Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

The Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway is a 500-mile journey from volcano to volcano that passes through some of the most amazing natural wonders in Siskiyou. Along the route, you will find opportunities for adventure, exploration, communion with nature and an appreciation for the culture and history of the region. You will also find residents eager to share the beauty and mystery of this land that is dotted with evidence of an eruptive past.

The southern end of the byway begins at California’s Lake Almanor, just miles from the active geothermal features at Lassen Volcanic National Park. The northern end of the byway is capped by Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.

In between, the Siskiyou section of the Byway is full of fantastic sites. Volcanoes, caves,  waterfalls and a unique landscape riddled with explorable lava tubes. Come prepared for the adventure of a lifetime.  You can learn more about the entire Byway and planning tips by visiting here.


Some of the Siskiyou highlights along the journey:


Majestic Mt. Shasta is the centerpiece of Northern California. As the second highest peak in the state, it is visible from well over 100 miles away. Many come to summit it, while others come to marvel at it. It even has driving access up along scenic Everitt Memorial Highway to Bunny Flat, where the trailhead starts at 6,950 feet. Whatever calls you to the mountain, you will be changed after experiencing this natural wonder.


Explorable caves, petroglyphs, historic battlefields, and a high desert wilderness await. Formed over the last half-million years by flows of smooth lava from the Medicine Lake Volcano, this rugged landscape dotted with diverse volcanic features is definitely one of the Byway’s crown jewels.


Not your typical “volcano,” Medicine Lake Volcano is  a shield volcano. This means the underlying rock has collapsed under the center of the volcano, leaving its old caldera exposed as Medicine Lake. Rising 3,900 feet above the Modoc Plateau with 140 cubic miles of lava flows, it’s actually the largest volcano by volume in the Cascade Range. Medicine Lake volcano is unique, having many small magma chambers rather than one large one.


Pluto’s Cave has been described as a “classic” lava tube, meaning that it was formed by molten lava passing through tubes in older, hardened lava.  A short trail leads to the Cave’s entrance. Portions of the roof have collapsed, exposing the cave and providing an eerie and unique light for exploring. A hard hat, flashlight and very sturdy shoes recommended for safety.