Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway
- DesignationAll-American Road (2002)
- Intrinsic QualitiesNatural, Recreation
- LocationCA, OR
- Length360 of 500 total miles
This byway is bookended by Lassen Volcanic National Park to the south and Crater Lake National Park to the north. 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 at California's Lassen Volcanic National Park 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 Collier Visitor 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 Anderson, CA), Discover Siskiyou ( https://discoversiskiyou.com/ based in Yreka, CA) and based in Klamath Falls is Discover Siskiyou ( https://discoverklamath.com/ ).
The California and Oregon Volcanic Legacy All-American Road corridor reaches the Oregon/California border via Highway 97, three miles north of the town of Dorris. From this point, you can choose to go east toward the Modoc section of the byway, or south on the Shasta section, continuing to the Lassen section.
From Highway 97, head east on Highway 161 for 20 miles, past the Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuge to Highway 139. From that junction, head southwest. You are at the beginning of the Modec Section. From the junction of Highways 161and 139, head south for 3.5 miles to Tulelake. Road becomes Main Street. Turn west at East-West Road for 4.4 miles to Hill Road. Head south for 18.9 miles, past the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Take Main Monument Park Road east for 8 miles to Lava Beds National Monument Visitor Center. This ends this leg of the byway.
From the California/Oregon border take Highway 97 through the Klamath National Forest, Butte Valley National Grasslands, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, and Mt Shasta Wilderness until the junction with I95. Continue south from Weed to Highway 89, taking it east then curving south to the Lassen National Forest.
Route takes two alternative routes, but they converge at the town of Chester. Continue on Highways 36/147 or 89/147 then taking Highway 147 to Highway 36 at Westwood and then Highway 44 to Old Station. This ends this leg.
Points of Interest
Lassen Volcanic National Park
This diverse park with Lassen Peak boasts 4 volcano types, hydrothermal areas & 150 miles of trails.
Medicine Lake (National Forest Byway) Highlands
The popular Medicine Lake Recreation Area and adjacent Medicine Lake are located in the Medicine Lake Highlands in northeastern California. The Recreation Area is located in the Modoc National Forest at an elevation of 6,770 feet.
Mount Shasta is an ice-topped volcano that draws outdoor adventurers and spiritual seekers. Various legends say it's home to a sacred spring, beings who have transcended the physical plane or a crystal city full of ancient foes of Atlantis.
Lava Beds National Monument
Desert wilderness park with volcanic features, 700+ caves, Native American rock art & campsites.
Crater Lake National Park
183,224-acre park containing America's deepest lake, striking geologic features & a historic lodge.
Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge
Established in 1908, this refuge for native waterfowl offers a 10-mile auto tour & photo blinds.
McCloud, CA's famous Mill Town downtown district
The entire downtown area of McCloud is a Nationally Registered Historic District, with seventeen buildings designated as landmarks from 1896 to 1963 when the McCloud River Railroad and Lumber Company operated the town.
The south end of the byway in Plumas County provides camping, fishing and hiking opportunities for the whole family
Man-made 430-acre lake with Mount Shasta scenery edged by a 7-mile trail, popular for water sports.
Provides a cool off at the waterfall and hiking opportunities on Hwy 89 just south of McCloud, CA.
Hat Creek Recreation Area
Near Susanville offers all types of recreation,
Fire and Water
A whole day can be spent at Lassen Volcanic National Park, 47
miles east of Redding. It is home to more than 100 miles of trails and one of
the largest plug dome volcanoes in the world, Lassen Peak. A plug dome is a
steep cone that forms when certain types of lava are thrust out of the ground.
Look for interestingly named features in the park such as Bumpass Hell and
Boiling Springs. The park also offers visitors opportunities for water sports
On the flip side of all that heat and sulfur is the Waterfalls
Region of the byway. Six falls are within a 98-mile stretch, though are more in
the region. Start with Hedge Creek Falls in Dunsmuir, easily accessed via a
trail and with a small cave behind it for a different view of the falls. Drive 22 miles to McCloud Falls, which features
three waterfalls. McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is the next stop,
just over 36 miles away. The 129-foot Burney Falls flow all year long, as it’s
fed by underground springs. In another 40 miles, the last stop is Potem Falls,
which sits in a deep canyon, offering an ideal swimming hole.
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