Continuing north from Chico, discover a surprisingly abundant region near the leafy and cool Sacramento River. Rich soil and plenty of water make this fertile area a prime place for farms and ranches, and many invite visitors to come by to buy fresh produce, artisanal olive oils, and other local food products.
Established by local farmers, the Tehama Trail meanders through rural communities, linking together nearly two dozen vineyards, orchards, and grass-fed beef ranchers and other specialty meat producers. Though you can hop onto the route at any point, the driving tour technically begins in Corning, a town that has been linked with olives for generations. Stop in at the iconic Olive Pit for samples of traditional black and green olives, or try more exotic options, like herb-and-garlic-cheese-stuffed Sicilian olives. Head over to sleek and shiny tasting room at Lucero Olive Oil to sample artisanal olive oils and vinegars and shop for classy gifts.
Continue along the Tehama Trail to sample and buy heirloom tomatoes, juice-down-your-chin peaches and plums, and just-picked berries, as well as fresh pies and honeys. Swing by New Clairvaux Vineyard in tiny Vina, just south of Redding, where Trappist monks (yes, monks) invite you to sample their Barbera, Pinot Grigio, and other varietals in a large tasting room that’s on the monastery grounds.
Your road trip now swings east and north to take in some of California’s most amazing and wild regions. First up, a visit to a remarkable, ultra-family-friendly guest ranch on near the south entrance of Lassen Volcanic National Park.