Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

Quick Facts

Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

California

(530) 335-2777

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

AAhjumawi Lava Springs State Park is a place of exceptional, even primeval, beauty. "Where the waters come together...." is a translation of the word Ahjumawi, which is also the self describing word used by the band of Pit River American Indians who inhabit the area. The waters which come together are Big Lake, Tule River, Ja-She Creek, Lava Creek, and Fall River. Together they form one of the largest systems of fresh water springs in the country. This park may very well be the most remote of California's 300 state parks and it is likely to remain in obscurity because the only way to access the park is by boat.

Preserved within the Park are lava flows broken by great faults and deep cracks, lava tubes and craters. Freshwater spring water flowing from the lava is prominent along the shoreline. Enjoy oak, pine, and juniper forests and slopes of rabbit brush and sagebrush. Abundant wildlife populations are evident all seasons. A great variety of birds, including bald eagles, ospreys, and great blue herons nest or travel throughout the park.

Be inspired by the magnificent vistas of Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen, and other nearby peaks. Hikers discover the area's obvious volcanic origins from 20 miles of park trails. Paths lead past basalt outcroppings, lava tubes, cold springs bubbling up at the edge of lava fields, and even a spatter cone. Trails explore a jumble of environments (located in close proximity to one another) including a soggy, tule-fringed marsh, hot and dry brush, wildflower-strewn hillsides and ponderosa pine forests. Geologists believe that most of the lava in the park originated from nearby Timbered Crater, a small volcanic summit that last flowed lava Ahjumawi's way about 2,000 years ago (relatively recently in geologic time).

Map of Ahjumawi Lava Springs (CA)

Latitude, Longitude: 41.121046, -121.432685

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Activities

  • Boating

    Ahjumawi is a particular lure for canoeists, who can paddle many miles of interconnected waterways. The park is mostly BYOB (Bring Your Own Boat). It is best to call the park to see if there are any boat rental possibilities; sometimes local businesses rent watercraft.

  • Bird Watching

    Migratory birds flock to the chain of lakes comprising the park's southern boundary. Gaggles of geese, grebes and ducks nest here in summer. White pelicans, great blue herons, bald eagles and sandhill cranes are among the larger birds commonly sighted in the park.

  • Camping

    Environmental campsites and boat-in camps are available.

  • Fishing

    The park is named for the native Ahjumawi, who have lived in the area for thousands of years. Ahjumawi ("where the waters come together") fishermen have constructed stone fish traps in the shallows since prehistoric times. The tribe still maintains traps along the park's shoreline. Public fishing is allowed in this very remote location.

  • Hiking

    Hikers discover the area's obvious volcanic origins from 20 miles of park trails. Paths lead past basalt outcroppings, lava tubes, cold springs bubbling up at the edge of lava fields, and even a spatter cone. However intriguing, mixing and mingling with the lava is only part of the Ahjumawi hiking experience. Trails explore a jumble of environments (located in close proximity to one another) including a soggy, tule-fringed marsh, hot and dry brush, wildflower-strewn hillsides and ponderosa pine forests.

    If you leave from Rat Farm Launch and boat over to near the park campground at Horr Pond, you'll land about in the middle of the park's trail system. Lava Springs Trail is the lakeshore path. Hike west from the Horr Pond Camp to Crystal Springs Camp (2.4 miles round trip) or head east on an even more remote length of shoreline trail. Spatter Cone Loop Trail (4.8 miles) tours the park's lava flows, then visits a lava tube and its namesake spatter cone.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is a great opportunity for relaxing and enjoying the possibility of spotting wildlife.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Migratory birds flock to the chain of lakes comprising the park's southern boundary. Gaggles of geese, grebes and ducks nest here in summer. White pelicans, great blue herons bald eagles and sandhill cranes are among the larger birds commonly sighted in the park. The park's animal inhabitants include the coyote, porcupine, squirrel and yellow-bellied marmot.

Seasonality/Weather

Summer and spring are warm, but fall and winter can be cool and layered clothing is advised.

Directions

Driving

The Park can only be reached by boat. There are no public roads to it and private motor vehicles are prohibited within. Visitors can launch into Big Lake at a PG&E public boat launch known as "Rat Farm". It is reached from McArthur by turning north off Highway 299 on to Main St., continuing past the Intermountain Fairgrounds, crossing over a canal and proceeding 3-miles north on a graded dirt road.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(530) 335-2777

Links