McArthur–Burney Falls

Park Brochure

brochure McArthur–Burney Falls - Park Brochure
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park Our Mission The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. On a visit to the falls, an enthralled President Theodore Roosevelt pronounced them one of the wonders of the world. California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (530) 335-2777. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park 24898 Highway 89 Burney, CA 96013 (530) 335-2777 © 2005 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) cArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park sits on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range, between majestic Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak. The park’s centerpiece is the thundering white-water falls on Burney Creek, augmented by the voluminous springs emanating from the basalt cliff face. On sunny days, the mist above the basin of blue water at the bottom of the falls is often alight with rainbow colors. In the fall, the pool reflects the rich hues of autumn leaves, while winter often brings a lacy array of tiny icicles to decorate the face of the cliff. The climate in this area 65 miles east of Redding is dictated by its predominantly mountainous topography. The park’s highest elevation is nearly 3,100 feet. Temperatures range from averages of 20 degrees in winter to more than 85 degrees during the drier summer months. Between November and March, rainfall averages nearly 28 inches. PARK HISTORY The first people of this region lived in small groups or “bands.” The band that lived near the falls and the creek that flows into the Pit River called themselves Ilmawi. Central to the band’s way of life, the Pit River provided an important range of activities, including fishing, gathering, and social and sacred uses. Today, the Ilmawi are among nearly a dozen culturally similar bands that comprise the Pit River Tribe. The name “Pit” refers to a traditional hunting method in which hunters dug deep pits to trap large game such as pronghorn, deer, and elk. Salmon and trout from the river were a vital part of the Pit River people’s diet. The surrounding lands provided small game, including squirrels, ducks, geese, sage hens, and quail. Acorns, bulbs, tubers, seeds, and grasses also grew in the region, while various trees, herbs, and mosses served medicinal needs. Fur trappers began to encroach on Pit River territory in the 1820s and ’30s. By the mid-1850s, European and American settlers were homesteading the Pit River bands’ lands. By the 1870s, many members of the Ilmawi and other bands had died from European diseases or been forcibly removed to the Round Valley Reservation in Mendocino County. However, the ties of the people to their land proved strong. Today, the Pit River Tribe continues to maintain spiritual and economic relationships with their ancestral lands. People honor their cultural identity by visiting ancestral sites; conducting traditional activities such as hunting, gathering, fishing, and ceremonies; and teaching traditional life skills to their children and grandchildren. Many descendants still look upon Burney Falls and the sapphire pool at its base as a sacred place. Tribal members also continue their role as caretakers of the land, at times partnering with California State Parks to carry out landmanagement practices. Image courtesy of the Meriam Library, CSU Chico M Drawing of Shasta Peak by Charles Wilkes Becoming a State Park Burney Falls was named after Samuel Burney of South Carolina, who died in the area in 1859. Several local features came to be named after Burney. John and Catherine McArthur arrived in the 1860s, purchased thousands of acres, and opened a mercantile store in the area. Over time, several family farms and the small settlement of Peck’s Bridge sprang up along the Pit River near the falls. Early pioneer Isaac Ray established a shortlived lumber mill above the falls, but the area was sparsely populated well into the 1900s. The nearby Pioneer Cemetery bears witness to some of the historic names associated with this part of California. In 1917 the newly formed Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) began buying up land and water rights in the area. Alarmed residents foresaw that PG&E, in the interests of providing more hydroelectric power, would dam the Pit River and destroy Burney Falls. Frank and Scott McArthur, sons of John and Catherine, purchased 160 acres surrounding the falls; in 1920 they deeded the property to the State, requesting only that it be named for their parents. The land officially became a state park in 1926. The Pit River was eventually dammed; the Pit 3 dam formed the Lake Britton reservoir. Some of the park’s oldest features— including a historic cabin and Diablo stone stoves—were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps prior to World War II. NATURAL HISTORY Geology The park’s landscape resembles