How is it that I have not ventured to Burney Falls until now!? If you are in this same boat then the fear of missing out should be huge for you, because YOU ARE MISSING OUT! FOMO!!!
Plain and simple! I have seen some pretty amazing places in this State and this sight is certainly a sight to see. Burney Falls makes my Top 5 most awesome places in California and I am sure it will yours too!
Last weekend, we hooked up the trailer and headed north. A last-minute panicked escape from the valley heat! The mountains were calling and we had bad withdrawals from not having had the chance to hit a stream for some trout fishing in almost two weeks. So why not head to Hat Creek and see what sort of fishing we could find?
Without campground reservations and lacking any knowledge of the area we were adventuring to, we knew to fall back on the National Forest System as our plan and look at the campgrounds that exist within them. A quick google search of the Lassen National Forest pointed us in the direction of the Hat Creek Campgrounds before losing service and we were off.
Tip: I always screenshot the info I might need, in case we lose cell service.
We pulled our big pig of a trailer into the first campground in the area and we were lucky enough to find a decent camp spot that we could back into without a problem. Right on the creek! It was awesome. I will be honest though. If you are not a pro at maneuvering a big trailer set up, then this campground may be a bit challenging. There wasn’t one spot that I would have even attempted to park our set up. I highly recommend a trailer less than 24’ and not as tall as ours either. This campground had some great tent camping areas too. No showers, but it did have restrooms with water.
Once we were set up, we fished a bit in the stream right out the back of our camp. We took the dogs for a walk and checked out the campground a bit. Cooked some pizza in the oven, played a board game and then hit the hay. The plan for the next day was to head up the road in to try to spot some good fishing spots until we hit the State Park to check out the Falls.
The drive from the campground to Burney was about 30 minutes maybe less. It seemed that every place that you could access the creek on the way up was already pressured with anglers. Lots of people enjoy fishing hat creek. It was pretty obvious to see. So without stopping to fish anywhere, we headed for Burney Falls, which entirely made up for a morning without fishing.
You know, Teddy Roosevelt actually described Burney Falls as the Eighth Wonder of the World and Teddy knew a lot about awesome lands and landmarks. It wasn’t hard at all to see why he considered this a place worthy of that title. I was completely in awe of the falls and how incredibly beautiful they are just walking from the parking lot, let alone the view from the bottom.
Speaking of the parking lot, I think that is one of the coolest aspects of this waterfall. You can see it from the parking lot just inside the entrance of the park. The ease of getting to and viewing this waterfall makes it a tourist attraction so it is very “people-y”. But the most positive benefit is that a lot of people can enjoy and connect with such a rad piece of nature! Casey had a different opinion. He doesn’t like people-y places at all. Even if they are possibly the 8th Wonder of the World.
Burney Falls is a California State Park so the typical day-use fees to enter are charged and although we did not stay at the campground within the park, we cruised through it to check it for future reference. It is a very cool campground within close proximity of Lake Britton, which is a picturesque mountain lake with a boat ramp, and all sorts of watersport activities happening.
Dogs are welcome in the park (on leash), but they are a giant pain to drag along. They are only allowed on one trail loop which is not really near the Falls at all. And of course, they want to run a stretch their legs as much as we do when we are in the mountains and they just can’t do that. So it makes it tough on them. We split up to go down to the base of the falls so that someone could stay with the dogs at the top. It was a hassle. I am sure most people have dogs that are perfectly leash trained. Not one of ours is, so they all think they are in some sort of trouble when you put one on them. We just don’t leash our dogs much. They mind pretty darn well without.
Quinn and I, were the first to head down to the bottom of the Falls while Casey and Cade stayed back with the dogs. I am not going to spoil it much but it was amazing. The change in weather as you descend the trail was so cool to experience. There are a million travel blogs that can do a better job of describing all this, so I will spare you from my rambling and just tell you that it is for sure a place you need to check out! Quinn is putting together a video on the trip which I will share with you all as well, once she gets it done.
Tip: I love to follow the Nomads with a Purpose Blog and Instagram Page. Here is their write up about the Burney Falls Area.
Once Casey and Cade had their chance to explore a bit, we headed out of the park and back to less people-y places closer to our camp. We found a good turnout to access the stream and fished our way down it for a bit. Letting the dogs run and play and Quinn and I jumped in for a freezing cold dip in the water too.
I will say that we have had better fishing elsewhere. I did catch a beaut of a rainbow, but the creek was fast-moving and super deep in spots. All great signs of lots of water still flowing, but it makes the fishing a tad tougher. We still had a wonderful weekend adventure out of the crazy valley heat and we all plan to head back that direction next spring if we can.