Lassen County
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Visitor Guide

A Natural Adventure in the Ring of Fire

8 Days / 7 Nights

Grab a group of friends, plan a completely unique outdoor adventure, and get on the road to the Shasta Cascade region.  When you reach the region, we’ll take it from there!  You don’t have to worry about where to go, how to get there or how to have the coolest experience possible.  We’ve got it covered.   

After you tear yourself away from San Francisco, you’ll be headed for Lake Tahoe, where a violent volcanic eruption created what is possibly the most scenic drive in America.  The water is so clear you can see objects 75 feet below the surface.  We’ve arranged for a guided hike to some of the most dramatic locations.  From there, it’s off to Lassen Volcanic National Park, one of the Shasta Cascade region’s three Ring of Fire volcanoes, where a guided tour will take you through the park’s best natural features and hydrothermal area, all the while explaining what you are seeing.  It’s underground from there, into the caves at Lava Beds National Monument and up again, to the heights of Mt. Shasta.  You’ll be coming back down to earth at Shasta Lake, where you’ll be staying in nearby Redding and — of course — returning home with memories and stories galore!

We provide complete and explicit directions to get from place to place when you are not with a guide and highly qualified guides in the places where you want to be completely engaged.  

Day One

As you begin your trip, San Francisco opens her Golden Gates to beckon you to “lose your heart.” Prepare to experience a wealth of vibrant sights and sounds found nowhere else.  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 along 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

Visiting Sacramento introduces you to California’s Old West.  John Sutter, famous for setting off the California Gold Rush, did not even know there was gold in the area when he settled in 1839. When gold was discovered in 1848, Sutter’s Embarcadero quickly became the City of Sacramento, off and running as the outfitter for prospectors and other Gold Rush types.  Over 50 historic buildings in Old Town Sacramento, now populated with galleries, restaurants, boutiques and shops, transport you back to this fast moving time. Artifacts at Sutter’s Fort reveal more early settlement details.  

Hop aboard a virtual bus at the California Museum to learn more of the story of California from emigrants telling their stories to a ghost writer who recounts his family’s experience in early California to the present day.  Nearby, the California State Railroad Museum is probably the best railroad museum in the country.  Over 20 meticulously restored locomotives and cars complemented by exhibits illustrate how railroads shaped peoples lives and the unique culture of California and the West.

To get even more up close and personal with Sacramento, we’ve arranged for you to taste your way through two historic neighborhoods with Local Roots on a 3-hour Origins of Sacramento Walking Food and Cultural Tour.  Experience Sacramento’s amazing authentic foods hailing from as far away as Spain, Czechoslovakia, Turkey and China.

Day Three

Imagine the natural forces that created awe-inspiring Lake Tahoe when erupting ancient Mount Pluto closed the north end of a deep caldera with hot lava.  Uplifting earthquakes pushed the surrounding mountain peaks past 10,000 feet.  For centuries before the first American explorers set foot on Lake Tahoe, it was a summer gathering place for several tribes of peaceful Washo Indians, who considered it a sacred and spiritual place.  Not long after Kit Carson explored the area, silver was discovered in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Fortune seekers and would-be miners rushed to the area.  By the turn of the century, luxury hotels catered to San Francisco’s elite, who also built summer homes and “cottages” around the lake, some of which still exist.  The 1960 Winter Olympics firmly established Lake Tahoe as the skiing center of the western United States.  Remarkably, the beauty of the lake and the authentic charm of the area have prevailed utilizing ancient Washo wisdom to promote environmentally responsible development.

To deliver the best experience possible at Lake Tahoe, we’ve arranged for you to join Tahoe Adventure Company — inspiring High Sierra adventures — with a naturalist guide to experience the beauty of Lake Tahoe that can only be accessed on foot.  Hike past waterfalls and streams and ultimately to amazing vistas of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding wilderness.  

After a very pleasant drive on the Lake Tahoe Scenic Byway, you can retire to accommodations to relax for the evening, before you’re off on your next adventure tom

Day Four

You’ll be getting an early start this morning exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park.  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.  At 10 AM, you can join a Park Ranger on a guided hike to the highest waterfall in the park and discover the beauty of Sulphur Creek Trail on the one mile return.  

Later in the day, we’ve arranged for Shasta Vortex to guide you on the Bumpass Hell Trail, the most accessible way to experience the largest hydrothermal area. Some of the nearby thermal features including Sulphur Works, Little Hot Springs Valley, Boiling Springs Lake, Devils Kitchen, and Terminal Geyser, with bubbling mud pots, steaming fumaroles, and boiling water are getting hotter, as Lassen joins Mount Saint Helens as an active volcano.  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.

Experience 100 years of hospitality traditions this evening at Drakesbad Ranch (when available).  

Day Five

This morning on your way to Medicine Lake and Lava Beds National Monument, a short side trip will take you to Burney Falls, which President Teddy Roosevelt once described as the “eighth wonder of the world.” Great views of the falls are accessible right from the parking lot, while a short easy hike takes you to the base.  A 1.3 mile trail circles the falls.  

The highlights of Lava Beds Monument are mostly underground.  As lava cools, exposed to the outside air, a crust forms over the top, leaving the lava underneath still molten.  As the liquid lava flows out, caves form and a roof collapse at some point provides an opening.  Nearly 20 caves along Cave Loop Road are open for touring.  Be sure to explore Merrill Cave which was once part of a resort operation here.  Formerly an ice cave, the ice has gradually receded, leaving behind a colorful cave.  

In summer, guided tours of Fern Cave are available, particularly unusual because there are ferns growing in it that do not occur anywhere else except in the California coastal redwoods 100 miles away.  The cave also contains Native American pictographs from the Modoc tribe.  In winter, tours are available of the Crystal Ice Cave, where the stalactites and stalagmites are ice instead of mineral deposits and the waterfall is frozen in space.  

Accommodations at Mt. Shasta this evening will have you well positioned to scale the mountain tomorrow.  

Day Six

In Mt. Shasta, Everitt Memorial Highway takes you to the Mt. Shasta summit from the middle of town.  At the Everitt Vista Point, savor the panoramic views of Eddys and the Marble Mountains. At 8,000 feet, you can walk through the Red Fir Forest and feed blue birds so tame that they will eat from your hand.  From there, you will be above the tree line.  The air is thin at these elevations, so take care while making your way to the top.

Today you’ll be joining Shasta Mountain Guides for a hike on magnificent Mt. Shasta.  The hike you take will be determined by the season and the needs of your group.  

After completing the hike, you’ll be headed for Shasta Lake and Redding.  

Day Seven

You’ll have an all “Shasta” day today, exploring Lake Shasta Caverns, 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, the massive limestone caverns are 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. Still at Shasta Lake, 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.  

Plan to spend the afternoon at Turtle Bay Exploration Park for a great introduction to the Redding area.  Turtle Bay Museum, featuring the natural environment, historic recreations and art — all richly layered in interpretive material — is the heart of the Turtle Bay Experience.  The

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