What should I see on my roadtrip?
October 11, 2011 10:43 AM   Subscribe

What should I stop and see while traveling between Ashland and Las Vegas via I-5, Hwy 89, Hwy 44, Susanville, CA and Reno, NV?

Starting a road trip today! First stop is Ashland, OR, leaving there probably Wednesday and continuing on to Phoenix, AZ. The route once I get off I-5 at Mt. Shasta is a new one to me. I have never been east of I-5 in northern California, nor to Reno, where I will most likely stay for a night or two.

Traveling on through Las Vegas, I have driven the portion from Vegas to Phoenix many times before, so mainly I'm asking for cool diversions, roadside attractions, things to take pics of I might otherwise miss, bars/restaurants, anything and everything.

Time I have plenty of, budget not so much, so price is unfortunately a factor.

Thanks in advance, I need to finish packing!
posted by efalk to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total)
On Hwy 89 between Shasta and Susanville is Burney Falls. There's also Mount Lassen.

Between Susanville and Reno there's a tree covered in shoes...

Oh man, no there's not. Some jerkface cut it down.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:54 AM on October 11, 2011

Aww, the shoe tree sounded great, answers like this are exactly what I was looking for.
posted by efalk at 11:00 AM on October 11, 2011

A few hours from I-5 in Northern California, but you might consider Hearst Castle and one of two national parks next to each other: Kings Canyon and Sequoia. They both have giant sequoias, including the General Sherman tree, which is supposed to be the world's largest tree.
posted by maurreen at 11:17 AM on October 11, 2011

The little City of Shasta minutes off the I-5 in the Siskyou Mtn. pass is kind of charming and quaint, and a hubbub of counter cultural, metaphysical stuff.
posted by zagyzebra at 11:24 AM on October 11, 2011

You wouldn't have passed the shoe tree anyway: it was way out east on Highway 50, past Fallon, at least a hundred miles out of your way.

You might enjoy this back-road route from Susanville to Reno via Pyramid Lake. After you leave Susanville, when you get to the junction with 395 in Johnstonville, take 395 north( it actually heads east) instead of 395 south (it actually goes south-east). Then turn off 395 onto Wendel Road, which will take you around the north-east side of Honey Lake. You'll cruise along through the desert past a whole lot of nothing; there are some salt flats, an old lakebed. Eventually the road ends at an intersection with Highway 445; turn right to go southeast, and after a few miles you will find yourself following the west shore of Pyramid Lake. It's a really beautiful, wild, lonely, faraway, interesting place, with strange rock formations all along the shore. You can stop in the little townlet of Sutcliffe which has minimal services and beach access. Shortly after Sutcliffe, Hwy 445 splits off to the right (southward) and continues straight on to Reno.

It's a slower, lonelier trip than 395, but it's beautiful and it's classic Nevada.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:54 AM on October 11, 2011

Here's Google maps for this route as far as Vegas.

I've driven that Highway 89 / Highway 44 route from Lassen National Park to Reno. It's an interesting drive. Not a whole lot to do, really. Susanville is kind of a real town. Not quite on your route, but Chester's sort of nice; the lake has a lot of recreation. Reno's a real town, although pretty sad in the current economic downturn. The Silver Dollar and its steakhouse are a good bet for a downtown casino overnight, or else the Peppermill. Virginia City is a big tourist town, sort of old timey west theme park, but also a functioning town. Carson City is sort of pleasant, but probably not worth the detour.

if you have a half day or more, Lassen Park is absolutely beautiful. Call before you go; it's not open because of snow most of the year.
posted by Nelson at 12:05 PM on October 11, 2011

@Elsieheel, there are two shoe trees in this area. The link you have points to the one on 50 which is different from the shoe tree on 395 near Hallelujah Junction. I haven't been to that shoe tree in a while, but I think it's still there.

Very close to that shoe tree near Hallelujah Junction is Peterson (sometimes known as Crystal) Mountain. If your car can handle a bit of off-roading, there are trails that lead you to foothills where beautiful crystals and amethyst can be found just by poking around. DO NOT go into marked mining / private properties - there are some cranky old guys up there that don't like you messing around on their land. Pack a cooler for lunch and it's a pleasant way to kill an afternoon.

I live in Lake Tahoe, about 30-45 mins. from Reno, and it's spectacular. Emerald Bay is one of the most photographed spots in the world.
posted by HeyAllie at 12:26 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh good! I just googled "shoe tree reno", found that story, and was so distraught that I didn't read the details.

Tahoe-wise I prefer North Shore and the Nevada side better than Emerald Bay. But I really like rocks, so the round granite boulders that sit in the water are the prettiest things I've ever seen.

Chester IS pretty cute, but probably not worth the detour. Susanville is a place to fuel up and hit the Walmart, but that's about it.

For a bit of shabby, Wild West tourism, there's Virginia City, NV.

If you're doing 395 from Reno-Vegas, you should probably stop by Mono Lake.

And Hearst Castle isn't anywhere near your route.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:48 PM on October 11, 2011

Oh yeah, another good place to stop on 395: Bodie, the best preserved ghost town I've ever seen. It's quite a sight, lots of buildings, cars, all of it pretty much left the way things were when the place was abandoned.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:59 PM on October 11, 2011

If you do take 395 from Reno-Vegas, I suggest stopping by Little Lakes Valley for a hike and some pie. The hike can range from a short half-mile or so to several miles. Beautiful country.
posted by elmay at 1:16 PM on October 11, 2011

A few hours from I-5 in Northern California, but you might consider Hearst Castle and one of two national parks next to each other: Kings Canyon and Sequoia.

Hearst Castle is, like, 8 hours out of the way. Kings Canyon and Sequoia are closer as the crow flies, but you can't really get there from 395.

In Redding, the Turtle Bay Museum is very nice, for a smaller city's museum.

Lassen National Park is awesome. The campground is set to close soon, but if you're able to stop there and spend a night in one of their cabins, you absolutely should. They're at the Manzanita Lake campground, just inside the north entrance to the park. You can then drive down to the southern entrance of the park -- a glorious 30 mile drive -- and continue on to Chester, then to Susanville. If you go that route and would like a short hike, Bumpass Hell is the one to do.

395 out of Reno is absolutely a gorgeous drive, and the aspens are probably starting to change color. It's much more interesting than taking 50.

Bodie is 100% worth your time; you'll never visit another place like it. Ditto Mono Lake. Just south of Mono Lake, in Lee Vining, there's a restaurant in a gas station that gets rave reviews -- the Whoa Nellie Deli.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:26 PM on October 11, 2011

Grew up near Redding, CA (I-5) and spent three summers working in Bridgeport, CA (395 south of Reno, near the previously mentioned Bodie). So your question has made me all nostalgic.

Ten miles before you get to Redding, drive through the town of Shasta Lake City and visit Shasta Dam. You used to be able to drive across it, but 9/11 changed everything. The tour is fun and free.

About ten miles before you get to Lake Shasta City, turn off for Lake Shasta Caverns. I've never been, but pals of mine worked as tour guides there. They always pestered me to go, but I was too cool for tours and shit.

My usual route to Reno/Bridgeport was via Highway 299 and Susanville, and frankly, it's a long hard slog, although, as noted, once you're east of Susanville, you get a good sense of what Nevada's like. Your 44 and 89 route (I've never taken it) is bound to be less dull, scenery wise, but it's a good thing you have plenty of time.

After Tahoe and on to the Eastern Sierras: stunning. The drive down 395 all the way to Bishop -- that would be my favorite part of the trip. I've mentioned it before. There's Bodie, of course, and Mono Lake ("Moe-Noe" to the locals and not "Maa-Noe"), then June Lake and Mammoth. All the way down by Bishop you can divert to the White Mountains and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

Weather is going to become an issue pretty soon for parts of this trip. You can keep tabs on road conditions in the mountains, here.
posted by notyou at 4:48 PM on October 11, 2011

There's a good fudge shop in Susanville, on the right side of 395 before you hit the Walmart. Google is failing me, however - I hope it's still there. I think it's near the Forest Service office.

Mt. Shasta is a funny little place, and if you need a beer The Goat Tavern is the funny little place to get one.
posted by drwelby at 9:30 PM on October 11, 2011

Thanks for all the responses, if anyone is keeping score, here's my not-finalized plan to get to phoenix on google maps. link is a google shortened, uhh, link.

That which i did not hit on the way down, i'll try to hit on the way back up, weather permitting.
posted by efalk at 6:36 PM on October 12, 2011


I was sure we used to take 299.

But looking at your link, that wouldn't really make sense.

We probably did 44-89-Susanville-395...

Anyhow. Your route looks like fun. Have plenty!
posted by notyou at 1:46 PM on October 13, 2011

« Older Arduino music sequencer feasibility.   |   Good neighborhoods in Denver? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.