the Modoc Plateau geomorphic lands to the east. Most Falls Loop Trail Above: Rainbow Footbridge Right: Basalt talus slope along the trail of the park is blanketed by the 200,000-yearold basalt of Rocky Ledge, a single lava flow that covers about 43 square miles east and north of the town of Burney. This basalt forms the lip of Burney Falls. The lava flow that created the ledge was quite fluid; it formed a sheet between 10 and 120 feet thick. The volume of this basalt eruption is estimated to be about half a cubic mile. Subsequent faulting has produced several prominent linear cliffs, or scarps, in the Rocky Ledge basalt. This basalt overlies other volcanic rocks whose age is estimated to be about 2.5 million years—ten times as old. The boundary between older and newer lava is marked by a line of emerging springs about 1/3 of the way down the falls. Further north along Burney Creek, diatomite, a rock composed of silica skeletons of microscopic algae, forms prominent white rock outcrops. The diatomite built up from a lake that existed more than a million years ago. Animal and Plant Life Typical of the rugged, undeveloped northeastern part of California, wildlife is abundant. Observe such spectacles as migratory black swifts darting in and out of the falls to feed their nestlings, or the once-endangered bald eagle soaring high overhead. California’s Watchable Wildlife program has designated the park a “best viewing site,” a testament to its varied wildlife habitats. A vibrant mix of coniferous forest— including ponderosa pine and, along Burney Creek, Douglas-fir—provides habitat for such wildlife as western fence lizards, various woodpeckers, and other small animals. A mixed hardwood forest—predominantly California black oak and Oregon white oak—and chaparral are home to a wealth of mammals, including California ground squirrels, porcupines, coyotes, and gray foxes. Numerous bird species, such as pileated woodpeckers, chestnut-backed chickadees, peregrine falcons, ospreys, and American white pelicans thrive in the park. Montane chaparral is primarily a shrubby habitat; it provides cover for mule deer— the favorite prey of mountain lions—rabbits, and various insects and birds that eat chaparral seeds. This dry habitat harbors very few reptile species. Seasonally, dry areas become wet meadow habitat whenever the soil cannot absorb any more water. The plants that grow here are mostly grasses and herbs. Wet meadow is primarily occupied by insects until it dries out enough to accommodate small rodents. RECREATION Camping The park has more than 100 family sites (without hookups) and several primitive sites. All campsites are a short hike from both the lake and the falls. An RV sanitation station is located at the north end of the campground. Hiking Five miles of hiking trails wind through evergreen forests, and the Pacific Crest Trail passes through the park. • Burney Creek Trail—This backcountry trail leads to the falls through ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, incense cedar, and a variety of oaks. • Pioneer Cemetery Trail—This hiking and biking trail follows a historic wagon trail to the Pioneer Cemetery. Upper Burney Creek is popular with anglers. They, in turn, attract such raptors as redtailed hawks and northern harriers hunting for their meals. Tree-lined Burney Creek represents riparian habitat, a significant resource that attracts American dippers, western pond turtles, Pacific tree frogs, non-native bullfrogs, and river otters. may be rented for groups and memorable special events. For rental details, call the park office at (530) 335-2777. Find first-come, first-served family picnic tables near the lake, the creek, and the visitor center. Cabins Nestled within the campsites, you will find a number of one- and two-room cabins within walking distance of the falls and the camp store. Each cabin is well insulated against chilly nights and is equipped with propane heaters, padded platform bunk beds, wood floors, and six-foot covered porches. Fishing At Burney Creek, brook and rainbow trout abound in October. Lake Britton’s trout, bass, bluegill, and crappie are popular with anglers. Lake Britton is easily reached via the Burney Creek Trail or by vehicle. Licensed anglers should visit to check current fishing regulations before they visit. Picnics A shaded group picnic area, seating up to 100 people, Water recreation on Lake Britton Cozy rental cabins Cabins, which are offered in two interior sizes, 12x12 feet and 12x18 feet, each come with a campfire ring, outdoor table, and space to pitch a tent outside. Restrooms with flush toilets and showers are nearby. Bring sleeping bags and battery-powered lanterns (the cabins have no electricity or running water). For more information and site-specific camping and cabin reservations, visit or call (800) 444-7275. Interpretive Activities/Campfires Check at the visitor center for a schedule of interpretive and summer campfire programs. Special Events Heritage Day takes place on the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend; it features demonstrations and re-creations of typical activities and crafts of the late 1800s. