Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway
Come travel the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway. All American Road in southern Oregon and northern California.
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Home > Recreation > Waterfalls

The McCloud Falls

Glaciers and springs across the Eastern Slopes of Mt. Shasta flow downward over Pleistocene lava flows, eventually accumulating in the McCloud River. The river drops about 6,000 feet from its headwaters, over three falls to its delta in Shasta Lake, a distance of only forty miles.  

Spectacular views of the rapidly falling river occur at the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls on the McCloud River.  They are located close to Highway 89 about 6 miles south of the town of McCloud.  Wheelchair accessible trails lead to the very rim of the falls.    Immense boulders provide the crest and borders of the basins at the foot of the falls.  In the heat of the summer, many locals dive from these huge rocks into the deep, very cool, pools formed by the constant pounding of the falling waters.

In their upward trek to their spawning grounds, trout “climb” these falls but tire and need to rest and feed.  The calm pools at the base of the falls provide the necessary rest prior to their assent of the next falls.  The Wintun Indians found these falls and their pools to be beneficial to fishing. The waters are crystal clear and relatively calm, allowing the concentrated numbers fish to be easily seen.

Access: Use Highway 89 for 15 miles east of the I-5/89 junction and 5 miles east of McCloud and turn south on Road 40N44. (Look for a Fowlers Camp/McCloud Falls sign.) Go right at .6 mile (a left here takes you to overlook at tje Upper Falls) Continue another .7 mile past the campground and park at the picnic area at the Lower Falls. Follow your ears toward Lower Falls and the beginning of the trail. The Middle Falls are accessed by taking the the trail from the Lower or Upper Falls. Call the MCloud Ranger Station for more information. (530) 964-2184.

Burney Falls

At 128 feet, this waterfall is the centerpiece of the McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park near Burney, California. .From deep within the horizontal layers, or “sills”, of an ancient shield volcano, emerges a small river that eventually falls over a high basaltic face.  Adding to the volume of water in the pool at the base of the falls are numerous smaller falls originating from springs in the wide expanse of the verdant face.  The accumulation of falling water is the very beautiful, and much written about, Burney Falls. 

The most used trail to the base of the falls begins in the parking lot between the park entrance and the gift shop.  As you descend and pass between the scenic points, check out the size of the trees, the walls of ferns, and the stark rock formations found in this misty environment.

After viewing the falls from below, don’t return back the same trail.  Instead, hike downstream through the steep sided gorge etched by the rapidly flowing Burney Creek until you reach a unique foot bridge.  Cross to the opposite side and continue up the trail, passing several vistas, adorned with plaques describing each unique point.  There is a single point above the falls where you have the opportunity to see Burney Creek before it goes over the lip, the falls, and Burney Creek as it leaves the base pool, all at the same time.  Continuing on that trail allows you to again cross the creek and return to the point of origin.

McArthur-Burney Falls State Park is lcoated at 24898 Highway 89 Burney, CA 96013. Call (530) 335-2777 for more information. The park is northeast of Redding, six miles north of Highway 299 on Highway 89 near Burney. Park hours are from sunrise to sunset.

Hedge Creek Falls

Found in the historic town of Dunsmuir, Hedge Creek Falls is located on the southern most tip of a pre-Pleistocene lava flow from Mt. Shasta.  Thousands of years of erosion, mostly from the freezing and thawing of water trapped in cracks on the basaltic face, has resulted in the sheared appearance at the face of the falls.  The cave behind the falls is a normal occurrence in thick lava flows and not the result of splashing water.  The water in Hedge Creek Falls comes from the massive aquifer resultant of several volcanic occurrences and not from the glaciers found on Mt. Shasta.

Although small, Hedge Creek Falls is full of beauty and awe.  Its single crest, or lip, is reminiscent of its larger sister, Bridal Veil Falls, in Yosemite.  The smaller volume of the falls allows the almost 100 foot column of water to freeze early in the winter.  A glance at the spire of ice allows one to imagine a Gnome complete with hat and beard.  A close look allows you to see moving water encased in the shield of ice.

As you follow the trail into the cave behind the falls, pause a moment and imagine Black Bart.  He was an old west bank robber that was purported to use Hedge Creek Falls as a hideout when he passed through the area.  In the hot summers, the cave is cooled by the falls and in the winter, the reflection of heat off the ice from a small fire makes the cave quite comfortable. Hedge Creek Falls is located just off of the I-5 at the Dunsmuir/Siskiyou Ave. Call the Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce at (530) 235-2177 for more details.

Vidae Falls

Vidae Falls is the best known and most viewed waterfall at Crater Lake National Park and can be viewed all year around.. Its 100- foot drop is easy to find; just above the East Rim Drive about 3 miles east of Park Headquarters.  A large turn-out is provided.  Spring-fed by Vidae Creek, these falls can be accessed with snowshoes or cross-country skis in wintertime.  Typically, snowplows open the road by early July. Some parking is available at the roadside pullout but there is more in the nearby picnic area across the road. For more information call Crater Lake National Park at (541) 594-3000.

Contact
Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway
P.O. Box 832
Mount Shasta, CA 96067 USA

For California: 1-800-474-2782
For Oregon: 1-800-445-6728
volcaniclegacybyway.org is the Official Website for The Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway All-American Road in California and Oregon. Visit Byways.org, the National Byways website from the Federal Highway Administration.