Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway – OR
- DesignationAll-American Road (2002)
- Intrinsic QualitiesNatural, Recreation
- LocationCA, OR
- Length140 of 500 total miles
The 500-mile Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway is a world-class drive through the geologic wonders of northeastern California and southern Oregon. It offers an unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts with a quest for learning and adventure. Almost every bend in the road will excite your senses, refresh your soul, and take your breath away.
Story of the Byway
The 500-mile Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway is in both California and Oregon and would take days to explore. The Byway is broken into several regions with enlarged maps, starting at the south end and traveling north to Crater Lake National Park. You can begin your journey anywhere along the Byway and visit as many sites as you have time. Just follow the byway signs on the highways. If you plan to fly and rent a car, Medford, Oregon, and Redding, California, are the closest commercial airports.
Most communities and counties have Chambers of Commerce or Visitor Bureaus to research your options for lodging and dining or to find community services. The California Welcome Center/Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association in Anderson, the California Welcome Center at Colliers' Rest stop north of Yreka on the Klamath River, the Oregon Welcome Center in Midland, and Discover Klamath in Klamath Falls, Oregon are the Byway's four major centers for visitor information about the byway region.
The Byway produced a beautiful full-color brochure that is available at the key tourism information centers along the Byway. In addition, three destination marketing organizations have websites and social media information to help guide you along the Byway and through the region. Their websites and contact information are listed throughout the guide in each region. From south to north here are their websites, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association ( https://www.shastacascade.com/ based in Redding, CA), Discover Siskiyou ( https://discoversiskiyou.com/ based in Yreka, CA) and based in Klamath Falls is Discover Siskiyou ( https://discoverklamath.com/ ).
Begin at Diamond Lake Junction and take OR 138 to Crater Lake National Park (road open June through October). Travel around the rim of Crater Lake before exiting the park at the south entrance and turn left on OR62. Continue west on Weed Road to Sevenmile Road, then West Side Road through the Wilema National Forest. West Side Road connects with OR 140, take it south to US 97 two miles south of downtown Klamath Falls. Head on US 97 to the California border.
Points of Interest
Mt. Lassen National Park
Southernmost active volcano in the Cascade range.
Medicine Lake (National Forest Byway) Highlands
Camping, swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking.
Potentially active volcano, located in California.
Lava Beds National Monument
Located in California, volcanic features, 700+ caves, and Native American rock art.
Crater Lake National Park
Park containing America's deepest lake.
Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge
In California, hs a 10-mile audio tour and wildlife viewing blinds.
McCloud, CA's famous Mill Town downtown district
South end of the byway in Lassen County, California provides camping, fishing and hiking opportunities for the whole family
Man-made lake in California created for recreational opportunites and Mt Shasta views.
Provides a cool off and hiking opportunities on Hwy 89 just south of McCloud, CA.
Hat Creek Recreation Area
Near Susanville at the south end of the byway offers, all types of recreation,
Road Trip Through Lassen Volcanic National Park
Before you start your drive, stop in at the Kohm Yah-Mah-Nee Visitor Center at the southern entrance of the park. Here you can get maps, snacks, see educational exhibits on the parks many features, and ask the rangers any questions you may have before seeing the rest of the park. First stop on your drive is Bumpass Hell - the largest of the park's hydrothermal areas. You'll find the trail head about six miles down the main park road after you leave the Visitor Center. From there, it's a 3-mile round trip hike to Bumpass Hell itself. On the trail you'll see stunning views of Lassen Peak, Lake Helen, Brokeoff Volcano, and of course, the otherworldly landscape and bubbling mud pots for which the trail is named! Not up for a hike? Check out Sulphur Works instead. These bubbling mud pots are right along the main park road, a mile away from the visitor center. A mile down the main road from Bumpass Hell you'll find the Lassen Peak trail head - for the more adventurous party this hike to the summit of the parks signature volcano offers stunning aerial views of the park. The hike can take anywhere from 3-5 hours round trip, so be sure to clear a large chunk of your schedule if you decide to make the climb. If you choose to pass by Lassen Peak, head down the main park road for five more miles to the Kings Creek trailhead. From here you can take the 2.3 miles round-trip hike to Kings Creek Falls, one of the parks most stunning waterfalls. Three miles down the main road from Kings Creek falls you'll find Summit Lake. This picturesque spot offers stunning views along with picnic areas, trails, and water recreation opportunities such as kayaking, standup paddleboarding, fishing, and swimming during the summer months. On-site rentals are not available. Once you've left Summit Lake, head three more miles down the main road to reach the Devastated Area Interpretive Trail. You'll find informational plaques all along the trail describing the creation of the devastated area and history of volcanic eruptions in Lassen. This trail is a paved loop, and is a great place to take families. It's also wheelchair accessible!
