We were on a trip with 70+ year old grandparents and 2 teenagers and spent 2 nights at the brand new (built in 2011) cabins at Lassen. I'm giving it 5 stars even though it's not a Four Seasons. But for those of us who braved through campgrounds with broken glass, dirty toilets and bathrooms where you don't want to touch anything -- this is the "Four Seasons" for camping cabins. Here's what you get:
1. The ability to choose your actual cabin when you make your reservations. Ours had a peek of the lake (all views are obscured because of trees -- and for some reason, the national park frowns on cutting down trees to improve the views). Make sure you remember your cabin # in case you arrive late. The check-in desk closes at 8pm but they will leave the cabin open for you if you arrive late -- assuming you know which one is yours.
2. Clean, clean and super-clean. Bathrooms are cleaned several times a day. The cabin is cleaned after every guest. And by clean -- we saw the crews wiping the windows of the cabin. That's how thorough the cleaning is. The bathrooms are cleaner then the ones at home.
3. Brand new high quality furnishings. The hardwood floors in the cabin are nicer than the ones in our house. We had the 2 room cabin and it fits 7 (3 bunk beds, 1 queen bunk and 1 queen futon sofa-sleeper) even though the maximum is 6 people. The futon was comfy (hasn't been flattened from years of use) but the mattress in the other beds are your standard camping mattresses. We brought our 2 inch foam mattress topper to put on top and it made all the difference. The heat is controlled via a thermostat and was quiet and efficient.
4. 20 yards from the lake. Closer to the lake than the campground. So it's super-easy for the kids to play in the water and be yelling distance to come back for supper.
5. Location is convenient right on Manzanita Lake on the northern entrance of the park, 50 minutes drive from Redding. It's 30 minutes from the Bumpass Hell Trail and 20 minutes from the Subway Cave lava tube (which is highly recommended) in the National Forest at the junction of Rt 44 and Rt 89.
6. The camp store is there (open from 8 to 8pm) for supplies and cold food (if you don't plan on cooking). TJ's Diner in Old Station down the street from the lava tube is highly recommended for breakfast/lunch but they close on Tue/Wed. It's about a 20 minute drive away.
8. Bear Lockers are big and spacious. And because it's brand new, they don't have the funky smell like the ones at Yosemite.
9. Showers are a short walk away and take 5 quarters for 3 minutes. The kids skipped the showers (of course) but the grandparents appreciated it. There's also a laundrymat and kayaks for rent (from 10am to 3pm).
There are some drawbacks to note -- even for those used to the camping cabin experience:
1. There's only one key so if you have a big group, you need to wait for the one with the key. And the lock works differently in Northern California -- setting it to horizontal means it is locked, not unlocked like elsewhere in the country. So be careful you don't lock yourself out accidentally.
2. The fire pits are high and deep. So if you plan on grilling with charcoal -- you will need to have a lot of charcoal to reach the grilling area or put the charcoal on pieces of log (which is what we did).
3. Because they had to clear trees in order to build the cabins, the landscaping is a little skimpy as the plants has not grown in yet. And the deer come every evening to eat the plants that were planted. It'll take quite a few years for the plants to grow in so the area right around the cabin is barren and a little rocky. But 50 yards away, you reach the lake and it is no longer barren.
4. No electricity or cell coverage. They do provide an electric lantern and there are outlets in the laundrymat that you can use. And if you walk around the lake, you hit "spots" of cell service so your workaholic nature can be appeased. But I won't tell you where the cell coverage is -- you'll have to find it yourself.
All in all -- if you like camping but don't like the camping experience of sleeping on the ground and being exposed to the elements, this is the place for you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Manzanita Lake Camping Cabins are located near the northwest entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park. The rustic Camping Cabins provide convenience, economy, and security. These 20 cabins are the first new accommodations in Lassen Volcanic National Park since 1972, and are available in three models: 2 Room, 1 Room, and Bunkhouse. We also offer special Amenity Packages for visitors looking to add something special on this trip, or to just round out their camping supplies. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Manzanita Lake Camping Cabins Hotel Lassen Volcanic National Park