Touring the Byway
6 Days/ 5 Nights | Gateway City: Reno, Nevada
We recommend starting your journey in Reno, where you can catch a show, enjoy world-class restaurants, and roll the dice to see if Lady Luck is on your side. Take a walk along the Truckee Riverwalk District, pick out your favorite car at the National Automobile Museum, and immerse yourself in art inspired by the American West at the Nevada Museum of Art before staying at a unique boutique hotel in the heart of Downtown Reno.
On Day Two, you’ll begin your drive on the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway as you head to Susanville, a mining and agriculture town. See the Historic Susanville Railroad Depot, take a Walking Tour, and explore an 1854 trading post at the Lassen Historical Museum and Roop’s Fort. Spend the night in an antique bed and breakfast. The next day, Day Three, you’ll continue following the Byway to visit a series of small towns with big scenery – Westwood, home of the 22-foot statue of Paul Bunyan; Almanor, whose Recreation Trail provides spectacular views of Lake Almanor; and Chester, where you can tour an original log cabin and spend the evening in a 1901 farmhouse.
View the Detailed Itinerary below to see the full route, which is complete with dining, shopping, and lodging recommendations!
With steaming fumaroles, dazzling waterfalls, crystalline mountain lakes, bright wildflowers popping through verdant meadows, and over 50 volcanoes, Lassen Volcanic National Park is a jewel at the southern end of the Cascade Range. Lassen Peak first erupted in 1914 and continued a series of sporadic and powerful blasts over the next seven years, with the most powerful explosion in 1915. The following year, President Theodore Roosevelt combined two separate national monuments to create Lassen Volcanic National Park, and named it after Peter Lassen, an early settler and trail guide. All four types of volcanoes that exist in the world can be found in the park – composite/stratovolcanoes, shield volcanoes, plug domes, and cinder cones, but the Lassen Peak itself is a large, 27,000-year old plug dome that stands at 10,475 feet. Visitors can explore this and other volcanoes in the park on hikes to peaks like Chaos Crags, Brokeoff Mountain, and Cinder Cone. Other park highlights include the variety of volcanic hydrothermal features that can be spotted throughout the area. Find thumping mud pots, bubbling pools, steaming ground, and roiling fumaroles at Sulphur Works, Bumpass Hell, Devils Kitchen, Boiling Springs Lake, and Terminal Geyser.
A 300-acre campus on the banks of the Sacramento River interprets the relationship between man and nature and celebrates the story of far Northern California. Art, science, history, forestry, and horticulture meet at the Turtle Bay Museum, the McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens feature over 200-acres of native and non-native trees and plants, and Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp is modeled after an old-time forest camp similar to ones that were all over the region 100 year ago.
Roop’s Fort, established in 1854 as a trading post, was the site of the 1863 Sagebrush War and is the oldest building in Susanville. It is also the home of the Lassen Historical Museum, which includes authentic arrowheads, Native American art, old weapons, photographs, and other artifacts from the county’s early beginnings in its collection.
California State Route 89 is a 30-mile recreational pleasure drive that winds around the east side of Lassen Peak and offers convenient access to a number of the park’s most dramatic attractions. See active geothermal areas, sub-alpine forests, mountain meadows and lava fields on one of the country’s most scenic roadways! This drive begins at the junction of Route 36 and Route 89 on the southwest side of the Lassen Volcanic National Park and will connect to the park’s northwest entrance. Plan for a one-hour drive without stops. Please use the overlooks to view wildlife and scenery.
Iron shutters and doors still swing from their hinges in grass-filled, roofless buildings that were once crowded with merchandise and miners during the gold rush era. This 19-acre park features many ruins, cottages, and other vestiges of 1860s life in what was once the “Queen City” of California’s northern mining districts. Highlights include: the County Courthouse, restored to its 1861 appearance and filled with exhibits and an unparalleled collection of California art; Blumb Bakery, which operated in Shasta until 1918 and has since been restored to house a working business; Cemetery Trail, which leads to the Catholic cemetery where many of Shasta’s prominent citizens are buried; and Pioneer Barn, home to an original stagecoach and farming and mining implements of the 1880s.