Take a rugged adventure along the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, California's great all-American road.
Trip Time: 4 days
Begin your journey heading east on Highway 44 from Redding to Lassen Volcanic National Park . Pull over at the beautiful Manzanita Lake for a swim, or take in the view from the shoreline. Take time to peruse the rich history of the area at the Loomis Museum, which is also an ideal place to gather local information. For the outdoor adventurer, the next stop is Lassen Peak, the largest of a group of more than 30 volcanic domes, for a hike to the 10,457-ft. summit.
Be sure to stop at Bumpass Hell, the largest geothermal feature in the park, for a moderate hike through stunning volcanic formations such as boiling mud pots, steaming fumaroles and hot springs. Before exiting the park, stop at the beautiful and LEED-certified Kohm Yah-Man-Nee Visitors Center to pick up your souvenirs of your visit. Stay at one of the park's many great campgrounds or check out the park’s only resort: Drakesbad Guest Ranch .
Spend the morning in the beautiful waters of Lake Almanor swimming, fishing, skiing, boating or parasailing. Restock and refresh in historic Chester before continuing on to visit Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Westwood. Here you can hike bike or ride a horse on the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail , which runs through the Susan River Canyon and along the Southern Pacific Railroad. From there, continue along Highway 44 to Old Station for food and lodging.
Start by exploring a 2,000-year-old, 1/3-mile-long lava tube at Subway Cave, then continue up Highway 89 to Hat Creek, a must for the avid fisherman. Enjoy the beautiful scenery as you approach McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park for a 3.5-mile hike to what President Roosevelt called “the eighth wonder of the world.” Continue north to the three stunning McCloud Falls , then spend the night in historic McCloud at McCloud Hotel or McCloud Mercantile Hotel for a journey into the past with antique furniture, themed rooms and even spa treatments. Don’t forget to check out the nostalgic downtown shopping area.
On the final day, drive by majestic Mt. Shasta on I-5, then shop and dine in Mt. Shasta City . Stop by the city park to see the Sacramento River's headwaters, or drive up the mountain on the Everett Memorial Highway. Nearby is the city of Weed, a historic lumber town where you can stop at the Mt. Shasta Brewing Co. for some locally brewed beer. Continue on Highway 97 to Klamath Basin and Tulelake National Wildlife Refuges , home to thousands of protected species including the largest wintering population of American bald eagles and over 260 other bird species.
In Tulelake , step into the past as you experience some of the nation’s WWII history at an old German/Italian POW camp and Japanese-American internment camp. From there, you can take a detour down to Lava Beds National Monument to explore over 700 lava tube caves, as well as the site of the only Native American/U.S. Army battle in California history.