Touring the Byway
5 Days/ 4 Nights | Gateway City: Klamath Falls, Oregon

We recommend starting your journey in Klamath Falls, where you can learn about the city’s early beginnings as a horse town where stagecoaches and wooden buildings lined Main Street. Take a Downtown Walking Tour to locate the Pelicans on Parade, Bird Boxes, and historic murals that dot the city, dig deeper into the area’s history at the Favell Museum and Klamath County Museum, and take a step back in time at the Baldwin Hotel Museum before staying at a hotel surrounded by endless natural wonders.

On Day Two, you’ll begin your drive on the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway as you cross into California and travel to Tulelake, a city that sits at the intersection of geologic and American history. See the Tulelake-Butte Valley Fairgrounds and History Museum to learn of the town’s agricultural origins, pause for a moment of reflection at the Tule Lake National Monument, and explore the rugged landscape and high desert wilderness of Lava Beds National Monument. Spend the night in a historic lodge.

View the Detailed Itinerary below to see the full route, which is complete with dining, shopping,  and lodging recommendations!

Highlighted Attractions

Tule Lake National Monument

The Tule Lake National Monument brings increased understanding of the high price paid by some Americans during the second World War. There are two sites of historical importance within this National Monument. First, the Tule Lake Segregation Center, the largest and most controversial of the ten concentration camps constructed in 1942 by the United States government to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II. The second site is Camp Tulelake, a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp that first imprisoned Japanese Americans and later detained German and Italian prisoners of war until it closed in 1946. The public cannot access the camp unless on a guided tour, but several buildings can be viewed from the road.

Lava Beds National Monument

The Tule Lake National Monument brings increased understanding of the high price paid by some Americans during the second World War. There are two sites of historical importance within this National Monument. First, the Tule Lake Segregation Center, the largest and most controversial of the ten concentration camps constructed in 1942 by the United States government to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II. The second site is Camp Tulelake, a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp that first imprisoned Japanese Americans and later detained German and Italian prisoners of war until it closed in 1946. The public cannot access the camp unless on a guided tour, but several buildings can be viewed from the road.

Medicine Lake Volcano Geologic Loop Tour

Drive a bonus Byway! Craters, caves, and lava flows are on view on this 60-mile driving loop that includes a portion of the Modoc Volcanic Scenic Byway. Highlights of this drive include the historic Harris Spring Forest Service Guard Station, jagged lava flows, dozens of geologically fascinating cinder cones, three different types of craters, natural bridges, mini-volcanoes called spatter cones, giant lava tubes, and Medicine Lake, nestled within the still-active Medicine Lake Volcano and lying at 6,700 feet above sea level. Stop at the Medicine Lake Recreation Area to enjoy fishing, boating, and exploring in a cool and crisp setting you won’t believe is in the middle of a volcano!  Start and end your drive in Bartle, Drive north on forest road 15 (Harris Spring Road), east on gravel forest road 43N48, south on gravel forest road 44N75, back down forest road 49 south, and then back toward forest road 15 south to the entry point on Highway 89. You will not need four-wheel drive for this trip, but high clearance vehicles are recommended, and be sure to fill up your gas tank before departing. Also check road conditions before traveling. 

McCloud River Falls Trail

Three volcanic and scenic waterfalls are visible on a 12-mile trail that meanders upstream of the McCloud River. A recreation center offers picnicking, fishing, and swimming, though the water will be chilly. There are also access points for shorter trails.

Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark

These 200 million year old caves feature a wide variety of formations: stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, columns, and flowstone, plus the Discovery Room, where you’ll find them all. Take a short catamaran ride across Shasta Lake, a scenic bus ride up a steep mountain grade, and a guided tour of the caverns.

To experience all that The Ring of Fire: Listen to the Past has to offer, download the complete itinerary!

The detailed itinerary includes: