your paddlesports destination

Ahjumawi Lava Springs SP in California

Trip Overview

Ahjumawi is an excellent destination for boat-in camping and flatwater paddling. It is an interconnected chain of lakes, swamps, and channels, with nine boat-in campsites along the wilder north side.

There are four different put-in spots, all off of good gravel roads, with the easiest being the one straight north of McArthur on Rat Farm Road, which is listed on the state park map.

Fish are big, people are few, views are good, but the birds surpass anything I have ever seen: eagles, herons, hawks, egrets, and about 100,000 waterfowl at one time during migration season. No exageration: we would poke our kayaks out from a channel into a lake area and 5,000 water birds would fly up at once. The noise was so great we couldn't talk to each other.

• All but the first three campsites (numbers 7,8,9,)are hard to spot from the water: bring a good map or GPS.
• Note that a mile-wide flat area west of Horr Pond which is labelled as land on most maps is now a shallow, bird-filled lake.
• Hiking trails listed on the state park map are deceptive: half are just old roads, and the other half have not been maintained for decades, and can't be found.
• Lots of mosquitoes in the early summer: late summer or early fall is better.
• Some poison oak on shore.
• Considerable wind some afternoons.
• Lots of duck hunters the first weekend of duck season (early October).

Otherwise few people, and few motor boats. Fall color is good in early October.


The two parking areas have restrooms and gravel launch ramps. The campsites across the lake have restrooms and picnic table. One (no. 8) has a little dock.


Boater access to the lakes is free.

The campsites on the north side cost $15 per night in 2013


McArthur, CA is about 20 mi. NE of Burney on Hwy. 299. From the McArthur fairgrounds, go either N or NW on gravel roads about 5 mi. to two maintained parking areas.


State Park map is available at Burney Falls S.P., and can also be copied off the State Park website.

  • Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip