Burney, CA: We’re Big on Burney

Burney may be a small Northern California town, but it delivered some big delights!

Burney Falls is a big waterfall, at 129 feet. To recognize how big, look for the tiny people in the lower left corner of the foreground below. It’s so dang pretty that Theodore Roosevelt once deemed it the Eighth Wonder of the World, though if still alive today, he would probably assign that honor to Taylor Swift instead.

The water comes not only from the falls themselves, but also from water seeping out from between rocks and from hanging ferns. The tiny falls seeping from its face are all fed by snowmelt water in an underground network of ancient river channels.

Relentless pounding over milennia has created a 20-foot deep pool filled with chilly 48-degree water. Brrrr!

Burney Falls is on the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, an epic drive through the wonders of an area “molded by its fiery volcanic past over millions of years.” As such, many of the trails here are lined with big boulders, the rocky remnants of prior geologic activity.

The Falls Loop Trail is 1.2 miles and takes you down to the bottom of the falls, along the river, and back up the other side, including two bridges. It was a lot of fun, and gave many different perspectives on the falls! It was also very cold down at the bottom, where icy mist hangs in the air.

Philip is proud to report that he has now hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. OK, it was only 10 feet of it, but still. Burney Falls is about halfway through this big trail, on which many an intrepid hiker has drug their weary feet. Only 1,418 miles to walk to Mexico from here, or 1,232 to Canada! Most hikers take about 5 months of daily walking to complete the trail. Goals!

Big Roy” (yep, that’s his name — a nod to cowboy Roy Rogers, perhaps?) is another of the nationwide Muffler Men, in nearby Hat Creek. He’s such a big cheese that he has friends who do litter cleanup in his honor.

This guy holds a big branding iron, and no wonder — because this area is full of grazing pastures for cattle. In fact, his steely gaze (and epic eyebrows, microbladed into the current style) is fixed upon a cattle ranch, right across the street.

In fact, our RV campground is located at Hat Creek Hereford Ranch, a working cattle ranch, so we greet the day with some mighty big faces.

Big Roy joins our collection of really big fellas we’ve seen around the country! Cowboys, lumberjacks, ballplayers, auto mechanics, and beer-swiggin, cigar-smokin’, tanning-booth-usin’ ruffians, to name a few.

If Big Roy isn’t enough to impress you, how about a big collection of some other really fun junk-art statues! Two brothers who own a building materials company created this free-to-visit sculpture park at the entrance of their supply yard in nearby Cassel.

Included are a 40-foot-long 5-ton dinosaur, a rock man, a penguin, a dachshund, flying saucer, and many other big creations.

Eagle eyes will recognize some of the materials used … cement mixer tub, Volkswagen Bug auto body …

and even big rocks to create, well, you know, big turds.

Fan of big recycled art? Check out three other fun places! **click links for more pictures in original posts**

Lakenenland Sculpture Park (Marquette, Michigan)

Dr. Evermor’s Sculpture Park (Baraboo, WI)

East Jesus in Slab City (Salton Sea, CA)

The Great Shasta Rail Trail was a big disappointment. We generally love rail-trails, built on abandoned railroad routes, and our plan was to pedal the 10-mile stretch between Burney and Lake Britton, but boy was that a joke. The “trail” was crushed red cinder from area volcanic rock, thick and rocky and very difficult to traverse. We made it about 4 miles and called it quits, but not before claiming our consolation prize, a big railroad spike we found along the trail. Cool!

And speaking of Lake Britton, it was the location for an iconic scene in a really, really big Hollywood movie from 1986. “Stand By Me” was Rob Reiner’s coming-of-age drama, and this is the bridge which the boys cross while searching for a dead body. They narrowly escape death by jumping out of the way of an approaching train.

We were not able, however, to actually trudge in River Phoenix and Jerry O’Connell’s footsteps, as the bridge is one of those on the trail deemed unsafe, as evidenced by the beautifully-graffiti’ed barricade.

Yep, we’re big on Burney all right, and the gorgeous solitude of this area. Next, we continue on the Volcanic Legacy Highway, heading to a big milestone … our 70th National Park Service site … at Lassen Volcanic National Park!

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