Road Trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park


For Fourth of July weekend, I embarked on a lovely four-day road trip up north through Sacramento, Chico, Redding, McArthur Burney Falls, and eventually Lassen Volcanic National Park, before circling back down to the Bay.

The trip starts with a visit to the California State Capitol… because as of last year I started visiting state capitols (Providence, Rhode Island; Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; and Phoenix, Arizona) and now it’s become a bit of a thing for me. Despite having lived in California for eleven years now, I’ve never been to our capitol! So here we go.

We joined a free tour and learned all about the building and a bit of California history like how our capital moved around to many cities including Monterey, Benicia, and San Jose before settling in Sacramento.

Love a pretty dome.

Here is the California State Senate.

A hallway of govern(at)ors.

The California State Assembly.

After Sacramento, we headed to Chico for a tour of the Sierra Nevada Brewery… but first it was time for my monthly videochat with Tiffany. So here I am in the Sierra Nevada building chatting with Tiffany in Sydney!

I’m not much of a beer person but I enjoy tours and gardens so off we went on their newly created “Estate Garden Tour.” This was our mode of transportation: the ‘time travel machine’ or a funny little golf cart contraption with six bicycle seats and pedals that don’t actually power the vehicle.

They grow lots of hops for their beer but also have a full veggie and fruit garden that helps supply food for the kitchen too.


This was the tastiest plum I’ve ever eaten, hot off the ground on this 100-degree day. So good!

Of course there was beer to be had also.

And they sent us home with random stuff we found on the ground like this garlic clove!


The next day, we set out to see this landmark Sundial Bridge in Redding.

And then it was on to Whiskeytown Lake, a National Recreation Area and perfect spot for a little picnic.

Much of this area was actually devastated in the big Carr Fire around this time last year and so some of this park, including a possible offroading trail for the jeep, was still closed and many burnt trees could be seen all across the area. But it was still beautiful and well worth the visit.

Views of Mount Shasta in the distance.

Yes, it is a volcano!

Castle Crags

And our campgrounds for the night: McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park.

Ah yes! The falls, as promised.

Such beautiful blue waters. I had no idea such a big waterfall existed here in California.

Next, it was time to drive to the final destination: Lassen! We arrived early, set up camp, and went on a couple easy hikes around the Manzanita Lake area.

Doing well on our picnic spots this trip!

A particularly satisfying camp fire since they had run out of firewood and so we had to forage a bunch of sticks for our campfire. All patience to Alex on waiting out the very very stubborn and smoky situation. Our neighbors even cheered when flames finally sparked.

Final day, time to tour around the rest of Lassen Volcanic National Park!

Mountains, lakes, trees. Perfect.

And snow!

As with many National Parks, you can see a lot of these points just from driving the main road in the park. Love the vastly different scenes from top to bottom of these mountains.

Here’s one of the last stops in the park: Sulphur Works. All this funky geothermal activity reminds me of Iceland!

And that was it for this trip! Time to drive back down to the Bay.

With a sunset and just a couple more gorgeous scenes along the way.

Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco. She creates beautiful, soft, and timeless imagery while capturing the most fleeting of moments. View her work at, follow her daily adventures on instagram, and contact her to book your own session today.