Engaging Journeys, Engaged Journalism

Beyond Lassen: Other Spectacular Road Trips

Far Northern California isn’t as remote as it used to be, but the region still offers some of the state’s most memorable weekend drives. Once satisfied with explorations of Lassen Park and surrounding communities, consider pointing your Prius up the road toward more spectacular scenery. The Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, recently declared an All-American Roadway, is one such route—a 360-mile stretch of Shasta-Cascade landscapes. (There are only 28 All-American Roadways in the nation, and only one other—the Big Sur Coast Highway—in California.) Anchoring the byway at the southern end is a multi-highway loop circling Lassen Volcanic National Park. Zig northwest along Hwy. 89 from Lassen, roll by miles-high Mt. Shasta on I-5, then zag northeast on Hwy. 97 toward Klamath Falls; at the Oregon border, the route connects with the 140-mile route celebrating Crater Lake’s scenery.

Northern California boasts many other scenic byways, however, and serious visitors can at least sample them all. Most make good use of two-lane paved highways, like Lassen National Forest’s Lassen Scenic Byway (foundation loop of the volcanic legacy route) and the Hwy. 299 Trinity River Scenic Byway stretching from Redding to Arcata, south of the Trinity Alps, and traversing both Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. If you’re heading south from the Lassen area the stunning Feather River Scenic Byway follows Hwy. 70 from the North Fork of the Feather River’s deep canyons up into the Sierra’s Plumas National Forest, passing through Portola on the way to Hallelujah Junction at Hwy. 395. (You can also take the route west, down the Feather River Canyon to the valley.) More remote options, like Modoc National Forest’s Modoc Volcanic Scenic Byway to Medicine Lake and the Surprise Valley Barrel Springs Back Country Byway, make good use of unpaved roads.


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