Klamath Basin: THE MODOC WAR: A HOMELAND LOST AUDIO TOUR
Stop One: The tour begins in front of the Klamath County Museum. Aside from being a centralized starting point, the County Museum also off¬ers displays of Indian artifacts and dioramas, taxidermy birds, relics from pioneer days and classic photographs of life a century-ago in Klamath County. The museum itself is housed in a former armory, built in 1932 featuring art deco elements. It was a popular venue for major musicians and groups in the 1940’s and 50’s. Stop Two: At this point you will see a thin section of the Lost River. This thin section of the river is now called Stukel Ford, in reference to butte behind it. But even during the Modoc times this was a natural ford. And it was just to the right, a few miles downriver from here, on November 29th, 1872, that an attempt was made to return Captain Jack and the Modocs to the Klamath Reservation for good. Stop Three: At the Merrill History and Modoc War Museum you can learn about how Merrill came to be and the pioneers that settled this quaint town. The museum has a special room dedicated to the Modoc War, and even an exhibit on Merrill's own Carl Barks, the creator of Scrooge McDuck and all of Duckburg's residents. Stop Four: Before this place became the Anderson Rose Dam, part of the Bureau of Reclamation with the Klamath irrigation project, this natural crossing was known as Stone Bridge because of the natural stepping-stones that once crossed it. The Modoc used the crossing all the time, and typically built their winter encampments close to it. Stop Five: The Malin Historical Society & Museum contains many artifacts and displays highlighting the history of the area, developed by Czechoslovakian transplants from the Midwest in the early 1900s. Also included are Native American artifacts, prehistoric artifacts (like a mastodon tusk), cultural artifacts highlighting Czechoslovakian culture and local history, containing pictures and relics of Malin’s past. Stop Six: The site of the old Brotherton ranch is where William Brotherton and two of his sons were living when they were murdered in the surrounding fields by Hooker Jim's gang, while the rest of the Brotherton family barricaded themselves inside for three whole days until Ivan Applegate arrived with help. Stop Seven: This dual stone monument references Captain Jack's Stronghold and Canby's Cross, and behind it, a white cross which marks the graves of two Warm Springs Indian Scouts that the army used in their a¬airs and battles with the Indians.
Stop Eight: This is what's known as Petroglyph Point - and, as you're about to see, one of the largest panels of Native American rock art in the United States. To the Modoc, Petroglyph Point was a sacred place where every mythological being supposedly once gathered. Positioned so close to the lava beds, it was like the Notre Dame Cathedral of the Modoc world. Stop Nine: At Hospital Rock, there's a short, easy path you can walk up to the top of the hill, and if you have a keen eye, or even some binoculars, you might even be able to make out a few of the c-shaped defensive structures left in the field, built from basalt stones by the Army. Stop Ten: This is the entrance to Captain Jack's Stronghold. It is both a significant and sacred place, and a place you should definitely take some time to explore. As you walk through the archeological site, there are a couple of things that might be interesting for you to look for. Once inside the Stronghold, look for the stacked rocks that helped guide the Modoc, and are some of the telltale remains of the war. They range from just a rock or two placed on an outcrop, to full walls and enclosures. The most obvious are c-shaped structures called picket posts that the US Army built after the second attack on the Stronghold when the Modoc eventually retreated. Also look for the big wall built by the Modoc around Captain Jack's cave - though some of it was destroyed by the army to make the nearby picket posts. Stop Eleven: Here stands a large White Cross. This place is now known as Canby's Cross - named for the white cross erected on a windy September day in 1882 to commemorate the spot where General Canby and Rev. Thomas were killed. Stop Twelve: History from the Tulelake Basin, including the communities of Tulelake, Malin and Merrill, can be found at the Tulelake Museum. Items from the region’s homesteading years, military veterans, Modoc Indian War and Tule Lake Internment Camp are featured. Hour-long videotape tours are off¬ered.
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