Northern California April 30, 2019
Everyone In Northern California Should Take This Underappreciated Scenic Drive
There’s never a bad time to hop onto one of Northern California’s highways and set off on a grand adventure. After all, our region of the state is loaded with all sorts of scenic drives that showcase some of the most amazing scenery, natural attractions, and communities NorCal has to offer. The highway featured here does just that. Spanning two states and comprised of 500 miles, this is an epic journey that every Northern Californian should take advantage of. We’ll just be covering the California section of the scenic byway in this article, although you’re certainly welcome to traverse the entire thing! Check it out:
If there's one scenic drive that should be on every Northern Californian's bucket list, it's the epic and outstanding Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway.
This 500-mile journey runs north to south, taking travelers all the way from Oregon's Crater Lake National Park to California's Lake Almanor. However, we're going to focus on just the California portion in this article.
The California section of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway starts just south of the California-Oregon border at a little town called Dorris. As you travel away from the town, you'll be led through an extraordinary area of wetlands and marshes known as the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Right away, you'll find yourself in the harsh landscape of Lava Beds National Monument. Lying on the northeastern portion of Medicine Lake Volcano and containing the largest total area covered by a volcano, you'll quickly realize how the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway got its name.
The byway continues south on US 97, leading you around one of Northern California's greatest wonders—Mount Shasta. Considered the second tallest volcano in the country, the sight of Mount Shasta never fails to leave us in total awe of its beauty.
The byway then leads you straight through the funky little town of Weed. You could easily spend an entire day exploring all of the treasures surrounding this quaint community, such as Pluto's Cave to the north or the nearby Castle Crags State Park.
At this point, the byway briefly joins Interstate 5 before veering east onto Route 89. This stretch of the highway contains a plethora of stunning landscapes, such as the one-and-only McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.
As you approach the final stretch of the byway, you'll circle the awe-inspiring Lassen Peak while making a loop from Route 44 onto Route 36.
If you'd like, you can make a little bypass along Route 147 and Route 89 which takes you around the majestic Lake Almanor and through the town of Chester.
All in all, the California section of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway takes you on an adventure through some of our state's most iconic and incredible landscapes. The possibilities are truly endless along this route and you'll want to explore each and every one of them.
Learn more about the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway at the official website
Are you ready to set off on this grand scenic drive? It’s crazy how many attractions and sights this highway contains! For more epic adventures, check out our list of
The 10 Best Backroads In Northern California For A Long Scenic Drive.