View of Chester and Lassen Peak from Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

Chester California

by Betty Bishop

best place to stay when visiting Lassen Volcanic National park

Chester is a cozy town located on the shores of Lake Almanor in the shadow of Lassen Peak. This sleepy community sits along the banks of the Feather River and is surrounded by breathtaking meadows, forests, and streams.

Chester and the Lake Almanor Basin offer an array of diverse outdoor activities to enjoy. The lake offers water sports, swimming and fabulous fishing. And, the area has many dining opportunities, three golf courses open to the public, and a variety of entertainment opportunities.

Between Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lassen National Forest and lands held by Feather River Land Trust, Chester is a great base camp to several hundred miles of trails. The PCT is a few miles west on Highway 36, making Chester a great half-way place in Northern California for PCT hikers to stop and re-supply.

When traveling the southern portion of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (Highway 36), Chester offers the perfect place to stretch your legs and stay awhile to explore the natural beauty that surrounds you.

The town itself has several restaurants, unique shops, 2 museums, and a public library. Many annual events occur here including arts and craft shows, concerts, car shows, holiday celebrations, and summer farmers markets. While much of the town closes down for the evening, take a peaceful stroll from downtown on the 1.8 mile Collins Pine Nature Loop Trail along the Feather River.

Enjoy a picnic in the summer or cross-coutry skiing in the winter at the Olsen Barn on the eastern edge of Chester, at the corner of Hwy 36 and Melissa Street. The Olse Barn is a favorite spot for photographers and painters. The area is well known for birding, several barn owls make the Olsen Barn home.

The takeaway

Chester is ideal for adventurous travelers seeking to unplug and get away from it all. It’s the best place to stay when visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Chester Essentials

  • Lassen Volcanic National Park is open year round, you do not need a reservation to enter the park.
  • Road access, services, and activities in Lassen are limited in the snowy season. 
  • Once evening comes, most of the town closes down. But if you want to hike and be outdoors, it is the place for you.
  • From June 16th through Oct. on Thursday’s visit the Farmer’s Market from 4 -7 pm at Chester Park.
  • Not all businesses and services are open during the winter months.  Be sure to check hours to make sure they’re open before visiting!
  • Population of Chester: 2,000
  • Elevation of Chester: 4,534

Places to Stay Near Chester

Butt Valley Reservoir

63 fee sites along the shore of Butt Valley Reservoir. RV’s and tents are welcome with a limit of 6 persons per campsite. Pet Friendly.

Lake Almanor

Big Springs Resort is among the tall pines with a quiet serene atmosphere. Family and pet friendly near Hamilton Branch.

Chester

Antlers Motel is in the best location in Chester close to shopping, restaurants, parks and trails. Best value in the Lake Almanor area.

Chester

Your perfect basecamp in charming old town Chester, centraly located to Lake Almanor and Lassen Volcanic NP.

Lake Almanor

Lakefront cabin, sleeps 12, near historic Hamilton Branch Powerhouse.

Lake Almanor

Magical home with gorgeous lake and sunset views. Sleeps 10. Located in the Lake Almanor Country Club with all the amenities.

Canyon Dam

A family owned/operated resort since 1928, featuring 9 cabins, 25 RV sites, marina, cafe and a commitment to providing an amazing vacation experience

Lake Almanor

Lakefront home set in a quiet cove with a private dock.

Lake Almanor

Lake Almanor Country Club Log Cabin near Recreation Area 2 & Golf Course.

Lake Almanor

Wonderful Lake Almanor Cabin on a deep water parcel with gently sloped lawn to sandy beach, waters edge, and dock.

Chester

Step into our uniquely designed rooms in the heart of Chester.

Butt Valley Reservoir

Enjoy the outstanding views and tranquil atmosphere at Butt Valley Reservoir when you set up camp at Cool Springs Campground in Northern California.

Mill Creek

Close to the SW entrance of Lassen Volcanic National Park. A stay at the historic lodge includes full breakfast, option of dinner and a full bar.

Lake almanor

Lakefront condominium on the Lake Almanor Peninsula with boat slip.

Canyon Dam

Rocky Point is a PG&E operated Campground Located on the West Shore of Lake Almanor just North of Canyon Dam

Lake Almanor

The Dorado Inn is a waterfront boutique resort, retreat and healing center located on the east shore of Lake Almanor, California.

Lake Almanor

Whether you are planning a weekend getaway or a two week vacation, Knotty Pine Resort and Marina offers you an opportunity to leave the city behind!

Lake Almanor

Lake Almanor CC Vacation 4 Bdrm, 2 Ba Sleeps 10 2 Game Rooms, Free 90M WIFI Bedding, Towels, Soaps, Coffee Bar, Laundry Room, BBQ All-Season Rental

Canyondam

Beautiful resort along the shores of Lake Almanor. We offer a wide range of amenities including; cabins and rooms, an RV park, and a marina.

