Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Burney, CA

  • Published 2022/04/29

The wonderful town of Burney lies in the middle of the famous fishing area of eastern Shasta County in California, about 50 miles east of Redding.

The town area sits at the base of Burney Mountain on State Route 299, four miles west of the State Route 89 junction.

Burney is an unincorporated and census-designated place with a recorded population of 3,000 in the 2020 census.

The town gets its name from Samuel Burney, who settled the area during the 1850s.

However, other settlers found him dead along the valley in 1857.

Burney is well-known for its fly fishing locations with many streams and rivers nearby.

It is a few minutes to the scenic Lassen National Park and McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial Park.

The town also has local spots with a retro feel and some interesting locations you can discover.

Discover the best things to do at Burney, California.

Visit the Magnificent Burney Falls State Park

Scenic view of Burney Falls State Park

Stephen Moehle /

The breathtaking Burney Falls fed by mountain springs will surely make you fall in love with nature.

The fresh waters flow all year round, and President Theodore Roosevelt even hailed its beauty as one of the world’s wonders.

Take adventurous trails like the PCT north leading to fantastic views of Lake Britton, or trek the PCT south for a steady climb to the oak forests ending with scenic views of Hat Creek.

Water cascades of Burney Falls State Park

Natalia Bratslavsky /

Ready for a fantastic camping experience?

The state park has great camping sites and junior ranger campfire programs your kids can join.

The Burney Falls Park Marina on Lake Britton also has patio boats, paddleboards, paddle boats, motorboats, canoes, and kayaks you can rent.

Downstream of Burney Falls State Park

Tom Dadon /

Discover Interesting Facts at Allen Telescope Array and Hat Creek Radio Observatory

Allen Telescope Array at Hat Creek Radio Observatory

Kathleen Franklin from Marysville, CA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can find this unique high-tech attraction in the National Forest Lands area in Hat Creek District.

This machine is the Allen Telescope Array (ATA), located at the Radio Observatory.

The 42-dish radio telescope is the first of its kind made specifically for SETI research, taking snapshots of the skies, detecting radio waves from space, and tracking lost satellites.

The Institute started with the SETI program by NASA with founder Tom Pierson, a former Francisco State University grants administrator, and astronomer Jill Tarter.

The facility eventually added research disciplines and scientists with the aim of searching and understanding life beyond planet earth.

You can drop by the Observatory on weekdays and take a self-guided tour that starts with information about ATA and a video to watch in the lobby.

Look through the glass at the signal processing room and the 42 ATA telescopes.

Enjoy Camping and Fishing at Lake Britton

Sunset reflecting on Lake Britton

DreamArt123 /

Lake Britton is a reservoir known for various bass and trout.

Its main area is located west of Route 89, bordered by Pacific Gas and Electric Land, the Forest Service Land, and the Burney Falls Memorial State Park.

It’s a notable recreational lake that’s perfect for catching trout, large-mouth bass, small-mouth bass, black crappie, white crappie, carp, and bluegill.

Three buoys on the water of Lake Britton

davidrh /

Laker Britton is also an excellent place to enjoy the day for boating and swimming.

There are also three campgrounds and cabins available in the area, one of which is the Northshore Campground just across the water from the McArthur-Burney Falls State Park area.

The campground sits in the forest area and offers 30 campsites suited for tents, trailers, and RVs.

Lush trees near Lake Britton

Gurcharan Singh /

Have a Hiking Adventure at Subway Cave

Formed from volcanic activities 20,000 years ago, the Subway Cave now offers an unusual and exciting hiking experience visitors can enjoy.

Explore the underground depths along the self-guided trail, which measures around a mile long.

Prepare for the trek with the right gear like a handy flashlight, sturdy shoes, and a light jacket, as cave temperatures are consistently around 46˚F.

There are also other day-hiking trails, like the Fisherman’s Access Trail, a path along Hat Creek just across Cave Campground.

Otherwise, take the Spatter Cones Nature Trail to explore the sources of the lava flow.

The best season to visit is April to November.

