California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 88

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

45

Chasing Waterfalls

Spend two days (or more) discovering some of California's most
spectacular falls, from the tallest waterfall in North America to a
trio of captivating cataracts

city of Mount Shasta, where the Ney Springs Canyon Trail travels an
easy 1.2 miles to the ruins of an 1880s resort and 42-foot-high Faery
Falls, a misty wonder during its peak springtime flow.
Back in the car, leave the interstate behind and detour east on CA89 through a seemingly endless collection of red firs that escort you
to the upscale logging town of McCloud. Grab a burger and a shake
at Floyd's Frosty, then push south to where a triumvirate of waterfalls
drop on the McCloud River. Middle McCloud Falls is a showstopper with
its commanding 50-foot wall of water, while Lower McCloud Falls' deep
pool is best for swimming. See all three cataracts by hiking a 3.5-mile
connecting trail or driving the McCloud River Loop.
Then, follow CA-89's gentle dips and rises to McArthur Burney Falls
Memorial State Park. Stroll to the base of shimmering Burney Falls, its
showery veil dropping over a basalt cliff at a dependable gush of 100
million gallons of water per day. Rainbows dance in the mist that rises
from its turquoise pool. (Tip: Reserve in advance to score one of the
park's 24 cabins, then get up early to shoot photos before the day
visitors arrive.)
Roll south through pines and firs to Lassen Volcanic National Park,
home to an extinct volcano, painted dunes, fumaroles, and boiling
pools. Stop at the Loomis Museum to learn about Lassen Peak's

BURN E Y FA L L S

dramatic 1915 eruption. But keep focused on your waterfall mission-
Creek Falls, a 50-foot tumble of whitewater framed by weather-

fast-flowing water ejects ionized particles into the air, supercharging

sculpted red firs. Then snake your way up the circuitous park road

the atmosphere with energy. Maybe that explains why perfectly

to its 8,512-foot summit. Cone-shaped Lassen Peak commands your

responsible adults act downright giddy near gushing cataracts. Test

attention, and just beyond, glacial-blue Lake Helen will lure you for

out the theory by dosing yourself with negative ions-and positive

a side trip. Swoop downhill to the park's southern reaches and park

vibes-on this falls-filled drive through Northern California's land of

near Southwest Campground. Hoof it 1.6 miles to Mill Creek Falls' 75-

watery wonders.

foot plunge, where two creeks join as one.

From Redding, cruise north on I-5 toward looming Mount Shasta,

You've just seen a half-dozen waterfalls in two days. It's time

California's fifth-highest peak (14,179 feet) and the uncontested scene

to relax by the fireplace with a ginger lemon martini, so swing by

dominator. Don't forget to peer over your left shoulder and admire

Highlands Ranch Resort, 10 miles south of Lassen Park. Spend the

Castle Crags' jagged spires; then stop at Dunsmuir, about an hour

night in a rustic-chic cabin, then grab a few more negative ions with a

in, for a waterfall warm-up-a quick tromp to see Hedge Creek Falls

morning trip to Deer Creek Falls, just 20 minutes away in Mineral. This

tumble over a basalt precipice. Look closely-the waterfall's curtain

short, snowmelt-fed fall drops into a punchbowl swimming hole. Don't

hides the entrance to a 12-foot-high cave. Keep trucking north to the

forget your swimsuit.

3

days

S TA R T Redding
F I N I S H Deer Creek Falls, Mineral

B E S T S P OT F O R A SW I M Lower McCloud Falls or Deer Creek Falls

88
VISITCALIFORNIA.COM

222
miles

I N S I D E T I P These
waterfalls are most boisterous
in spring and early summer,
so take this trip between
March and July.

PHOTOGRAPH: EUGENE DAVIDYUK

stretch your legs with a 1.4-mile hike to boisterous, fern-fringed Kings
T H E R E ' S M AG I C I N WAT E R FA L L S . Scientists believe that


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California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

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California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 1
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