Waterfalls in California

In spite of all the drought conditions that are very apparent every where you go in California, there is at least one place where the revitalizing feeling you get from gazing at a waterfall can still be had. Burney Falls, in northern California even in late July is still a  thriving waterfall scene. 

McArthur Burney Falls

McArthur Burney Falls


It's official name is McArthur Burney Falls and is located just north of where Highway 299 and Highway 89 intersect.  From the Bay Area it will take you about 4.5 hours to drive there but there are many other activities to keep you busy for a couple of days in that part of the state.

The falls are fed by an underground spring that is in turn fed by high elevation snow melt. The underground spring, filters through the rocks in the face of the cliff and spouts out at many different spots, giving it a surreal effect of hundreds of waterfalls in one place.

If you go, and want to photograph it, bring a tripod with you.  Because the falls are so abundant you will want to slow your shutter speed down to capture that dreamy feel of water cascading down the cliff.  You may also want to try a Polarizing filter to cut down on the glare off the rocks and to help you reduce the light that is seen by you camera  sensor.  This might be just enough to let you shoot at a few seconds or slower for your shutter speed.


Most people would show up with a just a wide angle lens but a fellow photographer David Bozsik, alerted me to the prospect of using a 70-200 zoom to capture parts of the waterfall for some unique perspectives.  Another tip I got from David was to go early in the morning before the sunlight has a chance to create too much contrast in the trees and mountain side.  Also keep and eye out for Osprey as we saw a few nesting nearby.

Copyright 2015, Terry VanderHeiden