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A lake at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park, where sparkling freshwater springs hug rugged lava rocks, and an oak, pine, and juniper woodland, lies only 82 miles east of Redding. This picturesque wilderness area, located within Shasta County, California was named ‘Ahjumawi’ (where the waters come together) by early native tribes.

This remote paradise, accessible only by boat, offers guests a chance to camp, picnic, fish, and explore more than 20 miles of trails through rugged wilderness and along more than 13 miles of shoreline.

Activities

Put on a sturdy pair of shoes and pack up a picnic lunch, binoculars, and your fishing gear for a leisurely visit to this scenic California state park. Come see for yourself the beauty of the largest freshwater spring system in the nation; and experience what a peaceful wilderness sounds like without the added noises of civilization. There are no public roads to or within the park.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park:

Boating at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

Remote Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park is accessible only by boat but the waters surrounding the park are shallow.

For this reason shallow water boats, such as kayaks and canoes, are recommended for the 2.5 mile journey from the mainland. Even though the water is shallow, life jackets are still required for all boaters.

This picturesque area, where the waters come together, connects several bodies of water (Big Lake, Tule River, Ja-She Creek, Lava Creek, and Fall River) to create one of the largest freshwater spring systems in the country. Guests may boat in on their own vessel or rent one nearby but should be aware that power boats may have difficulty due to the surrounding shallow waters. A boat launch is located at Big Lake.

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park with Soldier Mountain in the background

Hiking at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

Gorgeous Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park has 20 miles of trails that wind through the surrounding wilderness offering guests spectacular views of the springs and nearby mountains. These scenic trails also offer spectacular views of the surrounding Oregon White Oaks, Jeffrey Pines, and juniper trees along with the rugged lava rock that covers a wide section of the park.

Guests are advised to dress appropriately, be prepared, and let someone know where they are hiking before hitting the trails. For safety, guests should always remain on the marked trails.

Fishing at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

Don’t forget to bring your angling gear! Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park’s JaShe Creek, Horr Pond, Big Lake, and Crystal Springs are perfect locations for catching Rainbow Trout, Sacramento Suckers, Brown Trout, and Largemouth Bass. Be sure to also pick up a California fishing license ahead of time.

Birding at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park is also an ideal spot for bird watching. Many species of birds, both native and migratory, are attracted to this scenic wilderness area and the waters of the natural springs.

Here you may see Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, Lewis’s Woodpeckers, American White Pelicans, Canada Geese, Snow Geese, Blue-winged Teals, Northern Pygmy Owls, and osprey. The park also boasts one of the largest groupings of ospreys in the state. They may be easily spotted nesting within the juniper trees.

Nature and Wildlife at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park lies within the Fall River Valley basin and around one of the largest freshwater springs in the U.S. More than half of this picturesque landscape is also covered by 3,000 to 5,000 year old lava that erupted from the Medicine Lake volcano.

This beautiful area surrounded with grasslands, marsh, and an oak, pine, and juniper woodland is home to many species including Black-tailed Deer, muskrats, coyotes, bears, and rattlesnakes.

lone tree in a field during sunset at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

Pets

Pets are not allowed within the day use areas at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park (this does not include service animals). Dogs on leashes may be permitted in the parking area and near the camping areas.

Camping

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park features 3 primitive camping areas for guests interested in spending the night surrounded by a peaceful wilderness. These campsites are located near JaShe Creek, Horr Pond, and Crystal Springs and are accessible only by boat. Self-pay envelopes are available at each site.

Guests planning to spend the night inside the park should plan ahead. In addition to your basic camping supplies, be prepared by also bringing plenty of drinking water, food, a bear proof food storage container, and warm clothes for the cold nights.

Camping Near Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

Interested in staying in the area for a few days but not necessarily in spending the night in such an isolated camping spot? You may want to check out these two nearby state parks that also feature overnight accommodations:

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, located at 24898 Highway 89 in Burney, has family campsites, primitive sites, and 2-room camping cabins. Beautiful Lake Britton and the MacArthur-Burney Falls are within walking distance of all sites.

Modern campsites are available to reserve at nearby Castle Crags State Park. These campsites each have a food locker, picnic table, and a fire ring. Drinking water, flush toilets, and showers are also available within this campground located at 20022 Castle Creek Road in Castella.

Park Location

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park
McArthur, CA 96056
Phone: 530.335.2777

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park: