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Adventure Cycling Crater Lake to Lassen Volcanic National Park to Truckee

Biking Route
Adventure Cycling has bicycle travel for everyone in the Sierra Nevada. – Manny Acosta

The Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route runs roughly parallel to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail along the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.

Section three from Crater Lake National Park to Truckee, California has you leaving the spectacular scenery of Crater Lake, then across the border into California toward towering Mt. Shasta in the distance. You'll have to ride on the shoulders of I-5 for 8.4 miles, since there are no other roads to use. Then, you'll bike through the remains of volcanic history in Lassen Volcanic National Park and end near the California/Nevada state line in Truckee.

You’ll encounter Mount Shasta, whose tremendous elevation—14,179 feet, making it the runner-up mountain for loftiness in the Cascade chain, second only to Mount Rainier—is magnified by the fact that it towers nearly 10,000 above the terrain surrounding it. “Lonely as God, and white as a winter moon, Mount Shasta starts up sudden and solitary from the heart of the great black forests of Northern California,” wrote poet Joaquin Miller of the giant peak in his 1873 book, Life Amongst the Modocs.

Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to the southernmost in the chain of active stratovolcanoes collectively known as the High Cascades, which stretch from here to British Columbia. Between 1914 and 1917, a series of eruptions rocked Mount Lassen, including a May 22, 1915 explosion that resulted in nearby devastation and in ash settling as far away as 200 miles to the east. Interestingly, that eruption took place just four days short of occurring exactly 65 years before the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens—interesting because this series of eruptions was the last to occur in the Cascades until Mount St. Helens blew its top. Originally two separate parks, Cinder Cone National Monument and Lassen Peak National Monument (both established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907), they were combined into Lassen Volcanic National Park in 1916. You’ll long remember your 29-mile ride through the heart of the park on Main Park Road, built just a decade after the Mount Lassen eruptions.

The road tops out near the park’s namesake peak at an elevation of 8,512 feet, making it the highest paved roadway in the entire Cascade Range. It accesses miles of hiking trails, several mountain lakes, and active hydrothermal features reminiscent of Yellowstone National Park’s, including fumaroles, mud pots, and pools of boiling water. The largest concentration of such features, wearing the poetic name of Bumpass Hell, is found along Main Park Road opposite Lake Helen, in whose shimmering waters you can see framed an unforgettable reflection of barren but beautiful Lassen Peak.

The route stays on the eastern side of the Cascade Range but still expect rolling terrain. The entire route is on paved roads.

Route Directions

Adventure Cycling's route maps are researched and designed specifically for cyclists. Printed on waterproof and tear-proof paper, the maps feature turn-by-turn directions, service listings, field notes, and fit into a handlebar bag and are available for purchase at:

Route Length

455.6 miles


Route Difficulty

Challenging - Route includes Difficult Sections Best Suited for Skilled Riders

Nearby Places