Lake Almanor

Lake Almanor

Lake Almanor
Find tranquility at this under-the-radar reservoir near Lassen Volcanic National Park

Nestled in the north-eastern corner of California, you’ll discover Shasta Cascade’s Lake Almanor, one of the Golden State’s best-kept secrets. The large man-made lake with 83 km of coastline has something for everyone—including family-friendly activities and picture-perfect mountain vistas from practically every vantage point.

“The average reaction when people first come here is probably a little bit of awe,” says Todd Geer, owner of Plumas Pine Resort, about the remote reservoir, which is located three hours north of Sacramento. It was completed by Great Western Power in 1927 and named for the three daughters of a company executive: Alice, Martha, and Eleanor. 

Play a round of golf among towering pines, encounter black-tailed deer munching on breakfast during a sunrise hike, coast over the reservoir’s glassy waters on a Jet Ski, or soak in the sunset’s fiery aspen glow over Lassen Peak, an active volcano that measures 10,457 feet.

It’s this volcano—and all of neighbouring Lassen Volcanic National Park—that helps makes the Lake Almanor region so unique.

“It’s a really interesting place geologically speaking,” says National Park Ranger Kevin Sweeney. “All four types of volcanoes found in the world are found here at Lassen. You’ll drive past these volcanic mud pots, these steaming vents without even having to leave your car.”

But you’ll sure want to leave your car to see the park in its full glory. Bubbling magma, steaming lakes, black lava beds, lava tubes almost 1km long—the incredible landscape is a result of a series of eruptions that began roughly 100 years ago, propelling a 19-km-long mud flow through the surrounding areas and transforming the land into much of what it is today. There are more than 241km of hiking and biking trails with names like Devil’s Kitchen and Bumpass Hell. (The story goes that in 1864, explorer Kendall Bumpass lost his leg after stumbling into one of the trail’s boiling mud springs.)

Though an average annual snowfall of 55 feet makes much of Lassen inaccessible during the winter months, some trails are still open for snowmobiling, snowshoeing and skiing.

It’s all the beauty of Yosemite National Park but with fewer people, given its under-the-radar status. In fact, only about 400,000 people visit Lassen each year, compared with Yosemite’s four million.

“What’s so fabulous about this place is it’s extra tranquil,” says Laurie Baker, general manager of Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association. It has, she adds, “a special calm.”

 

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Kodiak Greenwood

Northern California

Discover Shasta Cascade

California’s northeast corner is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with safe-to-explore volcanoes, hushed forests, and trout-filled rivers. This is the place for blue-ribbon fishing, houseboats anchored in cool lakes, countless campgrounds, and inviting trails for hiking and mountain biking.

“When I first caught sight of it I was weary and 50 miles away and afoot. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.” – Author John Muir, upon seeing Mount Shasta in 1874

All this, plus friendly towns like Chico and Chester, and inviting rural farms in fertile lands near the Upper Sacramento River. Redding, the region’s largest city, makes a good base, with riverfront trails, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and elegant Sundial Bridge, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

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Lassen Volcanic National Park is the only place on Earth where all four types of volcano can be seen.
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Mt. Shasta by Kodiak Greenwood

Trip 4-6 days 10 stops

Volcanoes to the Sea

Booming Waterfalls, Craft Breweries
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Burney Falls

Visit a booming cascade nicknamed the “eighth wonder of the world”

One of the most spectacular waterfalls in the state—if not the continent—this 129-foot-tall, fern-draped cascade seems to come out of nowhere....

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Shasta Lake

Rent a houseboat to explore the state’s largest reservoir

There’s plenty of room to move on this 30,000-acre/12,140-hectare reservoir, the largest in California. A typical summer day finds the crystal...

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Shasta Dam contains enough concrete to build a 3-foot sidewalk around the world at the equator.
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Sundial Bridge

Stroll a futuristic bridge across the Sacramento River

A functional work of art, the remarkable bridge, designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, spans the tree-lined, trout-filled...

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Redding's Sundial Bridge is the largest sundial in the world.
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Kodiak Greenwood

Tehama Trail

Visit farms and farm stands along the Sacramento River

Established by local farmers, the Tehama Trail meanders through rural communities, linking together nearly two dozen vineyards, orchards, and...

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Mount Shasta

Experience wildflower meadows, year-round snowfields, and a New-Age-y vibe

Soaring to 14,179 feet/4,322 metres high, this magnificent volcano scrapes the turquoise-blue sky, north of Redding, a totem from almost anywhere...

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Flyfishing

Cast a fly in blue-ribbon waters

Between the volcanic summits of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen flow some of California’s most celebrated flyfishing rivers. Blue-ribbon waters lace the...

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Shasta Cascade's Craft Breweries

Hoist a mug to the Californian brewers who redefined the art of ale

Northern California was the wellspring of the craft beer movement, which can be loosely traced from Anchor Brewing in San Francisco to Sierra...

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John/ Flickr
Going to the mountains is going home.
John Muir
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Annual festivals liven up this quiet corner of California

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Mt. Lassen by Kodiak Greenwood
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Oroville Temple

Oroville

Find a Far East gem in this Gold Rush era town

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Peter Alfred Hess/Flickr
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Cyril Fluck/Flickr

Lava Beds National Monument

Descend into eerie and historic lava tube caves

A surreal landscape sculpted by molten earth, Lava Beds National Monument contains volcanic tablelands punctuated by cinder cones, pit craters,...

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Lava, geysers & naturally heated hot springs

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Lassen Peak by Grant Montgomery/Flickr
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Lava Beds National Monument was a training ground for astronauts heading to the moon.