Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VC_RemoteCalifornia_Module6_AhjumawiLavaSprings_Stock_RM_B32M5M_1280x640
Cal Thompson/Alamy

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park
Paddle to California’s primeval wetland

Northeast of Burney lies one of the least visited state parks in California, and for a pretty obvious reason: You can only get there by boat. Ahjumawi means “where the waters come together” in the language of the region’s Pit River Native Americans, and several major watersheds convene here: Tule River, Fall River, Big Lake, Ja She Creek, and Lava Creek. The park, about 80 miles northeast of Redding, is also home to one of the country’s largest freshwater springs, all in a wild and primeval setting of aqua-hued bays and tiny, tree-topped islets.

Fortunately, you don’t need to have your own canoe or kayak to access the park. Eagle Eye’s Kayak Guide Service, based in McArthur (roughly a half hour drive south), offers kayak tours and rentals. Headwaters Adventure Company in Redding also has gear for rent (including racks for your car), and guides are available for groups of five or more—a smart idea if you’re not experienced paddlers. Outfitters can also share details on how to get to the park, where to launch, and what to pack, including binoculars for abundant wildlife. You’ll likely count more deer than people, and bald eagles and ospreys nest in the juniper trees.

If you’ve got time and love adventure, consider camping here for a night or two. There’s no need for advance reservations—chances are good you’ll have these turquoise waterways all to yourself. Rugged lava flows cover about two-thirds of the park’s 6,000 acres, all crisscrossed by a network of trails. Hike the nearly five-mile Spatter Cone Loop Trail to see volcanic features and big views of 14,179 foot Mount Shasta and 10,457 foot Lassen Peak. Along the park’s shoreline, look for prehistoric rock fish traps built by the Ahjumawi people to catch trout. Today, fly-fishing is hugely popular in the region; get details on licenses (required for ages 16 and over) and seasons from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VCW_D_SC_Hero_barn_KG_1280x642_sized
Kodiak Greenwood

Northern California

Discover Shasta Cascade

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park vca_maps_shastacascade
7
December
Average (°C)
Dec - Feb
15°
High
2°
Low
Mar - May
26°
High
6°
Low
June - Aug
36°
High
16°
Low
Sept - Nov
32°
High
5°
Low

California’s north east corner is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with safe to explore volcanoes, hushed forests and trout filled rivers. This is the place for blue-ribbon fishing, houseboats anchored in cool lakes, countless campgrounds and inviting trails for hiking and mountain biking. 

"When I first caught sight of it I was weary and 50 miles away and afoot. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.”  --Author John Muir, upon seeing Mount Shasta in 1874

All this, plus friendly towns like Chico and Chester and inviting rural farms in fertile lands near the Upper Sacramento River. Redding, the region’s largest city, makes a good base, with river front trails, Turtle Bay Exploration Park and elegant Sundial Bridge, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

Joshua Tree National Park
Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing

Travel Alerts

Check out the latest California Wildfire & Travel Conditions

Are there currently wildfires in California?

Recent critical wildfires in California are fully contained and pose no...

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VCW_D_SC_T1_35a5189_sized
Lassen Volcanic National Park is the only place on Earth where all four types of volcano can be seen.
Kodiak Greenwood

Trip 4 - 6 days 10 stops

Volcanoes to the Sea

Booming Waterfalls, Craft Breweries
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park Sacramento_TowerBridge_DeltaKing_1280x642_0

Begin your trip in the centre of the state, home to the capital city of Sacramento. Like many cities, California’s state capital is undergoing an energetic renaissance. Young adults looking for an urban vibe are moving into this low key city, with micro breweries, gastropubs and trendy boutiques...

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VolcanoesToTheSea_Stop8_Eureka_RF_160808903

After so much wildness for so much of your trip, Eureka is an inviting and lively switch. This once rough and tumble seaport town, the largest coastal city between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, has a split personality charm: a sense of history in the handsomely restored, Victorian...

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VCW_D_SC_T2_BurneyFalls.jpg_KG
Kodiak Greenwood

Burney Falls

Visit a booming cascade nicknamed the 'eighth wonder of the world'

One of the most spectacular waterfalls in the state—if not the continent—this 129-foot-tall, fern-draped cascade seems to come out of nowhere....

