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California’s Coolest Waterfall—Is CLOSED!?

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Imagine a place hidden deep within California’s wilderness, where nature’s beauty takes center stage. That’s Burney Falls for you—a stunning waterfall that’s been reeling in visitors for years. 

I must admit, I didn’t expect much during my visit. I’m a pro waterfall chaser, and I’ve seen TONS of waterfalls in my lifetime. But this one? WOW! Still, to this day, despite seeing waterfalls across six continents, it is one of the best ones I’ve witnessed!

Let’s get into what to expect when you get here…

Getting to Burney Falls

You can access McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park via State Route 89, and there are clear signs pointing the way. The park offers ample parking facilities, but it does get pretty busy. 

It’s illegal to park on Highway 89; you can be cited and towed! There’s usually a constant flow of people coming and going, so don’t get impatient; just wait to park in a proper spot.

Once you arrive and pay the $10 parking fee, it’s a short and pleasant walk from the parking area to the falls.

*NOTE: They are currently redoing the trail down to the falls. Waterfall access is closed as of summer 2024. Check here for updates.

Burney Falls

When you first approach Burney Falls, you can’t help but feel a sense of excitement. You’ll already hear its roar in the distance.

This incredible waterfall is located in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, and it’s truly a sight to behold standing at a towering 129 feet tall!

Burney falls a beautiful wide waterfalls with many cascades and clean deep blue water.
The breathtaking Burney Falls.

But Burney Falls isn’t a simple waterfall. It’s a breathtaking double waterfall, where water flows over the top and through porous volcanic rocks.

Burney falls main cascade from the side and the sun sets over the top of the ridge.
Burney Falls from the side.

This creates a stunning display of nature’s beauty, making it appear as if the water is emerging right from the mossy-covered rocks themselves, seemingly out of nowhere… like magic!

I’m not sure about you, but I haven’t seen anything like it to this day.

Burney Falls Hike

Distance: 1.1 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 164 feet

Other important notes:

  • Dogs are not allowed
  • There is a fee for this trail – $10 to park

The well-marked trails are suitable for visitors of various fitness levels, making it accessible to everyone, including families with kids and those who prefer a more leisurely stroll.

Burney Falls hiking trail and sign. Sign says height of falls at 129ft, Depth of pool at 22ft, and water temperature at 42 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit.
Overview of trail and sign to Macarthur-Burney falls on a spring day.

It only takes about 30 minutes to walk downhill and back up (but tack on the extra time to sit and enjoy!)

The path is mostly paved, with a few steps here and there. Once you make it to the bottom, you can scramble around the rocks to get closer, but there’s no swimming here!

The Best Time to Visit

Burney Falls flows steadily throughout the year, no matter the season. Unlike many other waterfalls that might slow down or even dry up during certain times, Burney Falls maintains its impressive flow all year long, making it a reliable and awe-inspiring sight for everyone.

Me standing in front of Burney Falls on the rocky shores before the big blue pool of water.
Burney Falls from the rocky shores.

The reason behind this constant flow lies in the park’s geology.

Burney Falls gets its water from underground springs that form this magnificent waterfall into Burney Creek. Because of this, you can enjoy this natural wonder no matter when you choose to visit.

I personally visited during one of the “worst” months in September, and it was still gushing as you can tell from my photos!

Is There Camping Available?

There is! There are a few campsites around the falls, including McArthur-Burney Falls State Park Campground, Rim, and Pioneer Campground.

Picnic tables and grills in McArthur Burney Falls State Park in California.
Picnic area with tables and grills in McArthur Burney Falls State Park in California

Where to Next?

You’re just an hour away from Mount Shasta! Check out the best things to do in Mount Shasta, hike around Mount Shasta, and even chase more waterfalls near Mount Shasta.

If you’re continuing to head south, there are plenty of things to do in Redding, and a great point in between is Castle Crags State Park.

We hope this helped you plan your trip to Burney Falls!

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