Seasoned traveler, influencer, and dog mom Suzanne Olaybal chronicles her van-life adventures on her Instagram, TikTok, and blog, Suzi On The Move. She recently hit the road for a weeklong trip to Northern California, stopping in Mammoth, North Lake Tahoe, Siskiyou County, and other parts of UpState California. We connected with Olaybal, who shared highlights from her scenic NorCal journey below.
1. Let’s start in Mammoth. What was it like in spring?
It was really cool hitting the slopes on Mammoth Mountain when it was a bit warm outside. So much fun and I’d recommend going early in the morning for the best conditions.
2. What other outdoor activities did you try during your time in Mammoth?
We took our bikes around the basin, which was glorious. Some of the hiking trails we really enjoyed include Sherwin Lakes and Convict Lake Loop. I love that so much of Mammoth is dog friendly. We were able to enjoy all the hikes with our dog.
3. You spent a few days in North Lake Tahoe. What were some highlights from your travels there?
We loved all the hidden beaches and coves in North Tahoe. You can see so much just by biking around the shore. Something unique that we really loved was the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks. The obstacles were really fun, and it was nice to let our inner child out.
4. What did you like best about the hotels throughout your stay?
Let's start with The Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth. Can we talk about that view? Our suite was soluxurious and there are mountain views in every room and a balcony. We also had a stovetop in our room, which is so rare for hotels. At the Mourelatos Lakeshore Resort in North Lake Tahoe, they have super cozy and functional cabins. Our favorite part was the lounge area where we had a private beach, fire pit, and lounge chairs overlooking the lake.
Dunsmuir’s Mossbrae Hotel was one of our favorite stays! It had a small bed-and-breakfast feel in a charming town. The bed was one of the most comfortable we’ve ever slept in. It was also decorated really nicely; we had a hard time leaving this one.
We also stayed in LOGE Mt. Shasta’s campsites and really loved our experience. I wish there were more stays like this where there’s a focus on community. This is a great place to meet other outdoorsy people. They had everything you could ever need, like hot showers, WiFi, a campfire area, bike rentals, a kitchen, and even a cafe.
5. What were three memorable food or drink experiences from your trip?
There are too many to name in Redding and Shasta: Pipeline Craft Taps & Kitchen, Yaks Shack, Mosaic, and Denny Bar Company were all so delicious. Tahoe’s Gar Woods Grill & Pier had some really fun cocktails––and strong ones might I add. Being a big seafood lover, I also enjoyed their crab cakes and ahi tacos. Also, Shelter Distilling in Mammoth serves up some of the best craft cocktails.
6. The High Sierra and Shasta Cascade regions are full of geological marvels. Which did you explore on this trip?
I finally got to see the Mammoth Hot Creek Geologic Site, and it was incredible. I would recommend anyone who goes to Mammoth to stop there during their trip. Lake Shasta had a very cool Cavern Tour and even the boat ride there was scenic.
7. What was something that surprised you about Siskiyou County?
The amount of waterfalls and beautiful hikes there that are easily accessible—and somehow we had so much of them to ourselves.
8. What stop would you revisit on your next trip to the Shasta Cascade region?
I would definitely revisit all of the waterfalls and the Castle Lake hike, followed up by a dinner at Pipeline Craft Taps & Kitchen or Denny Bar Company.
9. You frequently travel with your dog Sheila. Did you find the area to be pet friendly?
Absolutely! We were able to take her on all of the hikes and there’s a lot of pet-friendly dining with outdoor patios. Bring your furry baby—they’re going to love all their outdoor time.