Chester

Rose Quartz Inn offers clean, up to date, well appointed rooms in a friendly & caring environment, all at the doorstep of Lassen Park & Lake Almanor.

Lake Almanor

Lake View Condominium in Peninsula Village with dock & boat slip. Sleeps 6.

Chester

This home is located in the heart of Chester. Minutes to Lake Almanor, for boating, water sports, swimming, kayaking, 40 minutes to Mt. Lassen.

Lake Almanor

Set in a quiet cove, off Peninsula Drive, this lake access home sleeps 10.

Lake Almanor

Nestled in the pines this quiet clul-de-sac cabin is right up the road from your own boat slip at Knotty Pines Marina in Big Cove.

Westwood

True Lakeside Resort & Amenities. Full Kitchens, Smart TV’s, Multi Bedroom Rentals. Lake outside your front door.

Lake Almanor

Whether you are planning a weekend getaway or a two week vacation, Knotty Pine Resort and Marina offers you an opportunity to leave the city behind!

Upcoming Events Near Chester

Chester
Chester Park
Willow Street off of Main Street

Time for some frolic and fun in Chester Park! *Open: Fridays 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm Saturdays 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm Sundays 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm +Special Holiday Hours

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Mineral
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Lassen Volcanic National Park

Snowshoe with a Lassen Park Ranger on the weekend! Snowshoe hikes begin promptly at 1:30 pm at the visitor center and are approximately two hours long.

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The Lost Sierra

Participating artists come from far and wide to spend a week painting the Lost Sierra from life. Don’t miss the Artist Street Fair on Saturday the 25th in downtown Quincy.

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Chester
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Chester Park
Willow Street & Meadowbrook Loop

The Maidu Summit Consortium is hosting The Big Time Logging Jamboree. Join us at Chester Park and take part in or cheer on 10 competitive logging categories.

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Chester
7:00 am
101 Meadowbrook Loop

The Mile High 100 is a wonderfully scenic century, metric century, and half metric century event in its 41st year for 2024!

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Chester
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Collins Pine Lawn
500 Main Street

Admission is free allowing you to save your precious dollars to support artisans that put their heart & souls on the line to create something original. Food vendors at event.

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Chester
11:00 am
Collins Pine Park to Chester Meadow

Join our annual 4th of July celebration starting with this year’s 4th of July Parade. Line-up early, and enjoy the parade along with shops and sights on Main Street.

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Chester
8:00 am – 11:00 am
Elks Lodge
Main Street

Join us before the parade for our Annual 4th of July Breakfast. We will be serving pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, juice, coffee and serving Bloody Mary’s to those over 21.

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Chester
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Chester Park

Elks hosts the annual Crafts Fair and Barbecue at Chester Park. Hot dog or polish dog, chips and soda for $10:00. Draft Beer or Wine $5.00

Lake Almanor

Spend the day celebrating the birds that make Lake Almanor so special, Western and Clarks Grebes. Join Plumas Audubon for kayak and pontoon boat tours, bird walks, and more!

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Lake Almanor
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Lake Almanor Country Club
501 Peninsula Drive

The Courage Triathlon is a 2.8 mile run, 6.4 mile bike, 3.1 mile kayak. It can be done as a team of 3 or solo. come join us for a fun & inspiring experience!

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Dining & Entertainment Near Chester

Canyon Dam3000 Almanor Dr West
(530) 259-4343
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We offer a variety of different dishes to temp your palate, from burgers & steaks to fresh fish & pasta. We offer a full bar to enjoy and kick back.

Lake Almanor309 Peninsula Drive
530-596-3500

Whether biking, boating jogging or just touring around, everything one needs from deli to spirts to groceries to butcher shop and your favorite coffee

Chester111 Slim Drive
(530) 310-3777
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BBQ is our specialty -pulled pork, tri tip, tequila chicken, salads, soups Breakfast and Lunch daily, dinners on the weekends Outside Patio Dining

Lake Almanor303 Peninsula Dr.
(530) 596-1800
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Serving you the best steak, fresh seafood and elevated pub fare menu paired with selection of great wines, craft beers and specialty cocktails!

Lake Almanor401 Peninsula Dr #9
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A nano-brewery, hand crafting small batches of ‘open fermented’ beer. Our ales & lagers are 100% naturally carbonated in the keg.

Chester501 Main Street
530-816-1426
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Seasonal craft beers are on-tap in the bar. The restaurant offers pub fare and a menu with a variety of entrees and sides.

Chester240 Main Street
(530) 259-4221

Dutch bakery and coffee house. Out of this world pastries, cookies, breakfast and lunch quiches, and savory pastry wraps. Outside seating.

Chester278 Main Street
530-258-2229
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Specialize in traditional breakfast & lunch favorites made from scratch with tasty twists, and fresh baked goods.

Lake Almanor401 Ponderosa Dr.
(530) 596-3902
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New Name, same owners, same great Italian food! Our home made pizza and pasta has been famous on the Lake Almanor Peninsula for over 40 years.

