Here goes a streamlined version of our 2 week roadtrip through the Pacific Northwest. We began Day 1 in our beloved Lake Tahoe and ended in Klamath Falls, Oregon. It was one of our only long travel days of the trip. We wanted to get as many miles north as possible while the kids were fresh and still happy to be in the car! We are avid National Park explorers and couldn’t wait to visit Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park. Both my husband and I are California natives, but had never been to Mt. Lassen. We were pleasantly surprised by this lesser known and lesser traveled park. I would highly recommend a trip here even though it’s a bit out of the way, or perhaps it IS off the beaten path.
One of the best and most scenic highways in California is CA State Hwy. 89. It starts south of Lake Tahoe near why 395 and makes it’s way up through the southwestern part of the lake before heading into Truckee and north of Hwy 80 into Plumas County and onward to Mt. Lassen and Shasta County where it ends near Hwy 5 not far from Mt. Shasta. With spectacular views over mountain passes, alongside alpine lakes and through small mountain towns like Sierraville and Graeagle.
Unlike many National Parks, Mt. Lasses does not have an old lodge to stay at while you are there. Most people camp or stay outside of the park. This is one of the reasons it’s so much less visited. It’s remote location and limited lodging creates a challenge. We spent the day at Mt. Lassen and continued on towards Mt. Shasta before stopping in Klamath Falls that night. Anticipating this would be a fun day of learning about a new-to-us National Park, we knew we could push the kids a little farther north before stopping for the day.
It was a successful first day out with views that didn’t stop until the sun finally sank beneath the horizon. We stopped whenever we felt the moment strike, walked along a path or took some pics of the scenery before continuing on our journey. The visitor’s center at Lassen was a fun pitstop as well. The rangers were really helpful, we earned another patch for our collection and the kids completed another junior ranger activity book. These books can be picked up at any national park visitor center and are a terrific way to get kids engaged in what they are seeing and curious about the surroundings while creating little environmentalists and lifelong explorers.
Where to stay:
We stayed in Klamath Falls, OR at The Running Y Ranch
Drakesbad Ranch is the only option within the National Park unless you camp.
Bring lots of food and water for day trips, there are not many options in the park. The visitors center at Kohm Yah-mah-nee via the south entrance had a great 20 minute movie introducing you to the various types of volcanoes that we were about to travel to throughout the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest.