Five FREE Itineraries near Lassen Volcanic Park

Photos of Lassen Volcanic Park and the area surrounding the St. Bernard Lodge.  Click Any photo to view it larger. 

One to Five Days in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Established in 1916 as the 15th National Park, Lassen is only 20 miles from St. Bernard Lodge. We have many suggestions for how to experience this treasure whether you are coming for the day or spending the week.
  • Spend more than one day in the remarkable park if you are able. If not, this one-day tour will provide opportunities to see many park highlights.
  • Drive through the park on Highway 89. The 35-mile scenic drive takes about one hour if you don’t make any stops. Download the audio tour to learn about 16 locations highlighted along the way with guide markers. This is the highest paved road in the Cascades and visitors should be aware that it is windy and without guard rails. Always check for road closures, especially due to snow, before visiting the park.
  • Take a hike. We particularly recommend the iconic Bumpass Hell (3 miles) or Lassen Peak (5 miles) trails. If you are a moderate hiker you can complete both in one day. Serious hikers should consider the Brokeoff Mountain trail. Expect to need seven hours to complete the seven-mile round trip hike.
  • Visit a waterfall. Our personal favorite is Mill Creek Falls. Set aside three hours to traverse the up-and-down trail and have time to sit and relax by the falls. The trail is gorgeous when the Mule Ears are in bloom. Kings Creek Falls is considered by some to be prettier than Mill Creek but it isn’t as tall.
  • There are many sites to see if you just want to park for a short while rather than venturing into the wilderness. We recommend Sulphur Works, Cold Boiling Lake, Summit Lake, Devastated Area, Lily Pond and Reflection Lake, or Manzanita Lake.
  • Visit the Warner Valley area in the southeast corner of the park.
  • Hike one, two, or all three of these trails: Terminal Geyser, Boiling Springs Lake, or Devils Kitchen.
  • Have lunch at Drakesbad Guest Ranch. Reservations are required well in advance for Drakesbad, however, guests that dine at the ranch are allowed to soak in the mineral hot spring pool. The ranch also offers horseback riding and massages.
  • If you want to do it all, depart early from St. Bernard, hike Boiling Springs Lake, have lunch, hike Devils Kitchen, then relax.
  • Visit Mount Harkness and Juniper Lake. Getting to either requires driving from seven miles on a dirt road but they are worth it.
  • The Mount Harkness trail requires tackling a 1200-foot elevation gain but explorers are treated to an active lookout tower that is not visible until you are almost there. If the tower is manned, go inside for views of Lake Almanor, Cinder Cone, and the Vulcan Eye on Lassen Peak. Be sure to check out the contraption in the middle of the tower that helps pinpoint the location of fires.
  • Spend time fishing, kayaking, or swimming in Juniper Lake, the largest lake in the park. There is also a hike around the lake or a short jaunt up to Crystal Lake.
  • Hike into a volcano. Drive to the northeast corner of the park to hike to the top of Cinder Cone. From the top you can look into the volcano. There are also fantastic views of the painted dunes. This hike is best done early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
  • Hike to a staggering elevation of 8,338 feet on Prospect Peak. From the top of the hike you can look down upon Cinder Cone.
  • Spend time kayaking at Butte Lake or just sit back and enjoy the quiet of nature.
  • The warm water and smooth bottom of Bathtub Lake make for the best swimming in the park.
  • If you have time, visit Subway Caves and Hat Creek Rim Overlook.
  • Return for one more day of hiking in Lassen.
  • Go swimming, boating, or fishing on Lake Almanor.
  • Follow the trail of barn quilts in Indian Valley and Quincy.
  • Visit Seneca, a California gold-mining ghost town.
  • Explore Humbug Valley.
  • Stay in town and visit museums and unique shops.
  • Go birding or horseback riding.
  • Take a day of rest. You’ve earned it.

Great Stops When Traveling To/From St. Bernard Lodge

Many of our guests stay with us before and after visiting other parts of California. Living in such a big state can result in some long drives. Thankfully, living in a big state also leads to lots of interesting things along the way. Below are a few of our favorite sites to see on your way to our lodge or after saying “see you later.”

