The farther you roam from metropolitan areas, the more relaxed the rules. Fall is a great time for a scenic-drive vacation, and it would be hard to find more options than in the Shasta Cascade region, which boasts 12 designated scenic byways, each with its own intrinsic qualities. The 500-mile Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, which winds through the least populated part of California, is one of just 21 routes nationwide designated an “All-American Road” by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
It starts at Lake Almanor, east of Redding in the southernmost reaches of the Cascades, and winds north to Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon. Geology and nature are the main attractions, with the white cone of 14,162-foot Mount Shasta showing through the windshield much of the way.
Another standout is the 344-mile Feather River Scenic Byway running through Sierra and Plumas counties, where the Plumas National Forest alone offers more than 1 million acres where dogs are allowed to accompany their uprights either on or off-leash. The many access points to public lands include trailheads for the 2,656-mile Pacific Crest Trail and paths within the sublime Lakes Basin Recreation Area, whose sawtooth peaks and turquoise lakes remind many visitors of Switzerland. The luxury Gray Eagle and Chalet View lodges offer quick access to fishing, golf, boating, hiking and other recreational pursuits, while more traditional lodgings like Herrington Sierra Pines in Sierra City and The Lure Resort in Downieville cater to fisherfolk and families.
The region’s other scenic byways are also deserving of a weekend. They include the Historic Highway 99, the Trinity Scenic Byway, the Trinity Heritage Scenic Byway, the Shasta Dam/Lake Scenic Byway, the Bigfoot Scenic Byway, the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway, the Barrel Springs Back Country Byway, the Smith River Scenic Byway, the Modoc Volcanic Scenic Byway and the Emigrant Trails Scenic Byway.