Visiting Burney Falls: One of the Most Spectacular Waterfalls in California
Updated: Jul 10
For some reason, I always figured Burney Falls was one of those waterfalls that looks prettier in photographs than it does in real life (as so many waterfalls do). However, upon visiting Burney Falls for the first time this past October, I realized just how was mistaken I was. This waterfall blew me away. In fact, I would go so far as to call it one of the most spectacular waterfalls in California. If you are visiting Northern California, then Burney Falls is a waterfall you don't want to miss.
Burney Falls is a 129 ft high and 250 ft wide waterfall located in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park in Shasta County, California. Unlike other waterfalls which dry up during certain seasons, Burney falls has a constant flow rate of 100 gallons of water per day. So no matter what time of year you choose to visit, the falls will be abundantly flowing.
Getting to Burney Falls
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is located right off Highway 89 in the town of Burney, California. It's about:
45 minutes northeast of Redding
4.5 hours northeast of San Francisco
8.5 hours northeast of Los Angeles
3.5 hours northwest of Lake Tahoe
There is a $10 entrance fee.
Tip: Bring Cash! The park only accepts cash payment between September-May. Also, the park rangers are not always around to collect payment, so you'll have to pay-by-envelope at the entrance kiosk (or risk a fine).
Hiking Burney Falls
Part of what makes Burney Falls such an amazing waterfall is how easily accessible it is. Here are your options for viewing the falls:
Burney Falls Overlook: A super quick walk from the parking lot, this viewpoint overlooks the falls and the creek bed it flows from.
Base of the Falls: Once you've taken in the views from Burney Falls Overlook, continue down the 0.3-mile paved trail which leads down to the base of the falls. This is where most of the photos of Burney Falls are taken from. You can get as close to falls as you would like, but swimming is not permitted, although people seem to do it anyway.
Burney Falls Loop Trail: The 1.2 miles loop takes you to the base of the falls and then up around the backside before looping back to the parking lot.