Lake Almanor

Lake Almanor

Lake Almanor
Find tranquility at this under-the-radar reservoir near Lassen Volcanic National Park

Nestled in the northeastern corner of California, you’ll discover Shasta Cascade’s Lake Almanor, one of the Golden State’s best-kept secrets. The large man-made lake with 52 miles of coastline has something for everyone—including family-friendly activities and picture-perfect mountain vistas from practically every vantage point.

“The average reaction when people first come here is probably a little bit of awe,” says Todd Geer, owner of Plumas Pine Resort, about the remote reservoir, which is located three hours north of Sacramento. It was completed by Great Western Power in 1927 and named for the three daughters of a company executive: Alice, Martha, and Eleanor. 

Play a round of golf among towering pines, encounter black-tailed deer munching on breakfast during a sunrise hike, coast over the reservoir’s glassy waters on a kayak or boator soak in the sunset’s fiery aspen glow over Lassen Peak, an active volcano that measures 10,457 feet.

It’s this volcano, plus all of neighboring Lassen Volcanic National Park, that make the Lake Almanor region so unique.

“It’s a really interesting place geologically speaking,” says National Park Ranger Kevin Sweeney. “All four types of volcanoes found in the world are found here at Lassen. You’ll drive past these volcanic mud pots, these steaming vents without even having to leave your car.”

But you’ll sure want to leave your car to see the park in its full glory. Bubbling magma, steaming lakes, black lava beds, lava tubes almost one-third of a mile long—the incredible landscape is a result of a series of eruptions that began roughly 100 years ago, propelling a 12-mile-long mud flow through the surrounding areas and transforming the land into much of what it is today. There are more than 150 miles of hiking and biking trails with names like Devil’s Kitchen and Bumpass Hell. (The story goes that in 1864, explorer Kendall Bumpass lost his leg after stumbling into one of the trail’s boiling mud springs.)

Though an average annual snowfall of 55 feet makes much of Lassen inaccessible during the winter months, some trails are still open for snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and skiing.

It’s all the beauty of Yosemite National Park but with fewer people, given its under-the-radar status. In fact, only about 400,000 people visit Lassen each year, compared with Yosemite’s four million.

“What’s so fabulous about this place is it’s extra tranquil,” says Laurie Baker, general manager of Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association. It has, she adds, “a special calm.”

Shasta Cascade’s Lake Almanor
Shasta Cascade’s Lake Almanor
Located in the heart of northern California’s Shasta Cascade region, Lake Almanor offers classic lake bliss: water sports, family-friendly activities, and a tranquil ambience.
Kodiak Greenwood

Discover Shasta Cascade

80
August
Average (°F)
June - Aug
98°
High
61°
Low
Sept - Nov
90°
High
41°
Low
Dec - Feb
60°
High
36°
Low
Mar - May
80°
High
43°
Low

California’s northeast corner is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with safe-to-explore volcanoes, hushed forests, and trout-filled rivers. This is the place for blue-ribbon fishing, houseboats anchored in cool lakes, countless campgrounds, and inviting trails for hiking and mountain biking.

"When I first caught sight of it I was weary and 50 miles away and afoot. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.”  --Author John Muir, upon seeing Mount Shasta in 1874.

All this, plus friendly towns like Chico and Chester, and inviting rural farms in fertile lands near the Upper Sacramento River. Redding, the region’s largest city, makes a good base, with riverfront trails, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and elegant Sundial Bridge, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

Rachid Dahnoun

Whiskeytown Lake

Paddle, fish, or just relax atop Gold Rush history

Summer isn’t complete without a mountain-lake swim, so drive west from Redding and dip your toes in the warm, crystal-clear waters of...

Courtesy of Belcampo

Belcampo Meat Camp

Go glamping and grilling at this chef-worthy barbecue getaway

The hypnotic glow of the coals, the smoky aromas, the gratifying sizzle of dinner cooking over an open flame:...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Find whitewater rafting fun for all—from newbies to nerves-of-steel experts

Think of a river, and chances are you’ve got your own daydream. Maybe you want to float on inner tubes, or maybe your style is to careen through raucous rapids in an eight-person inflatable raft....

