Average Gradient
6.50 ft/mi (1.23 m/km)
Most difficult rapid
Class I
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Hat Creek is a mellow, fun, and easy float to beat the heat near Burney, California. Near the end of the float you pass over a beautiful display of underwater grasses that undulate in the creek and make for quite a show. The shallow water and lack of rocks make this a safe and fun trip that can be done on an inner tube. It is only 2 miles long, but it runs slow enough to make it a leisurely few hours from shuttling the car to picking it up after you exit.

The starting water flows from Baum and Crystal lakes up on the hill above, and a power plant also runs its hydroelectric operations nearby. Located here is the Crystal Lake Hatchery that keeps 60 surrounding lakes well stocked with fish. The Pacific Crest Trail runs near the Hatchery as well. From the lot just follow the trail a short ways and enter the water on the right at the mini cove.

Pass under two bridges along the way; the second bridge indicates when to get out because you have arrived at Hat Creek Park on the left. This park is a place specifically made for people to catch-and-release fly fish. There is a parking lot and bathrooms. You will need to shuttle your car here before you launch at the source, and make sure to keep a good handle on your car keys while floating. The park is located just off Highway 299.

Keep an eye out for hawks and eagles flying from tree top to tree top along the way. Beautiful and tall lodgepole pine are abundant along the shore. Much of the trip is shaded in the late afternoon.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)


Parking Pass

Not Required

Motors Allowed


Open Year-round



Quick and easy. Beautiful water grass. Shallow.


Slow running.

Pets allowed


Put-in location (lat, long coordinates)

40.961816, -121.548217

Take-out location (lat, long coordinates)

40.976819, -121.558386


Family friendly



Typically multi-day


Shuttle required


Overall difficulty


Route Characteristics: Character


Suitable for

Inflatable Kayaks

Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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