|Thursday morning we woke to more rain. A bit disappointing, since there was a slight chance of better weather as compared to yesterday. We hate pulling our home in the rain, but after checking the weather report it became obvious that storms were going to be in the area for several more days. We traveled I-5 southbound through Yreka, Weed & Mt Shasta. It was raining the entire time with low clouds & cool temps. We couldn't even see the mountain, such a bummer! We caught CA 89 & eventually saw the signs for Burney. We love coming to see Burney Falls so always look forward to being in this area.
Burney Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls we have seen to date (aside from the granddaddy of them all, Niagara of course!). Officially known as the McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, the site has two huge cataracts of water falls plunging nearly 130 feet into a wonderfully inviting pond. To add beauty to this already awesome sight, the falls are framed by thousands of rivulets of water pouring out from the basaltic porous rock alongside the two main falls, flowing at over 100 million gallons every day! The best part about this waterfall, however, is that it flows year-round, one of the very few waterfalls in California that has good flow throughout the year. That is because the source of Burney Creek is from underground springs, located about a half mile or so above the falls. Indeed, if you look closely, you will see that much of the falls comes right out of the middle of the face of the cliff.
The climate around the falls is dictated by the surrounding mountainous topography. The highest elevation is 3100 feet, with temperatures ranging from 20 degrees in winter to 80+ degrees in summer. Today it was drizzling throughout most of our visit so we wimped out and didn't take the 2.4 mile (loop) hike along the Headwaters Trail following Burney Creek away from the waterfall. This trail joins up with the Pacific Crest Trail going back downstream towards the falls. The trail then joins up with the Falls Loop Trail which leads to an overlook of the waterfall and then continues along near the base of the waterfall, with many great viewpoints, then goes back up to the parking lot. We normally enjoy taking this trail but the weather & the need to move on prevented it for this trip. But, we'll be back & we'll plan for it next time :)
There are a few options for viewing the falls. You can drive up and park at the falls overlook. Or, you can take a walk down to the base of the falls for a close-up view. If that was all the farther you could handle, I would still say this is a must see. There are pedestrian bridges across Burney creek both above and below the falls for access to hikers on both sides of the creek. We can certainly understand why the falls were called "the Eighth Wonder of the World" by President Theodore Roosevelt, and were declared a National Natural Landmark in December 1984.
All too soon it was time to move on, through the small towns of Hat Creek & Old Station where the road became CA 44. After researching a bit we ultimately decided to make a small detour up A1 to the Merrill Campground on Eagle Lake for a couple of days. We're tired of fighting the narrow, windy passes but most importantly the rain. It's supposed to be sunny tomorrow so we'll rest, explore the lake a bit & enjoy a day off. Thanks for stopping by & you have a great day :)