Ahhhh, Drakesbad. One of my favorite places in the world, and less than two hours’ drive from Chico!
One of the few lodgings nestled in Lassen Volcanic Park, Drakesbad Guest Ranch dates back more than 100 years. In fact, Chico founder John Bidwell and his tiny-but-powerful wife Annie used to vacation there to escape the valley heat.
When my sons were young we often stayed in one of the cozy, rustic cabins for a few days (whatever the vacation budget would allow at the time). What a great family retreat! Rowing on Dream Lake, playing board games in the lodge, hiking up to the boiling mud pits, stargazing from the huge hot spring pool, stories by the campfire at night. And the best thing of all (from a mom’s viewpoint): three delicious meals a day at the cookhouse–no shopping/cooking/cleaning! Also, no phones/TVs/video games (in fact, the only electricity is provided via generator to the cookhouse; cabins are lit by kerosene lanterns!) Horseback riding is offered too, but we had our own horse at home so never took advantage of that.
(Click here to view photos from my recent visit to Drakesbad, and click here for some great OLD photos I came across online.) I recently discovered a wonderful opportunity. When camping at Warner Valley Campground (just 1/2 mile from Drakesbad, 1st come 1st served, one can reserve a meal at the Drakesbad cookhouse, and then have use of the facilities all day. Now THAT’S a great deal! (Drakesbad is only open through mid-October; check out their web site or call 1-866-999-0914 and talk with Billie or Ed for more info or reservations.