My visiting friend Carrie is a National Parks aficionado. She has her park checklist, park passport to collect stamps, and love of the outdoors. She is very travel goal-oriented! All this to say, her trip objectives included a trip to Lassen National Park. It was an ambitious road trip but 1. we did it and 2. we had a great time!
I took two days off of work and after our A’s adventure the night before, we headed North on Thursday. We took the Tesla which, honestly, caused range anxiety on this trip. And what do you do when anxiety hits? Drink!
JK, we had planned our first stop which was a Schramsberg tour. Napa is crazy expensive, but the Schramsberg cave tour is pretty spectacular. They have one of the oldest caves in Napa and its full of sparkling wine. The cave has pick-ax marks on the walls from the workers, who had been hired after the completion of the transcontinental railroad. They went from building tunnels to wine caves! There is a ton of lichen draping down from the walls and it is really atmospheric. Each guide has their own spin on the tour and all three that I’ve seen have been really good. I still like the one from the second visit the best because of her focus on the story of Veuve Clicquot (the woman behind the brand!).
The absolute win of the day is that Carrie discovered Schramsberg has a 30% discount in its store! I was too shy to ask but now that I know…
After Schramsberg, we headed up to Shingletown, CA where we had an Air BnB. It was a cute cabin in the woods. I would definitely recommend. We settled in, made a cheeseboard, and went to bed on the early side since the next day held…more driving!
Lassen has a road that cuts through the park, but it’s covered in snow for half of the year. When we visited in early May, the snow pack was still 46 inches thick. It was even snowing on the 5th of May. I was super excited and asked the ranger what he thought. “I’m kind of over it,” was his reply.
Carrie wanted to go to the two main ranger stations in the park so we first went to southwest entrance to the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Ranger Station. After looking at the exhibits, we snowshoed up the road to Sulphur Works. There were active hydrothermal pools that were bubbling and a muddy brown. Not as beautiful as Yellowstone but neat to see, especially in contrast with the falling snow!
The snowshoing back to the car was an easy downhill. We peeled off some layers and hopped in. As you can see from the map above, there’s a snow/not snow way through the park. Due to the snowpack, we had to drive all the way around in a huge C. We got to Summit Lake and walked around. Mt Lassen was in the clouds, but the walk around the lake was cool. We didn’t use our snowshoes since half of the hike was exposed trail. There was some thick pack in the shade. Once, my leg broke through and I realized I was standing on a bush.
After our hike, we drove back to Shingletown. We stopped at a KOA Campground to charge, which was pretty slow. Our AirBnB had said no charging but that night, I wrote and asked for permission. The owner said yes after we discussed kWh. So, that made the next day a little better. Honestly, with an electric car, I should have sorted that out from the start because charging was needed somewhere and the little chargers are so slow and added a lot of time in the car.
The next day, we hopped in the car and had several stops on our road trip. We went to Medlock Ames and had a great tour and tasting at the winery. After that, we drove out to Pt. Reyes, which was so beautiful. Finally, we went to Mt. Tam and hiked into Muir Woods but had to cut it short since it was getting dark.
It was an awesome trip. I had really wanted to see Mt. Lassen, so I’m glad I was finally able to. The driving time wasn’t that bad, but the charging stops were slightly draining (haha) on our time. If I had the option next time, I’d take an ICE or have a really solid overnight charging plan.