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES The park offers a great many accessible activities, including viewing majestic Burney Falls. The visitor center, restrooms, showers, Burney Creek Trail, two trails near the falls, some RV sites, tent sites, the more primitive walk-in campsites, and heated cabin camping are all accessible. Accessible picnicking is available at various locations. The Lake Britton marina is accessible, with a fishing pier and beach wheelchairs to loan. Accessibility is continually improving. For updates, visit the website at NEARBY STATE PARKS • Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park N 41.1000° W 121.4120° (shallow boat-in only), 3.5 miles north of McArthur off Hwy. 299 (530) 335-2777 • Castle Crags State Park 20022 Castle Creek Rd. Castella 96017 (530) 235-2684 Bald eagle This park is supported in part by a nonprofit organization. For more information, contact: McArthur-Burney Falls Interpretive Association PLEASE REMEMBER • All natural and cultural features are protected by law and must not be disturbed or removed. • Horses are allowed on the Pacific Crest Trail only. • Dogs must be on a six-foot maximum leash at all times and confined inside a tent, cabin, or vehicle at night. • Pets are permitted only in the campgrounds, on the Pioneer Cemetery Trail, and on the Old Rim Camp Road. • Except for service animals, dogs are not permitted on any other trails or the swim beach. Dunsmuir 20 Miles 20 30 Kilometers Ahjumawi Lava Springs SP 0 Lake to Sacramento 395 89 0’ 20 0 Falls Overlook Visitor Center P 0 0 500 Feet 0 150 Meters to Burney, Hwy 299, Lassen Volcanic NP P to I-5, Mt Shasta i 2900 l a Tr 29 ’ 00 ’ Pi P R O P E RT Y pR oa Trail Cam d P 31 00 ’ Visitor Center 0 3200’ Falls Overlook 0 0.05 0.1 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.25 Miles 0.4 Kilometers 32 Park Entrance 00 ’ Se LASSEN rvi ce Ro a 31 t er s Burney P R I V AT E P R O P E RT Y rk Paci Cre 30 ek 00 N AT I O N A L ’ FOREST He ad wa Cla 00 d 3000’ fi c C Ro r e st ad Tra i Pa c rest Trail i fic C l Trai l ’ 89 Food Services Major Road Group Picnic Area Paved Road Hike & Bike Camp Unpaved Road Locked Gate Hiking Trail Marina Hike & Bike Trail Parking Hike & Horse Trail Picnic Area Accessible Trail Primitive Cabin Public Phone Boat Launch Ranger Station Campfire Center Restrooms Campground RV Sanitation Station Dogs Allowed On Leash Showers Environmental Camp Supplies Fishing Swimming Viewpoint Waterfall Creek flow in this area is subject to upstream diversions in summer. 00 ’ ’ 0’ 3300 330 N AT I O N A L ver Accessible Feature 3100’ LASSEN Ri Highway © 2005 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) Pacific Crest Trail Footbridge Creek P 31 00 30 00 ’ P R I V AT E Store P 121º39’20”W t Legend 89 see detail map above right 32 89 Store 90 Fisherman’s Bridge Fisherman’s Bridge P 41º0’40”N to I-5, Mt Shasta 0 ry 66 65 2 80 Pioneer ee ete 71 69 3 2 Old Ri m Trail ’ o op o op Fa l ls L Fa l ls L 00 3300’ Burney Falls 0 p Pion m r Ce 70 67 89 P 340 Cam ’ ’ 30 00 ad 68 127 P Burney Falls ’ Rainbow Footbridge 34 to Pioneer Camp P Trail 00 to Rim Camp Trail Lake Road 28 2900’ 00 k 29 ee Tra il tT rail Rim Cr EA es ey Cr Trail oo p ra i l R im T Bu r n ic Rim ls L Trail 2800’ cif 00 M c A RT H U R B U R N E Y FA L L S MEMORIAL S TAT E PA R K Ri m Trail Pa Ro Park Entrance B u r n ey C r e e k Rd to Pit River Dam 3 3 P op ve Fal s Lo ’ PSEA PS 125 126 63 ail FOREST Fall 00 28 41º1’20”N 7 56 P 115 0 N AT I O N A L 0’ Rim Tr 290 Pioneer Cemetery PSEA Camp (Private) 8 4 Pioneer 74 75 120 121 118 73 116 117 119 72 P 124 123 114 122 64 l Co 87 88 86 85 83 84 82 81 96 97 79 Pioneer 80 78 98 Cemetery 108 100 Trail 99 109 101 106 107 76 110 103 102 77 111 104 105 112 113 128 Cemetery Cove C 28 ek 11 10 9 1 i Tra Cre 19 18 17 15 16 14 13 52 12 89 95 LASSEN ek n ey Lake Almanor Lassen NF d re Bur 139 90 94 22 20 35 92 CAMPGROUND AREA 91 24 23 37 Rim 40 38 41 39 42 45 46 50 43 44 48 51 53 47 49 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 2 3 62 61 Eagle Lake Susanville Chester 36 25 34 33 36 Lassen NF Lassen Volcanic NP 27 32 Old ey oa 32 30 29 31 93 10 Bur n eR 00 26 3 Lak pier to Pit River Dam 3 280 Britton P P Mineral Red Bluff 99 30 ail 90 44 Lassen Peak 36 299 P 28 Rim Tr 2 89 299 Redding 5 395 McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial SP Burney 2900’ to Lake Britton Alturas McArthur 139 5 S tate P ark Canby Road Crags SP 10 Lake McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial 41º2’0”N 139 Shasta-Trinity NF Mt Shasta 0 Weed 0 10 McCloud Castle River 97 Pit 28 00 ’ to Yreka FOREST 121º38’40”W to Hwy 89 to Burney, Hwy 299, Lassen Volcanic NP 121º38’0”W 121º37’20”W

also available

National Parks
New Mexico
North Carolina
Lake Tahoe - COMING SOON! 🎈