On the edge of a verdant meadow and with views over forested slopes to distant snowcapped peaks, Highlands Ranch Resort in northeast California is a place to reconnect to nature in style and comfort. Barely 10 minutes from Lassen Volcanic National Park’s southwest entrance, this Tehama County ranch blends luxury with rustic charm in one of the state’s wildest and most pristine regions.
Highlands Ranch Resort Amenities
The resort dates to the 1970s and underwent extensive upgrades in recent years. While the seven contemporary cottages share many amenities in common—including heated bathroom floors, gas fireplaces framed by ornamental ironwork, and walk-in natural slate showers—each one also offers its own distinctive experience.
The one-bedroom Meadow’s Edge, for example, has a Craftsman-inspired king bed and an outdoor hot tub. The log furniture in Timber Ridge brings the feeling of the mountain forest indoors, while Maverick finds an ideal balance between contemporary style and Old West romance. And if you’re traveling with friends or the family, adjoining cottages can be connected to create accommodations for up to 10 people.
Highlands Ranch’s centerpiece is its 7,500-square-foot main lodge building, which incorporates Douglas fir, cedar, and yellow pine reclaimed from an older structure at this location. The lodge’s interior rises to a vaulted ceiling with exposed beams and enormous windows open to views of the meadow. Native American blankets add a touch of color, and the large stone fireplace lets you warm up after a day of exploring during winter. And the Adirondack chairs along the lodge’s spacious deck or around the firepit are absolutely irresistible, both on sunny days and for stargazing after dark.
Dining at Highlands Ranch
The lodge is home to The Restaurant at Highlands Ranch, which specializes in updated American favorites prepared with sustainable, seasonal, and local ingredients. This is ranching country, so it’s no surprise to find such traditional favorites as filet mignon or ribeyes. But the restaurant also has seafood delivered three times a week and serves dorado from Hawaii and salmon from the Pacific Northwest. At lunch, there are mahi-mahi tacos, as well as a selection of Wagyu beef burgers. Stays at the ranch also include full breakfasts.
Activities at and near Highlands Ranch Resort
With horseback riding from mid-May into fall and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing (bring your own gear) along the meadow in winter, it might be tempting to never leave the ranch. But the resort makes a perfect base for getting out and exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park and the many other natural wonders of California’s Shasta Cascade region (aka UpState CA). Lassen is a geologic wonderland, complete with all four kinds of the world’s volcanoes. While there have been no major eruptions in the park for around a century, steam rising from vents, boiling springs, and bubbling mudpots serve as reminders that the land here remains geologically active.
Just off the main park road, you can visit the Sulphur Works to see roaring steam vents and volcanic-gas vents known as fumaroles. For a nice look at some of the mudpots, as well as the park’s brilliantly hued turquoise pools, follow the 3-mile round trip Bumpass Hell Trail. Or head out on the 4.2-mile Devil’s Kitchen Trail to explore Lassen’s second-largest hydrothermal wonderland and to reach shimmering alpine lakes.
For all of its geological drama, the park also has plenty of classic alpine scenery, with views of 10,457-foot Lassen Peak from Manzanita Lake and meadows filled with wildflowers during summer. In addition to exploring the national park, guests at Highlands Ranch can also test their skills on guided fly-fishing adventures or go kayaking and canoeing on Lake Almanor.
Wild as this country is, more civilized pleasures are never far away. About 25 minutes from the ranch, golfers will enjoy spectacular views of Mount Lassen while playing a round at Bailey Creek Golf Course, which was designed by master golf architect Homer Flint. Wine lovers can discover the unique volcanic terroir of the Manton Valley American Viticultural area at six wineries in the historic town of Manton, about 40 minutes from the ranch.