Chester669 Main Street
530-258-4226
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The Ranch House is a full service restaurant and bar with friendly staff and a beautiful back patio.

chester192 Main
530-258-4112
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Chester’s 3rd space. Coffee, beverages, bagels, pastries and friends. And a drive through too! What could be better?

Chester525 Main Street
(530) 280-7900

Beer & wine garden located in downtown Chester and just a stone’s throw from gorgeous Lake Almanor. A garden setting for relaxing with friends.

Canyondam2932 Almanor Drive
530-259-2464
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The experience at Carol’s, whether dining, taking out, or catering your event, is best described as comfort food with a twist.

Chester220 Main Street
(530) 280-0767
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We carry a wide variety of merchandise including handcrafted items from local vendors. Antique hunters, ice cream lovers and espresso snobs welcome.

Chester321 Main Street
530-258-2593
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Nothing is better than a burger or a dog through a window! A local favorite for ice cream treats, dinners, fries and more for over 40 years.

Shopping Near Chester

Chester168 Main St.
(916) 258-2100
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Featuring Polywood Outdoor Patio Furniture. Made in the USA & 20 Year Warranty. Umbrellas, Firepits, Home & Lake Decor, Bears & Custom Wood Signs.

Canyon Dam3000 Almanor Dr West
(530) 259-4343
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Our store offers a little bit of everything. We have PPR souvenirs, snacks, beer, wine, fishing tackle or any last-minute camping essentials

Chester539 Main Street
(530) 259-4295
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Fresh produce, deli sandwiches, smoothies, milkshakes and homemade pies.

chester632 Main Street
530-258-2525
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A wide variety of pet supplies are offered by owner Michele, who has over 35 years of experience with animals. T-F 10-5pm; Sat 10-4pm.

Chester208 Main St
(530) 258-3327
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Big selection of Lake Almanor-Chester & Butt Lake Apparel for all family members. Large inventory of Fishing, camping, hunting, & marine supplies.

Chester131 Main Street
(530) 258-3010
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A unique shopping experience of curated home decor collections, accent furniture, jewelry and gifts. Celebrating life with all things beautiful.

Lake Almanor430 Peninsula Drive
(530) 596-3348
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We are your one stop for lake fun. We offer authentic cabin rentals too top of the line boat rentals.

Chester220 Main Street
530-280-0767
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Mercantile, old & new home decor, gifts and repurposed items. Great coffee & old fashioned milkshakes. DIYers & gift giving folks you’ll find it here!

Chester201 Main Street
530-258-2611
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Your local one-stop-shop! From paint and chainsaws, to fishing and hunting supplies. Serving the Lake Almanor community for over 75 years.

Chester181 Main Street
530-260-2421
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Women’s clothing for the stylish! Great seasonal selections along with jewelry, shoes, hats and more!

Chester300 Main Street, Suite B
530-258-2275
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Cabin & lake house decor, clothing for men, women & children. Lazy One jammies & robes too. Children’s games and books.

Chester123 Main St
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Hand poured candles, small batch soaps, bath and body products, leather goods, jewelry and socks. Something for everyone! Custom orders encouraged.

Chester357 Main
530-258-4543
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Custom floral arrangements, gifts, plants, and tuxedo rental located in mid town Chester.

Chester168 Main Street
530-258-2100
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Surfs up at Almanor Wake Sports that has the latest in water sports items and apparel including the newest “toy,” Soul Craft Boarding.

Chester138 E. Willow St
(530) 258-2424
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Gather Home has everything for your aesthetic needs for home and entertaining! Table Top – Gifts – Interior Decor – Furniture!

Chester607 Main Street
530-258-2600
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Such talent in the great Lake Almanor basin, local artisans and crafters share their wares for locals and guest to bring home that unique piece.

Chester417 Main Street
(530) 258-3955
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Mountain hardware store. Excellent customer service & friendly staff. Home décor & appliances. Trusted brands-Stihl, Weber, Traeger, Ben Moore paint.

Chester278 Main St.
(530) 258-2150
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Indie bookstore with classics to new releases, art gallery and gifts. Grab coffee, breakfast, lunch at Cravings while browsing! It’s the best!

Chester632 Main
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A potter for 30+ years, Tom signature style is a piece with graceful lines adorned with “Prehistoric” texturing and crystalline glazing.

Chester189 Main Street
530-258-2032

Historic Olde Town Corner Store, built in 1912, is now a one stop convenience store. Beverages, snacks and food, and an old town gas station as well.

Chester, Ca525 Main Street
530-280-7900
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Rural sophistication! Unique, good quality decor to enhance the look and feel of any indoor or outdoor space.

Chester149 Main Street
(530) 258-2338
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A friendly outdoor shop that is passionate about getting folks in the outdoors. We carry a variety of FUN! Bicycles, Hobie Kayaks and SUP.

Chester680 Main Street
530-258-2212
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Packed with everything from furniture to house gadgets, this thrift store offers lots and lots of items at great prices.

Places to Visit Near Chester