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“An amazing way to enjoy Lassen Volcanic National Park” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Drakesbad Guest Ranch

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Drakesbad Guest Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Menlo Park, California
Level Contributor
224 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
“An amazing way to enjoy Lassen Volcanic National Park”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2011

My wife, son (9) and I spent three nights last week at Drakesbad, in the Warner Valley section of Lassen Volcanic National Park. We'll definitely come back -- it's a wonderful place to stay for solitude, natural beauty, and really good food.

Drakesbad includes three meals per day, prepared by a very enthusiastic and welcoming staff. The facility is very family and child-friendly. The large pool -- at body temperature thanks to water from nearby hot springs -- is terrific after hiking the trails to Devil's Kitchen or Boiling Hot Springs. We stayed in one of the standalone cabins and one night in a room in the main lodge -- both were comfortable and fun.

Some rooms have bunk beds, making it easier for three to sleep very comfortably. Note that there is no wifi and no cell phone reception at Drakesbad, making it easy to get away for real. If you need an email fix, you can drive 17 miles to the town of Chester, which has several hot spots.

Room Tip: Stand-alone cabins are larger and quieter but some have kerosene lamps; lodge rooms are smaller but...
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank JerryR10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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79 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    44
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    5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Santa Ynez, CA
Level Contributor
58 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 November 2010

I had to laugh at the entire 3-star August 2010 review. That's exactly the kind of person the rest of us who love Drakesbad don't to share a table with either.

There are no phones - cell or otherwise, computers or TVs and electricity is limited. You have to drive in on a dirt road. You may encounter logging trucks. You might not have a shower in your room and you might have to trek to the poolhouse. These are the very amenities of Drakesbad that keep away the riff-raff.

This is a place to soak in A 90+ degree pool at night and look at stars, meet new people at dinner or hang out by the fire or sit and ponder the beautiful meadow and watch the deer go by.

The food at one point was exceptional, had a few problems a few years back, but now has gone back to its previous high standards. The concessionaire is replacing furniture and making some improvements now that the National Park Service has finally awarded them a long-term contract. But the place will always be rustic. Billy and Ed who have been the hosts for years are nicest people you will ever meet and cannot do enough for you.

To say that you can't see Lassen National Park from this location is laughable - true - you need to drive a bit of distance if you want to go to the main park entrance (this is a problem for someone from Los Angeles?) - but amazing, unique hikes take off right from Drakesbad - the Devil's Kitchen, Boiling Springs Lake and Sifford Lakes. And many more locations are available by horseback, so there's no need to leave unless you really want to. Drakesbad is its own destination.

It's not for everybody which is fine by me. If you can't live for a few days without your cell phone without withdrawal symptoms and are horrified by a few potholes, then this isn't for you. The peace, tranquilityand beauty combined by nice people make this a special place. Primadonnas need not apply.

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
16 Thank Pale_Rider27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jannali, Australia
Level Contributor
121 reviews
79 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 September 2010

The place is rather unique with a long history.I stayed here to have access to the South Eastern part of Lassen Volcanic NP.There are some excellent hikes to do from the lodge including Boiling Lake,Devils Kitchen,Kings Creek Falls and Sifford Lakes,also much longer hikes if you are energetic.
Rooms are in a central lodge or cabins.My room{5 in the lodge} was adequate but I was disturbed a few times by guests slamming the upstairs door to go out.I have asked the owners, who incidentally are very nice, to put up a sign to stop this.
They have a great hot soaking pool{too hot for doing laps},campfire each night, good meals especially BBQ night ,horse rides.
There is no TV, Internet or Cell Phone reception which for me was great.You come here for nature and to relax.

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank DerekHulme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
east coast US
Level Contributor
37 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 September 2010

Located within the borders of Lassen National Park, Drakesbad Ranch is an out of the way hidden gem. We stayed at Drakesbad in a cabin for three nights. It reminded me of summer camp when I was a child. I really enjoyed the experience.

The cabin was comfortable for the two of us with a toilet and sink. There is no electricity in the cabins, kerosene lamps are supplied for your use. We chose not to use the lamps and used flashlights instead. LED flashlights worked well and provided the light we needed.

The food was good. We enjoyed the meals. If you are going to be away for lunch, they provide a bag lunch in the morning. Dinner was very good with a vegetarian option offered.

