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Burney Falls

Burney, California

based on 19 reviews



0.97 miles

Elevation Gain

82 ft

Route Type



Added by Lisa Bao

Burney Falls is a loop trail located in McArthur-Burney State Park northeast of Redding, CA, in Shasta County. Theodore Roosevelt referred to Burney Falls as the “eighth wonder of the world."

Burney Falls can be seen right from the parking area, but this scenic loop is a great hike for all levels of hiking ability. Heading out on this trail will take you to the base of this 129 foot tall waterfall. 

The Hike

Burney Falls has a 1.3 mile loop trail that takes approximately 30 minutes to hike (but potentially longer depending on how long you stop to take photos). Starting from the parking area, head northwest on the trail until you cross the river at the Rainbow Footbridge. From here, head south along the PCT until you reach a footbridge which will take you back across the river and to the parking area where you started the loop. 

Photographing the Falls

It's great to get a photo (or several) with whatever you have: phone, film camera, DSLR, etc. If you want to photograph Burney Falls up close, know that the spray coming off the falls is pretty intense—make sure you have a towel available to wipe off the lens between your shots. Best time to shoot is sunrise, sunset, and at night. For slow shutter shots you want less light so the falls aren't blown out. Also adding a polarized filter to your lens will help the pictures turn out better.


Looking for an overview of the camping and trail areas, take a look at the park map. From the side bar of the McArthur-Burney Falls State Park page, you can make cabin or campground reservations if you'd like to make an overnight trip or visit ReserveCalfironia.com

Key Questions

  • Can I swim in Burney Falls? You can, but you may not want to. Even on warm days, the water is around 42 degrees fahrenheit. 
  • Is there a cost to visit the falls? Day use fees for McArthur-Burney Falls are $8 to $10.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the trails (only paved roads and campgrounds)
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Burney Falls Reviews

Great spot to cool off on a hot summer day. It’s crowded but big enough to find a place to sit. Parking line can get long but you can park outside on the road instead.

Burney Falls has to be the most visually interesting waterfall I've visited. It is truly a spectacular sight. The easy trail to the base of the falls allows wonderful access for photographing the full basin, but be mindful of the spray! You and your gear will get wet!

Definitely one of the more unique waterfalls i've seen, If your in Northern California this is a must see!

There are people out there pinning this site, and believing that Mc-Arthur Burney Falls is near (or at) Lake Tahoe. Anyone that is familiar with Northern California knows that it is just outside the sleepy, little town of Burney, CA - 4 hours northwest of Lake Tahoe. I was just up there a month ago camping with my family. We live in Chico, CA. Burney is in Lassen Volcanic National Park's backyard, and sits between Lassen Peak, and Mount Shasta. Please make this more clear to your readers so that no one gets disappointed when they can't find the beautiful falls that they are looking for when they visit Tahoe. Because there are a LOT of people on pinterest that can't wait to visit Lake Tahoe to see the amazing falls...IJS...I can't correct them all. lol (yes, I know you have a map with directions FROM Tahoe, but not many pay attention to that. Rather they only see the pretty pictures) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burney,_California

I just camped by Burney Falls and it was amazing, the beautiful colors of autumn were already beaming but the weather was warm. I was surprised by how cool it was down by the water, the temperature change was almost instant!

Super easy hike with a Beautiful view of some amazing waterfalls! And I suggest you do not cross the fence for an epic photo, you will get yelled at by an official. I know from experience haha

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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