Have a Nature Trip to Lassen National Forest

Crater lake at Lassen National Forest

Jesse Stephens /

The Lassen National Forest spans a vast land area with two large lakes, campgrounds, trekking paths, and a national park.

The forest is about 130 kilometers east of Red Bluff and accessible from San Francisco, Sacramento, and Redding.

Lassen National Forest became one of the National Forest Reserves in 1905.

Echo lake at Lassen National Forest

User:Marcia Wright, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was first called Lassen Peak Forest Reserve, named after Lassen Peak, a volcano in the southernmost Cascade Range that erupted in 1915.

The forest borders the Lassen Volcanic National Park and offers areas for trail hiking, equestrian adventures, and ATV rides.

You can find several developed campgrounds and areas for day tours to enjoy.

Explore the forest to see wildlife species like black bears, coyotes, bobcats, deer, chipmunks, weasels, and birds like the white-headed woodpecker.

See the Wild at the Caribou Wilderness

Twin lakes at Caribou Wilderness

caminor /

One of the federally designated wilderness areas and part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, the Caribou Wilderness spans more than 20,000 acres.

The Caribou is one of the well-preserved areas protected by the 1964 Wilderness Act, maintaining its unspoiled old-growth forest characteristics.

Expect some limitations for recreational use.

Hikers can access three trailheads to the wilderness: the south Hay Meadows, north Cone Lake, the Silver Lake, the most accessed entry point on the east, and trails from the Lassen Volcanic National Park on the west.

You can try horseback riding or walk along the hills and valleys with moderate difficulty.

Go backpacking and have a day hike with the one-way or loop trails, drop by the lakes within two miles and visit cinder cones and rocky cliffs.

Watch a Film at the Classic Mt. Burney Theatre

Front exterior of Mt. Burney Theatre

Jonmallard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy an entertaining film at a classic theatre location like Mt Burney Theatre.

The theatre building was built in 1940 by George and Stella Tyler and has provided entertaining film shows to North California’s Intermountain Community over the years.

Side view of Mt. Burney Theatre's exterior

Jonmallard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Its first featured show was “Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet,” starring Edward G. Robinson.

The theater has undergone renovation for more comfortable seating and ambiance but still gives enjoyable entertainment today.

The experience of being in an old theater makes the viewing experience more memorable.

Ticket booth of Mt. Burney Theatre

Jonmallard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take the Plunge at Raymond Berry Intermountain Pool

Enjoy some water fun at Raymond Berry Intermountain Pool, the town’s public swimming pool.

Besides the large pool area, they also have a smaller one designed for kids.

Take a dip or wade in the pools to beat the heat.

The pools have secure fencing, and lifeguards are also regularly on duty, so you’ll have no worries when kids play around.

You can also have some downtime on the benches and view nearby natural areas.

Discover Civil War History at Fort Crook Museum

Exterior of Fort Crook Museum

Astronomy1, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1857, Fort Crook protected travelers passing through the Shasta – Yreka Road and Lockhart Ferries.

Named originally Camp Hollenbush, the fort stood on the Falls River, 7 miles north of Fall River Mills.

Later, it got renamed in honor of Lt. George Crook, a Civil War General and supporter of the Plains Indians.

Visit the Central Museum and check out extensive documents and Native American artifacts, and Civil War memorabilia collections.

See the Beaver Creek Ranch Round Barn, reconstructed to represent barns used to train horses and mules during World War I.

A cabin at Fort Crook Museum

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View the 1884 Pittville Schoolhouse and ring the old school bell.

Drop by the Machinery Building & Blacksmith Shop and observe antique trucks, woodworking tools, and firefighting equipment on display, and the blacksmith area operating during winter workshop months.

Get inside the Lewis Log Cabin and the James Family Showcase, where you can see old-fashioned items and keepsakes in the exhibit.

You can also view other outer buildings like the Fort Crook Log Cabin, the Tack Room, the Fall River Mills Jail, and the Pondosa Timekeepers Cabin.

Have Some Bowling Fun at Burney Bowl

Exterior of Burney Bowl

Jonmallard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll feel a blast from the 80s past at Burney Bowl, located at State Highway 299 East.

Strike some nostalgia and play some family bowling at their retro bowling alley.

Name sign of Burney Bowl

Jonmallard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This family-oriented business offers fun for everyone.

You can also enjoy some drinks at the full bar and enjoy their list of breakfast, lunch, or dinner menus.

Try their servings of omelets, sandwiches, burritos, appetizers, and salads.

Interior of Burney Bowl

Jonmallard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Catch Eccentric Art at Packway Sculptures

Catch something unique in Shasta County with Packway Sculptures displayed on a public road near Hat Creek.

These peculiar art pieces are less than two miles from Highways 299 and 89 intersections, which you can view from your vehicle.

The exciting art sculptures are made of different construction materials.

Two siblings, Richard and Will Hathaway, run a local construction company and create these sculptures in their spare time.

Check out the 40-feet dinosaur, a giant ant, and human lava rock.

The roadside exhibit’s different mediums and the setting have attracted many tourists and visitors over the years.

Enjoy Classic American Food at Alpine Drive Inn

Exterior of Alpine Drive Inn

Jonmallard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Who doesn’t enjoy a juicy burger and ice cream at a classic burger joint?

Check out Alpine Drive Inn at Highway 299.

The restaurant offers you that old-fashioned diner ambiance that makes you feel like you just stepped back in time.

Name sign of Alpine Drive Inn

Jonmallard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The business has operated since 1956, receiving recognitions from Enjoy Magazine as one of the North State’s best soft-service ice cream.

Enjoy their servings of burgers, fries, onion rings, sundaes, and of course, soft-serve ice cream for a treat.

You have to try their deep-fried taco, chili cheese boat, and hotdogs.

Catch Featured Shows at Fall River Theatre

Watch featured shows with an old-fashioned atmosphere at Fall River Theatre.

The theatre first previewed motion pictures played every week by E. B. Byard with the portable equipment that he brought when he visited town.

After a fire destroyed the building in 1940, architects submitted plans to build a new town hall building in 1941.

Another catastrophic fire razed the building in the late 1960s, but the theater managed to survive.

In 2004, Donna Sylvester acquired the property from the owner of Mt. Burney Theatre and overhauled the classic structure, installing modern equipment.

Today, you can catch great shows at Fall River Theatre.

Have a Great Trek at the Pacific Crest Trail

Name sign of Pacific Crest Trail

Modern Meta Photography /

Part of the stretch of the country’s most iconic trail from Mexico to Canada is the Intermountain area.

Go backpacking on the PCT on a short trail going through Lassen National Park and Forest, ending at Mt. Shasta.

Trail lined with flowers at Pacific Crest Trail

Travel with Co /

You can also have an option for a great nature hike that starts at the Hat Creek Rim Overlook area.

Catch a fabulous view of blankets of wildflowers during spring through the Southern Cascade range trail.

The PCT is one of Burney’s well-sought trails for hikers, offering fantastic sceneries in every season.

Scenic view from Pacific Crest Trail

Patrick Poendl /

Play Golf at Fall River Valley Golf and Country Club

The Fall River Valley Golf and Country Club in North East California is one of the most frequently rated golf courses in the state.

This golf venue enjoys a four-star rating from Gold Digest, citing the course’s excellent “pace of play.”

You can have a good game on the course, practice at the chipping and putting areas to improve your game, or even catch scheduled golf tournaments.

Visit the Pro Shop and get some branded equipment and apparel to complete your gold gear.

At the end of your golf game, you can relax and unwind at Country Club Grill to enjoy the view and sip your favorite drink.

Final Thoughts

The town of Burney has interesting travel locations and local places of interest that families can enjoy.

It offers excellent outdoor attractions, especially if you have a knack for hiking or fishing.

The natural spots are what make this small town a place to visit.

You’ll discover Burney’s natural gems and this town’s unique taste and character.

Go ahead and visit Burney on your next vacation.

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