Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge

Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, California

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Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge


  • Beginning of the trail shaded by oaks.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • The blue-green clear waters of Burney Creek.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • A bench for rest and relaxation adjacent to the creek.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • A scene of gold along Burney Creek.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • Most of the trail is very flat and straight.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • PCT bridge in the distance behind the Headwaters Pool.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • Headwaters Pool reflects the fall colors.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • PCT bridge getting closer.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • Sun peeks through the leaves of an oak.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • The PCT bridge over Burney Creek.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • The view of Burney Creek from the bridge.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • Reflections in a pool along the creek.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
  • Sign guiding the way back to the trailhead.- Headwaters Trail + PCT bridge
Overview + Weather
Little elevation gain. Beautiful fall colors.
Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.40 mi (2.25 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,933.00 ft (893.98 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


Burney Falls is easily one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state of California, and the best part is it does not dry up during summer or fall months. Burney Falls is constantly fed by underground spring water, not surface snow melt, as many waterfalls are. Headwater Trail takes visitors along the upper sections of Burney Creek to see where the 90 million gallons per day of spring water first emerge from the underground depths before cascading 129 feet over the falls.

The entirety of this trail wanders within sight of crystal-clear Burney Creek through oak and pine forests. Past volcanic activity of the area is evident in the rocks scattered along the trail, reminding visitors that the area used to be a hotbed for volcanic activity. After a short 0.6 miles the trail passes by the Headwaters Pool. Another 0.1 miles leads visitors to the Pacific Crest Trail Bridge, which allows for great views overlooking Burney Creek. 

For any adventurers seeking incredible fall colors, this is the perfect destination middle to late October as the abundance of oak trees turn to dazzling shades of yellow, orange, and red.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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Adventure Community

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