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Spring hiking in Lassen National Forest


Scenic Drives  · Lassen Area

Lassen Area

Explore a "new landscape" created when Lassen Peak erupted in 1914.  Lassen Peak dominates this northern California region at 10,457’ drawing visitors to see what time has done to erase the cataclysmic effects multiple eruptions on plants, animals and terrain.  Lassen Peak is only one of the many sights along this drive.
Lassen Volcanic National Park is a great place to visit – just don’t miss the surrounding region for scenic drives among high desert plateaus, alpine lakes, mountain peaks, vast meadows and pine forests.  There are no large cities here (Susanville is the closest to being one), just innumerable hiking trails, camping sites, historic mines and low-key small towns.
The park itself offers visitors a chance to explore a landscape less than one hundred years old – the scene of several hundred volcanic explosions from 1914 to 1921.  It is a landscape of contrasts between the dense evergreen forests and small lakes of the untouched lands and the barren lava dunes, ragged craters and steaming geothermal pools near the volcano.

Here, you can avoid the crowds heading to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe and Lake Shasta – only 400,000 visit the park annually (compared to 3.3 million at Yosemite). 

Lassen Area Scenic Drives

Visitor Info
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Scenic Drive Index Print/Zoom

Starting from Highway 99 near Chico, take Highway 70 to pass by Lake Oroville and enter Plumas National Forest. The road follows the Feather River Canyon, an especially colorful route in the fall.
SIDETRIP: Take a right on 89 to head southeast towards Quincy (very quaint), Portola (a turn onto 70) and Graeagle (resorts and golfing) - a lovely drive with many options for both summer and winter outdoor activities.  

Highway 70 turns into Highway 89 at the Quincy turnoff so for our main route, continue north and to the west to the south shore of Lake Almanor. Follow 89 to Lassen Volcanic National Park where the main road provides access to some of the park’s best sites.   A detailed map and description of the park is included in our National Parks section.

Leaving the park, continue on 89, making a right turn on 44 towards Susanville, turning southwest on 36. Hikers will want to investigate the Bizz Johnson Trail for wildlife viewing. 36 passes by the northern shore of Lake Almanor, returning to 99 and I-5 at Red Bluff.

SIDETRIP: If you are heading north, continue on 89 past Hat Creek – the route is wonderfully scenic all the way to Mt. Shasta where it rejoins I-5.


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Snow-capped peaks in Lassen Volcanic National Park

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