Big Lake/Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park - California Watchable Wildlife Viewing Site #30
Photo © Jim Duckworth
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park is located in the northeastern corner of California and is heavily influenced by black lava flows, jagged black basalt, lava tubes and caves, and fresh water springs. The Park is also located along the Pacific Flyway and hosts an abundance of migratory and resident birds. Park visitors get a true wilderness experience in a place of natural beauty only minimally marked by man.
Big Lake, Tule River, Ja-She Creek, Lava Creek and Fall River together form one of the largest systems of fresh water springs in the country. Big Lake is an isolated fishing hotspot bordered by the grassland, forested hills, and rugged lava flows of Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park. The open water attracts heavy concentrations of geese, swans, and ducks, including nesting Canada geese and northern pintails. The shoreline and Tule Creek is home to western pond turtles, garter snakes, and great blue herons that also nest in pines east of Crystal Springs. The surrounding forests shelter resident mule deer, coyotes, yellow-bellied marmots, and porcupines. Junipers in the lava fields also support the abundant nests of ospreys.
The Park covers part of the Ahjumawi people's ancestral homeland and remains an integral part of their culture. Features include bedrock mortars, village and ceremonial sites, and prehistoric fish traps still used today.
Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park is located in remote northeastern Shasta County and is only accessed by boat. Visitors can launch into Big Lake at a PG&E public boat launch known as "Rat Farm".
Best Time for Viewing: Waterfowl are best seen in spring through fall. American white pelicans in the summer. Swans and geese in the winter.
Best Months and Seasons for Viewing: Abundant wildlife populations are evident all seasons.