The name “Hat Creek” was born out of a comical story about a group of surveyors who were establishing the Nobles Emigrant Trail way back in 1852. Lore has it that when one of them foolishly lost his expensive hat in the swift waters, he “turned the air blue with his sulfurous comments.” In a mock ceremony, his laughing partners named the stream “Hat Creek”.
The Hat Creek Rim is a fault where the earth’s crust has been shifted vertically along fissures, crevices, and fractures caused by powerful subterranean forces. Still “alive and cracking” today, the floor of Hat Creek Valley is over 900 feet below the top of the rim. However, one million years ago the rim and the valley were at the same elevation.
The overlook itself is a viewing area of the dramatic geology of Hat Creek Valley within the Lassen National Forest region of Shasta County. It is located on Highway 44, three miles east of the junction of Highway 89/44 near Old Station which is 2 miles away. The town of Burney is 28 miles away.
Outfitted with viewing scopes, this overlook offers a great vantage point of Lassen Peak (10,457 ft), Mt. Shasta (14, 162 ft), Crater Peak (8,677 ft), Burney Mountain (8,550 ft), and Magee Peak (8,550 ft). Hat Creek Rim Overlook includes interpretive signs, restrooms, picnic sites, parking space for RVs, but no water.