Eagle Lake, nestled in Lassen County National Forest, is the second largest lake completely confined within the CA borders. It’s an outdoorsman’s paradise with world-class fishing for native Eagle Lake rainbow trout.
Bird-watching is the #1 spectator sport and patient enthusiasts may spot an osprey or bald eagle from the rocky shores of the lake or along one of the region’s top hiking trails in Susanville Ranch Park. Susanville, located just 15 miles from Eagle Lake, will be the best place to sleep, eat, and explore for visitors who want to experience this natural paradise but retreat to an air-conditioned room at night. Campgrounds and RV parks abound for the more adventurous among us.
Eagle Lake in Lassen County is about 317 miles northeast of San Francisco, but it seems like another world. Your journey begins on I-80 E. You’ll want to keep left and merge onto I-580 W/I-80 E, then stay to the right to keep on I-80 E. Get your wallet ready because there are partial toll roads along the way.
Take exit 56 for I-505 N toward Winters/Redding and continue on I-505 N past Vacaville for about 33 miles, then merge onto I-5 N. Once you’re on the 5, it’s a straight 95-mile shot up to exit 649 toward Central Red Bluff. This will spit you out onto CA-36 E.
You’re a little over halfway there and the scenery is especially stunning as you reach the southernmost tip of Lassen National Forest at Mineral. You’ll stay on CA-36 E for a solid 132 miles before it gets tricky on you – make a right to follow CA-36 E/Antelope Blvd. followed by a left on CA-36 E to stay the course, and a measly 100 miles later, you’ll hit Susanville.
You may want to stop here to find your accommodations for the evening. Don’t worry, the natural paradise of Eagle Lake is just a short ride north on the aptly named Eagle Lake Road.
Guests rave about this charming B&B in the heart of Susanville, and you’ll see why the moment you drive up. The green clapboard exterior and white picket fence set the tone for a warm welcome by your gracious hosts. The quaint 19 century-inspired rooms all have private bathrooms and seating areas. You’ll enjoy a hot, made-to-order breakfast before heading out to nearby Eagle Lake or just taking a stroll over to the Lassen Historical Museum, which is just five minutes on foot.
The Diamond View Motel is a bit of a throwback, but don’t let the retro exterior fool you. The rooms are simple but comfy, and the property is exceptionally clean. Located in the center of Susanville, it’s an easy drive to Eagle Lake and other area attractions. The Diamond View Motel features free wi-fi, toiletries, a coffee machine in every room, and friendly service at the 24-hour reception desk. A solid bargain choice.
Red Lion Inn & Suites is one of the top-rated hotels in the area, and for good reason. The clean rooms have crazy comfortable beds, flat screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. There’s an outdoor pool and hot tub, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant. Safeway is right across the street, so it’ll be easy to load up on provisions for your afternoon in the great wide open. This is a top value choice – you really can’t go wrong here.
Hearty food and the friendly staff make Stonehouse Eatery a hit with locals and tourists alike. They’re open at 4:30 am Monday through Saturday, so it’s the perfect place to fuel up with a massive breakfast burrito and coffee before heading out to Eagle Lake. Don’t forget your side of salsa – it’s out of this world. Seating is limited, but it’s a great place for the whole family and their sandwiches are generous enough to share.
Pioneer Saloon is home to the oldest continuously operating bar in California, and it’s no surprise once you step inside. They serve Lassen Ale Works beer along with a full selection of cocktails, wine, and spirits at phenomenal prices. Their burgers will blow you away and the fish ‘n chips are not to be missed. Check the schedule once you get to town – the Pioneer Saloon features live music several nights a week.
This local pub is charmingly old-school inside. The décor is an eclectic blend of dark wood, white tablecloths, and classic rancher brands showcased over the bar. This place is always full of life and it’s a great spot to enjoy a cold brew after a long day at Eagle Lake. The food is phenomenal, with a casual menu featuring sandwiches and apps big enough to feed a crowd. The fried pickles will be the best you’ve ever had.
Diamond Mountain Casino is governed by the Susanville Indian Rancheria, made up of members of the Paiute, Maidu, Pit River, and Washoe Indian tribes. The casino, which celebrated its 20 anniversary in 2016, features Nevada-style slot machines, table play, a sports bar, and café. It’s 26,000 square feet of nonstop action! The Diamond Mountain Brewpub is open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday, so keep this in mind for food and drinks in the wee hours. There’s an on-site hotel for those of you who want to be close to the excitement.
The Lassen Historical Museum in Susanville features historic displays about the local area. Inside the museum, you’ll find arrowheads and art by the indigenous Native American tribes that populated Lassen County alongside photographs, weapons, and other memorabilia from the founding fathers. It’s located right next to Roop’s Fort, which is the oldest building in the county. It was built in 1854 as a trading post for early settlers in the region. Open six days a week in the summer with limited winter hours. Free.
This 1,100-acre, shared-use recreational property is an amazing place for hiking or biking through all four seasons. There are easy trails for beginners and more difficult overview routes with switchbacks that even the most seasoned hikers will find challenging. Despite its reputation as a local hot-spot for mountain bikers, the impeccably maintained trails are rarely crowded. This easily accessible park is a true gem with spectacular views in a peaceful setting.
Officially dubbed Bizz Johnson National Recreational Trail, this 25.4-mile dirt and gravel trail runs from Susanville Depot to Mason Station in Westwood. It follows the old Fernley and Lassen Railroad line, which cuts through spectacular coniferous woodlands and eases down through Susan River Canyon. The trail crosses the Susan River a total of 12 times on bridges and trestles and through two tunnels. Hiking, biking, and horseback riding are all encouraged. Appropriate for hikers of all skill levels, and your canine pals are welcome.
Eagle Lake is the top local attraction, luring water and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. The feisty Eagle Lake trout are what people come for, but the water is also home to the Tahoe sucker and Lahontan red-side, among other species. Not into fishing? Not a problem. This freshwater lake has a varied shoreline that’s popular with recreational boaters, and it’s safe for swimming and water-skiing. Rentals are available at several marinas, so there’s no excuse not to get on the water.