Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Trail type
1.40 mi (2.25 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.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

State Park Fee


Little elevation gain. Beautiful fall colors.



Trailhead Elevation

2,933.00 ft (893.98 m)


Bird watching
ADA accessible
Geologically significant


Nearby Lodging + Camping

Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area, California
California, Mount Shasta + Medicine Lake Area


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