McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial SP
Narrated by Russ Christoff

Traveling an hour, heading east of Redding on Highway 299, I entered Pit River country, and the home of one of the most famous camping parks in California, McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.

President Theodore Roosevelt once called Burney Falls, the eighth wonder of the world. Although the falls are not the highest or the largest in the State of California, many consider them the most beautiful.

Unlike other waterfalls in this area, or elsewhere, Burney Falls continues to flow at the same rate all year long. About 100 million gallons every day, and the water temperature even on a hot summer day is about 43 degrees Fahrenheit, which might be a little bit too cold for some people.

McArthur-Burney Falls lies at the southern end of the long North American chain of volcanoes known as the Cascades.

Although the area around Burney Falls is dry, the clear spring water seen here comes from inside volcanic rock.

Years ago as lava cooled into basalt rock, gas rose and burst, leaving the rock porous enough to allow water to pass through it.

Today, at the falls, these layers of rock work like huge sponges absorbing enormous amounts of snow melt and rain, and with gravities help the water is released.

The result is millions of gallons of water plunging from inside the face of the falls into an iridescent pool below.

A trail leads a half mile down to the base of the falls.

For those who are less adventurous there is a lookout platform at the top, which is easily accessible from the parking area.

Fishing Burney Creek can produce some trout, while neighboring Lake Bretton offers small mouth bass, croppy and a variety of water sports.

Because camping is so popular at this park, visitors that plan to camp must use the reservation system during the summer months.

Camping during the rest of the year is less crowded and highly recommended.

I caught up with the ranger, Mike, and asked why Frank McArthur gave the land to the State Parks.

RANGER MIKE: In 1922, he donated it to the State of California for all the people of California. He didn’t want to see those falls changed. He wanted it basically for perpetuity, for not only his children, but for the many children in the State of California.