Groveb/Getty Images
Lassen Volcanic National Park is the only place on Earth where all four types of volcano can be seen.
Kodiak Greenwood

Trip 4- 6 days 10 stops

Volcanoes to the Sea

Booming Waterfalls, Craft Breweries
Sacramento

Begin your trip in the center of the state, home to the capital city of Sacramento. Like many cities, California’s state capital is undergoing an energetic renaissance. Young adults looking for an urban vibe are moving into this low-key city, with microbreweries, gastropubs, and trendy boutiques...

Eureka

After so much wildness for so much of your trip, Eureka is an inviting and lively switch. This once rough-and-tumble seaport town, the largest coastal city between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, has split-personality charm: a sense of history in the handsomely restored, Victorian-era Old...

Kodiak Greenwood

Burney Falls

Visit a booming cascade nicknamed the “eighth wonder of the world”

One of the most spectacular waterfalls in the state—if not the continent—this 129-foot-tall, fern-draped cascade seems to come out of nowhere....

Kodiak Greenwood

Shasta Lake

Rent a houseboat to explore the state’s largest reservoir

There’s plenty of room to move on this 30,000-acre/12,140-hectare reservoir, the largest in California. A typical summer day finds the crystal...

Shasta Dam contains enough concrete to build a 3-foot sidewalk around the world at the equator.
Kodiak Greenwood

Sundial Bridge

Stroll a futuristic bridge across the Sacramento River

A functional work of art, the remarkable bridge, designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, spans the tree-lined, trout-filled...

Redding's Sundial Bridge is the largest sundial in the world.
Kodiak Greenwood

Tehama Trail Farms & Ranches

Visit farms and farm stands along the Sacramento River

Established by local farmers, the Tehama Trail meanders through rural communities, linking together nearly two dozen vineyards, orchards, and...

Kodiak Greenwood

Mount Shasta

Experience wildflower meadows, year-round snowfields, and a New-Age-y vibe

Soaring to 14,179 feet/4,322 meters high, this magnificent volcano scrapes the turquoise-blue sky, north of Redding, a totem from almost anywhere...

Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Fly Fishing

Cast a fly in blue-ribbon waters

Between the volcanic summits of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen flow some of California’s most celebrated fly fishing rivers. Blue-ribbon waters lace...

Shasta Cascade's Craft Breweries
Kodiak Greenwood

Shasta Cascade's Craft Breweries

Hoist a mug to the Californian brewers who redefined the art of ale

Northern California was the wellspring of the craft beer movement, which can be loosely traced from Anchor Brewing in San Francisco to Sierra...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for kid-friendly fun zones that...

John/Flickr
Going to the mountains is going home.
John Muir
SPECIAL FEATURE
Annual festivals liven up this quiet corner of California

The Shasta Cascade region is a year-round playground for outdoor enthusiasts and local events celebrate its natural bounty, from crawdads to wild rice. An annual Tribute to the Trees at Dunsmuir...

Kodiak Greenwood
Oroville Temple

Oroville

Find a Far East gem in this Gold Rush era town

Located on the banks of the Feather River where it flows out of the Sierra Nevada into the Central Valley flatlands, this Gold Rush town...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Kids get an inside look at wildlife, space, and more

From cool ways for your kids to learn about wildlife, to an insider’s look at a space station, to a chance to walk through a rain forest or learn about the night sky, there’s a bumper...

Peter Alfred Hess/Flickr
Cyril Fluck/Flickr

Lava Beds National Monument

Descend into eerie and historic lava tube caves

A surreal landscape sculpted by molten earth, Lava Beds National Monument contains volcanic tablelands punctuated by cinder cones, pit craters,...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Lava, geysers & naturally heated hot springs

From the snow-capped heights of Mount Shasta in California’s far north to Amboy Crater in the Mojave Desert, signs of California’s volcanic past—and present—dot the landscape. Explore these...

Grant Montgomery/Flickr
Lava Beds National Monument was a training ground for astronauts heading to the moon.