Lassen County
Visitor Guide
Maps

A Cascade Sunday Drive

4 Days / 3 Nights

Ever wanted to travel to an area where nearly every road is a scenic byway and those that aren’t could be?  Far northern California in the Shasta Cascade area is a scenic road junkie’s dream. The Yuba Donner Scenic Byway, route of the ill-fated Donner party into California leads into the Feather River Scenic Byway.  The Volcanic Legacy National Scenic Byway takes you through Lassen Volcanic National Park and ultimately scenic roads take you over to the California coast and back.  Few areas in America have this wealth of scenic roads.  

In between your wonderful meandering drives, you can explore authentic small towns, many of which haven't changed dramatically in 150 years.  Enjoy the hospitality and slower pace of these places.  Selected museums and historic sites reveal the region’s unique story.  Natural areas, National Park Service affiliates and wildlife refuge areas feature spectacular glimpses of nature year round.  No less than three Ring of Fire volcanoes have dramatic impact on the landscape.  Looming majestically overhead, the mountains illustrate the profound power of nature.  

Tie all of those wonderful experiences together with visits to local craft breweries, local cuisine, and shops filled with products produced locally and you get a wonderful sense that is sure to make you glad you took time to drive through Shasta Cascade.  Enjoy this completely unique experience.  

Day One

As you begin your trip, San Francisco opens her Golden Gates to beckon you to “lose your heart.”  The city’s reputation as a fun-loving rollicking place is well deserved, dating back to the Gold Rush era when jumping saloons were filled with prospectors with stories to tell.  The city has held out a welcome hand to all and today magically blends a myriad of cultures, ethnic groups, and lifestyles. Mountains and coastlines add a beautiful natural backdrop to this very colorful place.  To enjoy the natural beauty, plan to get out to experience San Francisco during free time; walk on the beach and ride a cable car to the top of Nob Hill where incredible views await.  

We will assist you to familiarize yourself with San Francisco on the Barbary Coast Trail, a 3.8 mile route following bronze medallions set in the sidewalks that connect 20 of the city’s most important locations. Marvel at a collection of historic ships, the first Asian temple in America, the birthplace of the Gold Rush and more.  Follow that with a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can have incredible views of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and the cityscape along with your seafood. Nearby Ghirardelli Square transformed a 19th century chocolate factory into a fabulous marketplace of restaurants featuring new one-of-a-kind shops and culinary experts from around the world.  The tour will also take you past San Francisco’s famous “Painted Ladies;” blocks and blocks of Victorian homes that survived the fire of 1906.  

And of course, no visit to San Francisco is complete without a stop in Chinatown. Enjoy authentic Chinese food and revel in the excitement of this electric part of the city.  

Day Two

Get an early start exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park this morning, where another Ring of Fire volcano awaits!  The main park road offers a variety of scenic vistas and access to hiking trails.  Lake Helen at the base of Lassen Peak lays at such a high elevation that snow and ice often last into mid-summer.  Traversing the entire park, you will encounter ecosystems similar to Yellowstone National Park, including alpine meadows and thermal vents.  The Bumpass Hell Trail is the most accessible way to experience the largest hydrothermal area, which scientists believe are getting hotter. The cinder cone area with Fairfield Peak, Hat Mountain, and Crater Butte is forested with pine and fir. Warner Valley, featuring hot spring areas--Boiling Springs Lake, Devils Kitchen, and Terminal Geyser boasts a forested, steep with a gorgeous large meadow.

You’ll have the opportunity to stop at the Subway Cave, Burney Falls, McCloud and Castle Crags State Park on your way to Mt. Shasta, a magnificent mountain that juts an imposing 14,179 feet above sea level.  Famed naturalist, John Muir responded “When I first caught sight of Mount Shasta over the braided folds of the Sacramento Valley, my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.”  

Day Three

You’ll have an all “Shasta” day today, exploring Lake Shasta Caverns, the Shasta Dam and Shasta State Historic Park.  The entire Lake Shasta Caverns experience is an adventure.  To reach the caverns, you’ll be boarding a catamaran for a scenic cruise across the lake and from there, a bus to the cavern entrance.  Once inside, you will marvel at the massive limestone caverns, the largest in California.  Stalactites and stalagmites connecting roof and floor are reflected in sparkling pools.  Follow your guide on the well-lit path while listening to an information filled tour about the geology and ecology of the caverns.

Traveling along the Shasta Lake Scenic Byway will take you to the tour through Shasta Dam, which holds back the largest reservoir of water in California, is fascinating.  After a tour of the visitors center to learn the basic story of the dam, you’ll be taking a 428 foot elevator ride to the base of the dam to visit the dam’s powerhouse, inner galleries and more.  

After some lunch in Redding, it’s time to get back to land! Lusty Shasta City, the “Queen City” of California’s mining district still standing in Shasta State Historic Park.  Once the center of the California Gold Rush, the buildings that stand empty and quiet are all silent but eloquent vestiges of the intense activity that was centered here during that time.  The County Courthouse has been restored to its 1861 appearance and filled with historical exhibits and an unparalleled collection of historic California artwork.  

Day Four

The only way to see California Wine Country is on the Wine Train, which runs up and down the valley.  Departing at 10:30 AM, you’ll be touring the Raymond Family Vineyards where your adventure begins at Raymond’s Theater of Nature.  You will explore wines, vineyards, and winemaking practices that highlight their commitment to organic and biodynamic farming practices and sample Raymond’s wine as you are guided through a comprehensive tour. A gourmet lunch is served on the train as you are delivered back to your starting point.  

As you depart today, we are confident that you have had a great week-long Sunday Drive in Shasta Cascade.  We wish you a safe and pleasant journey home.  


Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association
1699 HWY 273, Anderson, CA 96007 | (P) 530-365-7500 | (F) 530-365-1258
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