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VCW_D_SC_T3_ShastaLake_Kids.jpg_KG-1280x642
Kodiak Greenwood

Shasta Lake

Hire a houseboat to explore the state’s largest reservoir

There’s plenty of room to move on this 30,000-acre reservoir, the largest in California. A typical summer day finds the crystal blue waters...

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VCW_D_SC_T3_ShastaLake_Kids.jpg_KG
Shasta Dam contains enough concrete to build a 3-foot sidewalk around the world at the equator.
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VCW_D_SC_T4-Sundial Bridge_i-8p9WWv_R-L.jpg_KG
Kodiak Greenwood

Sundial Bridge

Stroll a futuristic bridge across the Sacramento River

A functional work of art, the remarkable bridge, designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, spans the tree-lined, trout-filled...

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park FF_VCW_D_SC_T4-Sundial Bridge_i-8p9WWv_R-L.jpg_KG
Redding's Sundial Bridge is the largest sundial in the world.
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VCW_D_SC_T5_TehamaRanch_KG_1280x642_downsized
Kodiak Greenwood

Tehama Trail

Visit farms and farm stands along the Sacramento River

Established by local farmers, the Tehama Trail meanders through rural communities, linking together nearly two dozen vineyards, orchards, grass-...

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VCW_D_SC_T6_Mt Shasta_Kodiak__35a2159_1280x642
Kodiak Greenwood

Mount Shasta

Experience wildflower meadows, year-round snowfields and a New-Age-y vibe

Soaring to 14,179 feet high, this magnificent volcano scrapes the turquoise-blue sky, north of Redding, a totem from almost anywhere in the...

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VCW_D_SC_T7_flyfish_hooks_Manley_sized
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Fly fishing

Cast a fly in blue-ribbon waters

Between the volcanic summits of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen flow some of California’s most celebrated fly fishing rivers. Blue-ribbon waters lace...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for child-friendly fun zones that...

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VCW_SI_T5_John_preview_686x885
John/ Flickr
Going to the mountains is going home.
John Muir
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VC_WhiskeytownLake_RachidDahnoun_ShastaCascade_Lake-15_1280x640
Rachid Dahnoun

Whiskeytown Lake

Paddle, fish, or just relax atop Gold Rush history

Summer isn’t complete without a mountain-lake swim, so drive west from Redding and dip your toes in the warm, crystal-clear waters of ...

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park vc_spotlightbuttecounty_module_oroville_st_rf_151932329_1280x640_0
Alessandra RC/Getty Images

Oroville

Spend time in this historic Butte County town and discover the outdoor-recreation destinations nearby

With its long history and a range of nearby natural escapes, the county seat of ...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Kids get an inside look at wildlife, space, and more

From cool ways for your children to learn about wildlife, to an insider’s look at a space station, to a chance to walk through a rain forest or learn about the night sky, there’s a...

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park T8_TurtleBay_PeterAlfredHess_preview_686x885
Peter Alfred Hess/Flickr
Lava Beds National Monument
Cyril Fluck/Flickr

Lava Beds National Monument

Descend into eerie and historic lava tube caves

A surreal landscape sculpted by molten earth, Lava Beds National Monument contains volcanic tablelands punctuated by cinder cones, pit craters,...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Lava, geysers & naturally heated hot springs

From the snow capped heights of Mount Shasta in California’s far north to Amboy Crater in the Mojave Desert, signs of California’s volcanic past, and present, dot the landscape. Explore these...

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park Lassen_SF_GrantMontgomery_preview_686x885
Lassen Peak by Grant Montgomery/Flickr
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park VCW_D_SC_T1_35a5189
Lava Beds National Monument was a training ground for astronauts heading to the moon.
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park vc_otterbarlodge_supplied_flickr_oct815590375037_1280x640
Courtesy of Otter Bar Lodge

Otter Bar Lodge

Master white-water kayaking at this immersive camp for paddlers of all levels

This off-grid wilderness lodge in California’s north-west corner is not your typical kayaking school. The family-owned ...