love hiking or might be just beginners to the hiking game, this is an easy one! The Burney Falls Loop Trail is just 1.2 miles in length and has an elevation change of about 160 feet.
I have been to many hiking trails that are just not realistic for those with disabilities to hike. Burney Falls was not the same though. It’s an easy stroll from the parking lot to the Burney Falls Overlook. If you want to hike down to the base of the falls, you can do that too! While there is a bit of an elevation drop, the trail is fully paved, less than a third of a mile, and very easy to do. As a matter of fact, my husband was only a few weeks out from knee surgery at the time of our visit and he was able to walk up and down the trail with no issue.
Any of the three options (overlook, loop trail, or short trail to the bottom of the falls) will allow you to have a beautiful view of the falls.
Burney Falls Trail is Well Shaded
If you happen to be visiting during the heat of summer, don’t worry! Burney Falls Interpretive Trail is lined with trees and mostly shaded. That means that you can stay cool while enjoying the beautiful greenery that surrounds you.