Traveling from Yosemite National Park to St. Bernard Lodge

  • You can usually make the trip in six hours if you go through Sacramento. We recommend taking a more scenic route and making a few fun stops along the way.
  • Columbia Historic State Park: Pan for gold and take a stage coach ride in and old western town. Kids especially love this stop.
  • Emerald Bay State Park: Scuba divers and snorkelers can explore an underwater “trail” of recreational watercraft barges. There is also a steep hike to Vikingsholm, which is one of the best examples of Scandinavian architecture to be found in the Western hemisphere.
  • Plumas-Eureka State Park: Learn about California’s gold-rush era in an historic mining area.
  • Butterfly Valley Botanical Area: An undeveloped area with an abundance and variety of plant life including four species of insectivorous plants. Note that there are no facilities as this location.
  • Indian Falls: The waterfalls may be small but they are lovely. Many people use this area as a swimming hole. Watch for signs for the parking lot along Highway 89.
  • Plumas County is home to Seven Wonders of the Railroad World. Check out our favorites along the drive:
    • Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola: Live a childhood fantasy of running a locomotive yourself at this museum for true railroad fans.
    • Spring Garden Bridge: Use the pullout on the right after crossing the bridge to view William’s Loop. A single train track crosses over itself during the unique one-mile long loop. If you’re lucky enough to be there when a train passes you may see the front and rear cars traveling in opposite directions as they cross.
    • Keddie Wye: This is the only place in the world to see a railroad wye with two legs on bridges and a closing track in a tunnel. There is a pullout area on the right side of the road across from the wye. Please use extra caution when crossing the road on foot.
Yosemite National Park Portrait
Redwoods National and State Park
Traveling from Redwoods National and State Park to St. Bernard Lodge
  • Willow Creek – China Flat Museum: Also known as the Big Foot Museum because of the generous collection of casts, photos, maps, and other papers, the museum was started to preserve the history of eastern Humboldt County.
  • Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park: Visit the oldest continuously used Chinese temple in California. Still a place of worship, the temple also houses artifacts related to the 1854 Tong War.
  • Shasta State Historic Park: Observe ruins of the “Queen City” of the northern mining district. The restored county courthouse is filled with historic exhibits.
  • Turtle Bay Exploration Park: The museum is especially great for young kids. See animals native to the Sacramento River, wander through a cave on a creaky boardwalk, and learn something new in the river lab. Don’t miss the Sundial Bridge. Access to the bridge, one of the world’s largest working sundials, is free.
Traveling up the Feather River Canyon from Oroville to St. Bernard Lodge
  • Feather River Fish Hatchery: An underwater viewing area allows visitors to see migrating salmon and steelhead from mid-September through June. Lake Oroville is a great fishing spot.
  • Continue on an interesting drive up 70. How often do you get to drive over a train bridge? As you drive over North Fork Feather River on the Pulga Bridge, you’ll see the train bridge below you.
  • The drive continues through three tunnels: Arch Rock, Grizzly Dome, and Elephant Butte.
  • Take a couple minutes to stop at two historical markers: Eby Stamp Mill and Rich Bar. The famous Shirley Letters were written at Rich Bar.
  • Indian Falls: The waterfalls may be small but they are lovely. Many people use this area as a swimming hole. Watch for signs for the parking lot along Highway 89.
Feather River Canyon
Crater Lake
Traveling from St. Bernard Lodge to Crater Lake National Park
  • Hat Creek Rim Overlook: Stop to have lunch while enjoying views of the Hat Creek Valley. There are picnic tables and vault toilets onsite.
  • Subway Cave: Go inside a lava tube. The trail is one-third of a mile long and completely dark so don’t forget a flashlight and sturdy shoes.
  • Allen Telescope Array at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory: The ATA is a joint effort between the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and SRI International. Stop here if you are interested in hearing sounds from outer space.
  • Burney Falls: Many claim that the 129-foot waterfall is the most beautiful in the state. It is located inside McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.
  • Lava Beds Caves: Make this stop to explore caves of varying difficulties. The least challenging require a flashlight, sturdy shoes, and head protection.
  • Lava Beds Petroglyphs and Pictographs: It can be difficult to truly determine the age of rock art but many of the petroglyphs may be 6,000+ years old. Explore the rock art housed within the traditional territory of the Modoc people.
  • Tule Lake National Monument: This is an opportunity to learn more about a Japanese-American internment camp.
  • Collier Logging Museum: See rare and antique logging equipment and learn about the role of the railroad in logging. The museum is part of Collier Memorial State Park.

Traveling north along I-5 from St. Bernard Lodge to Dunsmuir

  • Turtle Bay Exploration Park: The museum is especially great for young kids. See animals native to the Sacramento River, wander through a cave on a creaky boardwalk, and learn something new in the river lab. Don’t miss the Sundial Bridge. Access to the bridge, one of the world’s largest working sundials, is free.
  • Shasta Dam: Take a 428-foot elevator ride to the base of the dam to visit the inner galleries and powerhouse.
  • Lake Shasta Caverns: Hop on board a boat for a ride across the lake then venture underground to explore the caverns. The landmark also offers dinner cruises.
  • Castle Crags State Park: The park boasts 28 miles of hiking trails and a pedestrian suspension bridges that crosses the Sacramento River.
  • Hedge Creek Falls: Walk behind the 35-foot waterfall.
  • Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens: Stroll along walking trails through 10 acres of gardens. The native white dogwood is especially prolific in this park.
  • Dunsmuir: Visit the quaint town. We especially recommend making time to explore the old fashion hardware store.
Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Sundial Bridge
San Francisco

Traveling from St. Bernard Lodge to San Francisco

  • New Clairvaux Vineyard: This remarkable winery has been revitalized by Trappist-Cistercian Monks and fifth-generation California winemaker Aimée Sunseri. The tasting room is open daily, excluding holy days.
  • Jelly Belly Factory: Tour the factory or participate in a chocolate and wine experience.
  • Budweiser Brewery: 20 of the Anheuser-Busch beers are made in this brewery.
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