Grab your swimming suit, hiking boots, and fishing gear and head to the Lassen National Forest located adjacent to Lassen Volcanic Park. Bring your binoculars to go bird-watching and some old clothes to go caving when you visit this area near Susanville, California. This forest covering more than 1.2 million acres is also a great place to go stargazing. You can find many fun places to explore in the area, which is surrounded by California’s Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.
Start this hike at the junction of Highway 89 and Forest Service Road 27N52. This trail runs mainly through a mixed conifer forest. Enjoy stunning views of Lake Almanor, Dyer Mountain, and Lassen Peak. This trail is a fantastic place to go for a hike in the late winter as this when you commonly see eagles, ospreys, and goshawks.
Length: 10 miles
The Spattercone Trail is a great place to see the effects that hot lava flow leaves on the environment. In addition to spatter cones, see tumulus, collapsed lava tubes, and columnar jointing. Be sure to stay on the trail as some of these formations are incredibly delicate. This trail starts near Subway Cave.
Length: 1.5 miles
This trail starts along the river in Susanville, and it follows the old Fernley and Lassen Branch Line of the Southern Pacific Railroad line until it reaches Mason Station. The trail crosses the Susan River 12 times and passes through two railroad tunnels as it runs through the Susan River Canyon. This is a fabulous place to go hiking and see fall leaves. A shuttle is usually available to bring hikers back to the starting point.
Length: 25.4 miles
The Spencer Meadows National Recreation Trail begins along State Highway 36 near Mineral, and it ends at Kings Creek Picnic Area in Lassen Volcanic National Park. This wilderness trail runs through the dense forest in the Wild Cattle Mountain Wilderness. Watch as you hike to see if you can spot the critically endangered Sierra Nevada red fox as this is one of the few places on Earth that this animal lives.
Length: 8 miles
Eagle Lake Trail starts at Christie Campground and runs to Eagle Lake Marina. It is a great place to spot osprey, pelicans, and great blue heron. Especially around sunrise and sunset, it can also be a terrific place to see deer, antelope, coyotes, and many small game animals. Eagle Lake is the second-largest manmade lake in California.
Length: 5.2 miles
You will need to drive on gravel forest service roads to reach many of the best fishing lakes in Lassen National Forest. Anglers often find the best fishing around Chester. If you want to go lake fishing, consider Wilson, Blue, or Duck Lake. Shore fishing is usually great along the Bunchgrass and Rice Creeks.
Subway Cave is a unique place to go geocaching in Lassen National Forest during the warmer months. This cave was formed by a hot lava flow approximately 25,000 years ago, and there are many interpretative panels nearby to help you understand the process that created this cave. Nearby, there is a related Earth Cache, Cinder Cone, which officials believe formed around 1650 when a volcano erupted at this site. Take the opportunity to learn about the first pioneers who lived in this area and how the cone was formed.
The Ishi Wilderness, which was home to the Yahi Native Americans for centuries, is a great place to go nature watching. In the winter, it is home to the largest Tehama deer herd in California. Many birds, including hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls, use the red cliffs as nesting sites. You can often spot wild turkeys, quail, mourning doves, canyon wrens, and band-tailed pigeons when hiking in this area.
The dark skies above Lassen National Forest make it a great place to go stargazing, but you can often find special stargazing activities nearby at Lassen National Park. Rangers often lead hikes on nights with a full moon. The trailheads to Bumpass Hell, Lassen Peak Trail, and the Devastated Area are fantastic options for looking at the stars as well.
Address: California 44 West, Susanville, California 96130
Fee: Entry fee $0
Lassen National Forest is a unique place to go fishing, hiking, and caving. Next door is Lassen Volcano National Park. There are so many beautiful things to see in this area that you will want to bring your RV and stay as long as possible. RVshare.com is a great resource for when you need to select the right vehicle to meet your travel and camping needs.