Chester and Lake Almanor Basin is best known as
a recreation paradise and the gateway to Lassen
Volcanic National Park.
It's also the place
where the Sierra Nevada range and the Cascade
range meet, and is the southern terminus of the
Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, a 360 mile All
American Road featuring volcanic and other
At 4,500 feet elevation and with 52 miles of
forested shoreline, Lake Almanor is the
county's largest lake, offering year-round
fishing and spectacular views of majestic Lassen
The lake is one of the most popular attractions
in Northern California, drawing visitors
year-round. Summer lake surface temperatures of
about 75 degrees make it ideal for water sports,
including water-skiing, sailing, sail boarding,
and jet skiing. (See a video about Lake Almanor
by clicking on the photo to the right.)
can enjoy three courses in the Almanor Basin,
including 18-hole championship Bailey Creek and
two nine-hole courses.
A large network of trails offer a myriad of
biking and exploring, both around the lake
and in the surrounding forest.
The North Fork Feather River, which
flows into Almanor, and nearby Yellow Creek,
are favorites with catch and release
fly-fishermen. Nearby Butt Valley Reservoir
is widely known as a great fishery for trout.
Almanor Basin also is an undiscovered jewel for
winter recreation. The highlight of this wintry
season is Winterfest, held in February,
featuring a chili cook off, a poker run and sled dog races. Winter
visitors can sometimes take in the excitement of
observing nearby snowmobile snow-cross racing.
Services for visitors also are available in
small communities along the lake, including
Prattville, Almanor, Lake Almanor West, the Lake
Almanor Peninsula, Hamilton Branch and Canyon
The charming town of Chester, located at
the northern end of the lake, offers a full
range of amenities. Shoppers can browse Main
Street with its unique gift shops, galleries and
eateries. Overnight visitors to Chester/Lake
Almanor can choose from a wide range of
vacation rentals, bed and breakfast inns and
campgrounds. Annual arts shows, a July 4th
fireworks display, parade, fun run, and music
festival and an annual
Street Rod Extravaganza in September are among
that are featured each year in Chester. The town
also hosts wine walks and outdoor concerts
during the summer.
The surrounding Lassen National Forest
maintains two nearby wilderness areas, the
Caribou and the Ishi, which are easy to explore.
History buffs and adventurers can enjoy a
half-day trip to Seneca. A few inhabitants and a
unique bar are all that remain of this once
thriving gold mining town.
The Warner Valley, which leads into Lassen
Volcanic National Park, offers another scenic
side trip. A short drive to Westwood, east of
Chester, allows a look at the giant redwood
statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, and
exhibits at a visitors center that is a replica
of Westwood's original train depot. Other
attractions include a museum, the historic
Walker mansion, and the area's only winery,
which produces mead, a wine-style beverage made
by fermenting honey and water.
For more information on the Chester/Lake Almanor area, visit
Chester/Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce or
call (530) 258-2426 or (800) 350-4838.