There are some great hiking trails. Two of our favorites were the trail to Devil's Kitchen, a geothermal area and Boiling Lake, a hot spring-fed sulphurous lake. Drakesbad has a hot spring fed pool (no sulphur smell at all) that is GREAT for relaxing in after a day of hiking. Showers are located near the pool.

They have horses at Drakesbad if you would like to go for trail rides. The most impressive thing about the corral was how CLEAN it was. Manure was promptly removed so flies and strong odors were not a problem!

There were a few extended families that were staying at the ranch when we were there. They all seemed to be enjoying Drakesbad. There is a large "family room" on the first floor of the lodge with a woodstove, fireplace and lots of comfortable chairs. There is electricity in this room, so a it's a great place to curl up with a good book in front of the fire.

NOTE: If you are looking for a place to stay close to Lassen State Park, although Drakesbad is in the park, it is about 1 hour and 15 minutes away from the Lassen NP visitor's center. Go to Drakesbad as a destination and enjoy a day trip to the Lassen NP to see the Bumpass Hell geothermal area, Lassen peak and the park road.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank k51773
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
los angeles
Level Contributor
49 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 August 2010

Drakesbad may be pleasant enough, I suppose, for residents of the Sacramento valley who want to escape its 100 degree heat. The place seems to draw families with small children and grandparents. Children can play ping-pong, while gramps sits on the porch and looks out at a dry meadow with a bit too much skunk cabbage.

But if you want to see the attractions of Lassen Volcanic national park—its volcanic peaks, waterfalls, and wildflowers—you will have an EIGHTY MINUTE drive to the Visitor Center. Your drive will include at least four miles of low-gear unpaved road, encounters with road construction on single lane highway 36, possibly getting stuck behind a logging truck, and if you are really lucky, you will see a local psychopath jump out of his white Ford pickup and start yelling.

I made this drive twice and also hiked in five miles—mostly uphill through generic national forest—to the highway. I’d recommend staying a little closer to the park.

I found Drakesbad a little too regimented (assigned parking spaces, assigned seats at meals). If you are assigned a dinner table with a Biden-like windbag and his family of three, there is not much you can do, unless the Drakesbad staff forgets to assign seats for single diners, as it did with me for the Wednesday barbeque.

On the other hand, Drakesbad can be a little erratic in its meal service and billing. Avoid dinner on Monday, where the meal consists of a child’s portion chicken breast and possibly the smallest green salad in Northern California. Try Wednesday, where the outdoor barbeque features steak and has a buffet line that actually permits second helpings from the salad bowl. At checkout, the people ahead of me, through-hikers camping nearby, were each billed $17 for Wednesday’s breakfast and dinner. My meals cost $88 per day (according to the “food tax” charge on my bill). I guess it paid to stay at a campground, but you’d still be stuck with a long drive to the real national park.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled solo
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
12 Thank wheninroam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Drakesbad Guest Ranch

Property: Drakesbad Guest Ranch
Address: end of Warner Valley Road, Chester, CA 96020
Region: United States > California > Plumas County > Chester
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Speciality Lodging in Chester
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): €
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In 1916 Congress established Lassen Volcanic National Park as the fifteenth national park in the United States. Privately held Drakesbad bordered the park in the southeast corner. The Sifford family continued to run their beloved Guest Ranch as good neighbors of the Park Service each summer for forty-two years. To preserve the Ranch and guarantee continued quality service for generations to come, Drakesbad was sold to the US government in 1958 for inclusion in to Lassen Volcanic National Park. Since that sale there have been three park concessionaires: for the past 36 years Drakesbad has been run by California Guest Services where the emphasis is still on outstanding customer service! All rates include three meals per day and lodging! All accommodations are rustic and quaint, most without electricity. The use of kerosene lamps is a welcome respite from the modern world and adds a distinct and old time ranch feel to your stay. All rooms include a full or half bath and are gas heated. Housekeeping services are provided daily. As a member of the Green Hotels Network, we make every effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle at Drakesbad. General Information Drakesbad Guest Ranch is open (pending weather conditions) June through mid October. The Ranch is closed mid October through to May. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Drakesbad Guest Ranch Hotel Chester

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