Burney Falls, Lava Beds, and Orr Lake

It was Memorial Day weekend and having our Airstream has made us think we are invincible when it comes to camping. Meaning we can go anywhere and get a spot somehow. Of course its true but one must not be too picky. We wanted to go check out McArthur-Burney Falls SP but only could get Thursday and Friday night. The drive was beautiful and only under three hours from home. The park is the first one I can remember hearing about from a childhood friend who every summer would travel from So Cal all the way up to MBFSP. I was impressed and thought what a great adventure, now eons later here we are.

Site # 43 and we were close to everything. Unfortunately two nights isn’t enough.

John and I always try to get to the Visitor’s Center first thing to get information and to check the exhibits. Burney Falls is right by the center and there is a fabulous overlook. One other thing we know is- one needs to spend time hiking and exploring to get to know an area. That might be why we return to certain areas more than once.

After chatting with the ladies at the newly refurbished Visitor Center (free wifi during open hours) we walked the Falls Loop trail (1.2 miles).

Lake Britton is a product of the Pit River being dammed and has numerous water activities. We lucked out and were one of two groups to sign up for the first evening canoe tour of the season!

Such a fun adventure – stormy skies with thunder but we stayed safe. It was majestic on the lake and we toured up to where the river enters the lake. It was filled with wildlife and I must say that back when I worked for CA State Parks my favorite summer was giving canoe tours on Benbow Lake.

It’s always good to show stats and to see that smile.

Wide open skies on the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

Having to leave Burney Falls was difficult but we were heading for Lava Beds National Monument and the possibility of meeting up with friends and new adventures. The drive was beautiful, a bit confusing using too many choices (Google maps, signage, and the park website) on where to actually enter the park.  We arrived only to find out all 43  sites were filled (bike race) and the sites were a bit over crowded.  We found out at the visitor center we could park in the lot for the night and so we drove the Cloud to a variety of vista points and caves.

Just makes me laugh.


Our spot for the night, and we were the only ones.

Sunset was picturesque and there appeared to be a vertical rainbow way out there – or something close to that.

Morning coffee with our view, met up with our friends the Goodyears for a tiny bit, and then took the 10am cave hike.

After deciding we didn’t want to spend another night in the parking lot, and tow the Airstream around the park we decided to move on and head towards home. We thought about going to Medicine Lake but 9 miles are unpaved so that was out. We chose instead to go back through Dorris on 97 and checked the ranger station finding literature on campgrounds in the Goosenest RD. Orr Lake sounded good and we drove to it. The drive was gorgeous – Mt. Shasta in the background, alpine feel and green.

The drive into the campground was all about the pictures.

Shasta from the north side has a lot of snow.

Super lucky – the campground was full (8 sites) when we arrived however the folks in site #1 informed us that they were leaving and we could have their site. And it’s a no fee campground! An hour later we were relaxing!

Orr Lake isn’t recommended for swimming – just boating – lots of lily pads and grass. John fished here (Bass and Trout) when we use to live in Yreka it turns out.

Another perfect dinner – salmon, salad, rice and a nice bottle of wine.