One of the most beautiful parks in California, McArthur-Burney Falls, is located at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, just east of the Shasta National Forest. It is the second oldest park in the California state park system and contains one of the area’s most spectacular natural wonders: Burney Falls.
There is more than just the falls for vacationers to experience here. The park boasts 910 acres of forest and five miles of streamside and lake shoreline, including a portion of Lake Britton.
Located just beyond the south entrance to the park are the visitors center and ranger station. Here you can find maps of trails, information about camping, fishing and boating, and information about the flora and fauna to be found within the park. This is an excellent place to start your visit, get oriented, and plan your day.
The park’s major attraction is the 129-foot Burney Falls, which is fed by Burney Creek and is considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the United States and the most beautiful in California. Because of their geological formations and position, the falls appear as if they are a continuous wall of streaming water
Additional water is added to the falls from naturally-occurring underground springs,. When the water from the springs meets the sea from the creek, a mist-filled basin is created, making the falls even more spectacular. One hundred million gallons of water flow through the falls every day.
The landscape of the falls was created by volcanic activity over a million years ago and by erosion from weather and streams. The area around McArthur-Burney State Park was also once volcanic and is surrounded by mountain peaks and is covered by black volcanic rock or basalt.
McArthur-Burney Falls Hiking
There are five miles of hiking trails loop through the park’s evergreen forests. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through the park, and the park store can be used as a general delivery mailing address for hikers.
There is also a trail that takes hikers to Pioneer Cemetery, and there are three main trails that lead to the falls: Headwaters Loop Trail, Falls Loop Trail, and the Burney Creek Trail. All of the paths that take you to the falls start at the visitor’s center.
The main trail is the Falls Loop Trail (3/4 miles), which starts at the Burney Falls overlook. From there, it goes down to the bottom of the falls and then descends downstream to the Rainbow Footbridge. It then crosses Burney Creek and takes hikers back uphill to the other side of the ravine.
Finally, it returns across the creek via the Fisherman’s Bridge. The shortest hike within the park is a ½ mile hike, and the longest is 3 miles.
There is a dedicated hike/bike trail within the park, and a portion of the Pioneer Trail hiking route allows dogs on leashes.
McArthur-Burney Falls Camping
The park offers both campsites and cabin accommodations. The main campground can accommodate large RVs. None has utilities, but there are numerous public facilities.
In all, there are 121 campsites. For those who don’t like tents or who don’t have an RV, the park offers 24 one- and two-bedroom cabins, all within walking distance of the main trail and falls.
The cabins do not have electricity or private restroom facilities but are located within a close walk to restrooms.
Water Sports McArthur-Burney Falls
A large portion (9 miles long and 1 mile wide) of Lake Britton is found within the park, offering boating, fishing and a variety of water sports opportunities. Small motorboats, kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and paddleboats are available for rental.
Fishing areas can be found both at Lake Britton and at Burney Creek, which is planted with catchable-size trout throughout the summer season and has its own fish cleaning station.
Fishing licenses are required for anyone over 16 years old and can be purchased at the park store. There is a small swimming beach on Lake Britton, with limited parking.
Recreation and Facilities
Near the entrance to the park, just beyond the visitors’ center, there is a store selling provisions, camping supplies, and useful information about the park. Attached to the store is a small restaurant that serves ready-made breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
There are four picnic areas scattered throughout the park, with the largest a few yards beyond the visitors’ center. In the middle of the camp, not far from the main trail, there is a campfire area, which is the only area in the field that allows fires.
Where is McArthur-Burney Falls
Burney Falls is located in Northern California’s Shasta County. The park is northeast of Redding, six miles north of Highway 299 on Highway 89 11 miles East of Burney. Travel time from and to Redding, California is a little over an hour (50 miles.)