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Visiting the enchanting McArthur-Burney Falls State Park

If there’s one place in the United States that reminded me of Iceland, it was visiting McArthur-Burney Falls State Park. Its gorgeous 129-foot waterfall is one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen as water flows down in a silky dream-like way.

Best of all, it is easily accessible, and there’s a path for wheelchairs and walkers. (But it is a moderate decline to the bottom, so keep that in mind.)

Visiting McArthur-Burney Falls State Park

visiting burney falls photography

2024 Closure Notice

All access to the waterfall and fall’s pool area at McArthur Burney Falls MSP will be closed due to reconstruction of the main trail starting in early April through the entire 2024 summer season.

Additionally, CalTrans will be preforming a major Highway 89 rehabilitation project during the same period which will significantly add traffic congestion, delays and intermittent traffic closures near the park entrance.   

Where is McArthur-Burney Falls?

It sits on the east side of the Trinity-Shasta National Forest and just north of Lassen Volcanic National Park.

  • Redding: 75 minutes away
  • North side of Lassen NP: 50 minutes away
  • San Francisco: 4.5 hours away
  • Tahoe: 3.5 hours away
burney falls state park california hiking

What is there to do at McArthur-Burney Falls?

At McArthur-Burney Falls, there are activities for everyone! From hiking, camping, and photography, everyone in the group should have a great time. As a photographer, I found this place incredible and couldn’t stop taking photos.

The entrance fee is $10, but I’d recommend buying a California State Parks pass if you’re a resident.

Hiking tips:

  • Instead of turning around at the bottom, do the entire loop to the far side of the canyon. This will give you a longer walk and change the perspective of your waterfall view.
  • In all, there are five miles of hiking that include a portion of the PCT.

Photo tips:

  • Bring your tripod for long exposures.
  • Have an ND filter if you plan to shoot during the day.
  • If you shoot down below and the waterfall is at peak flow, you’ll get a lot of mist. Bring wipes to keep your lens clean.
  • Watch your step on slick rocks.
  • Keep your eyes open for hawks and eagles.

Camping tips when visiting McArthur-Burney Falls: 

  • Sixty-two sites are available that can be reserved six months ahead of time. They book out quickly, so be ready.
  • Each night is $35 for one car. An additional vehicle is $10.
visiting burney falls state park

Things to Keep in Mind when Visiting McArthur-Burney Falls, California

I have Verizon, and I didn’t have cell service in the area when visiting Burney-McArthur Falls. Before going, download your maps offline to help with navigation and let your family know they won’t be able to reach you for the weekend if you plan to camp.

Summer can be warm and muggy, so wear loose, moisture-wicking clothes and plenty of sunblock.

On the flip side, it can also be cold in the winter/spring. I was snowed on driving here in the middle of May 2022.

Final Thoughts on McArthur Burney Falls State Park

This place has grown immensely in popularity, but for good reason. It’s spectacular and gives me Iceland vibes. While the new renovations will limit visitation in 2024, put McArthur-Burney Falls on your 2025 travel list!

Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

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