We walked a short distance to the overlook where one has an unobstructed view of the two powerful cataracts plummeting over the brink and into the emerald pool below. It was late morning and the lighting was bright which made for poor photography. That aside the falls are majestic and a true sight to see in any light!
We admired the falls from the overlook before descending on the newly renovated trail to the base of the falls where you can really feel the force of nature.
I carefully scampered down slippery volcanic scree to get closer to the waters edge where the constant gust of mist made it difficult to take any photos. I was mesmerized by the thousands of silky white rivulets seeping out from aquifers beneath the basaltic rim. The sound of crashing water droned out all other noise and put me into somewhat of an instant meditation. It’s no wonder the natives revered this place as sacred grounds.
Burney Falls is 129'
tall with more than 100 million gallons of water flowing over the falls each day.
I rejoined Sarah at the base of the falls where we continued downstream along the Loop Trail. The trail parallels Burney Creek and is bordered on the other side by a giant mossy scree hillside. There are many interpretive signs talking about the native trout that thrive in the cold waters of Burney Creek. We arrived at the junction with the Rainbow Footbridge where we crossed over the creek to continue the loop. Continuing straight would have brought us to Lake Britton via the Burney Creek Trail.
After crossing the footbridge the trail climbs in elevation up the adjacent hillside. This section of trail is less crowded as it does not offer many vantage points of the falls. There were a couple of eroded paths leading down to some precarious overlooks that the park service has now gone through great lengths to prohibit. Once upstream from the falls we crossed back over Burney Creek to the parking lot and the end of the loop.
Lake Britton is also accessed from within the park and offers ample fishing, swimming and picnicking opportunities.
(Click HERE to read the rest of Day 4 Trip Report)