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“Best place to commune with nature without actually sleeping in a tent” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Manzanita Lake Camping Cabins

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Manzanita Lake Camping Cabins
Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA 96088   |  
Hotel amenities
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
134 helpful votes 134 helpful votes
“Best place to commune with nature without actually sleeping in a tent”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2012

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.

Room Tip: If you don't want pit toilets (even clean ones), choose the cabin closest to the store where the...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
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English first
Chico, Ca
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2012

We just stayed for 2 nights and can't say enough about how wonderful the cabins are. Our group rented 2 cabins, one for our family with kids and one for a couple. Cabins 10 and 16 were the perfect pair because we cooked all of our meals together and the fire pit was between the cabins.

The cabin was so clean and beautifully built. Even the vault toilets are immaculate. The second and third days we noticed the small army of folks quietly, efficiently and thoroughly cleaning everything. They went about their work without disrupting the calm of the campground at all.

We easily fit a port-a-crib for the baby and a "double" blow up mattress on the floor of a 1 room cabin. It was tight, but we had no trouble walking around (we didn't notice that the cabin was for 3, not 4 until we were all settled in...). The porch is big enough to sit comfortably with your coffee and watch the lake through the trees. There are 2 chairs and a small table on the porch.

I was worried about the size of the bear boxes because I couldn't find the dimensions online, but we fit a large igloo cooler inside, and it took up less than a third of the space.

They provide a lantern on check-in, which was unexpected and helpful.

The heater inside was very efficient and safe. I was afraid they would have a camping heater and was not sure it would be safe around little ones, but there was a thermostat and register like at home.

I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of healthy/normal food at the camp store. The camp stores of my childhood had nothing we normally ate. We packed more than we could eat, but it was nice to walk over for a treat. And hot coffee in the morning!

We rented a kayak to take on the lake. We could see the launching point from our front porch. The rental was reasonably priced and the staff were very friendly and helpful. It is a good lake for a kayak trip. The lake is scenic and there is a variety of landscape and coves to explore. The path around the lake was beautiful, I would recommend it to anyone. It isn't at all challenging, but there is so much to explore and there are beautiful views of the mountain on the far side.

There is a nice place for the kids to play in the water just past the boat launch, where the creek comes in to the lake. It is shallow with tiny tributaries,islands and fallen trees to explore; there were several families enjoying the water.

There is an interesting small museum an easy walk up the road.

We drove to the Subway Cave lava tube (20-25 minute drive) and were so glad we did. It was a good introduction to caves for those who hadn't been with lots of instructional signs. Some of us were in flip flops and some in sturdy shoes. We all made it through unscathed, but I'll definitely remember sturdy shoes next time. Also, it is pitch black in there, bring a light! Definitely a unique experience!

We will be going back for years to come and we will be staying at the camping cabins.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2012 via mobile

We got one of the bunkhouses which we drove in and booked on a Monday. It was a little pricey for the accomodations but that is to be expected for the convenience of being in the park. Bring your own bedding and if you need a restroom in the middle of the night keep you shoes and flashlight handy. This is as close to camping as you can get withput being in a tent. The building was very snug. We slept withe the window open even though it got down to 40 degrees at night. A great experience for the kids!

  • Stayed July 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntington Beach, CA
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2011 via mobile

I just returned from three nights camping with friends at the Manzanita Lake Cabins. This was our first trip to Lassen, and we all agreed that it was a fantastic experience. The camping cabins helped make it a great trip for us.

Even though Manzanita Lake sits at the northern entrance to the park, it's as close to a hub as the park has, with a store, visitors center and campground. It was less than an hour to any main attraction, and one of the great ones, Manzanita Lake, is a short walk from any cabin. It's a beautiful stroll around the lake, and you are rewarded with postcard views of Mount Lassen on the far side.

We had one 2-room cabin and one 1-room cabin, which was perfect for our party of 6. The front room of the two room cabin had a futon couch in addition to the table, so it was a great place to gather during the one day of showers we had. Both of these cabins had nice front porches; the bunkhouses do not. We each got the camper package, which spared us having to fly with pots, pans, coolers and sleeping bags. The camp stove was also an important component, along with the canister of propane, as places to go out and eat in the area are few and far between. We didn't realize that the camper package also came with pillows, so we had brought our own. I thought I had read that the second room contained 3 beds and the front room contained a double. But our cabin had a double and twin, with a bunk above each, all in the back room. The mattresses were foam, but quite comfortable. Both cabins had decent windows and good heat for the chilly nights.

The store was well-stocked, and the staff were very friendly and helpful. Bathrooms were very clean, even the vault toilets. The bathrooms have no hot water at the sinks. Hot showers are in a nearby building, and $1 gets you 3 minutes of water. Don't expect any electricity, though there are a few outlets in the laundry facility and the restrooms have lights. But the minor inconvenience is more than offset by the amazingly dark, starry skies, and the chance to enjoy the simple company of friends around a campfire.

In addition to walking around the lake, we did a few hikes. Bumpass Hell is very worthwhile, as is Kings Creek Falls. We took a drive out of the park to visit the free Subway Cave, located in Lassen National Forest. It's worth the short 20-minute ride to walk through this lava tube and see yet another way in which volcanic activity created the features of the area.

I would gladly stay here again and hope others are able to experience Lassen and the Manzanita Lake area.

  • Stayed September 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Mirada, California
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2011

This is as relaxing as it can get at a Calfiornia National Park. The cabins are simple, clean, new, and maintained by people who love this place. We spent two nights in #3 cabin. After hiking the manzanita trail and then taking a 1.8 stroll around the lake, the cabin was a special place to rest and recoupe. The sunsets are not to be missed. The wild life around the lake is something that always amazes a city person like me. At sunset there were bats flying and drinking from the lake. In the mornings we watched osprey (raptor) hunt for its breakfast. We are definitely coming back and bringing friends. Note that if sleeping on a hard bed is not your style, bring an air mattress. My husband thought the hard mattress was perfect. I was too tired after hiking to care.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Red Bluff, California
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2011

I stayed with my mother (who has some mobility problems) and son in one of the two room cabins (#13 which is listed as handicapped accessible but is not.) The rest of the family stayed in the campground and much of our time was spent with them at the campsites. Here are my recommendations -

- Because I didn't have a car to lug all my camping gear up, we got the camper package which included cooking utensils, camp stove, ice chest, sleeping bags, and some other items. We brought food and other odd bits like aluminum foil, plastic baggies, etc. The only thing we ended up buying from the store which I wish I had brought myself was paper plates, knives, forks, spoons, and cups. I thought "utensils" met eating utensils but it meant cooking utensils. Treat this as a camping trip minus the tent and you will have all you need.

- Compared to renting a cabin in the local town, these spots are probably overpriced for what you get but it's all about location, location, location. Being right on Manzanita Lake was wonderful. Each morning I sat on the porch with a cup of coffee and watched the lake, the squirrels fighting with one another, deer passing in front of the cabin, etc. Ah, heaven. We had kayaks with us and spent the afternoon at the lake. The view from the middle of the lake is incomparable.

- Next time I go, if family goes with me and camps, they will reserve spots in the "A" loop of the campground since it is closest to the cabins (a fact not easily discernible on any maps I was able to locate.) Loop A is closest, loop D is farthest from the cabins. I will also bring board games and card games to play. I don't usually do this for camping trips since evenings are spent around the fireplace. There are fire rings at the cabin sites but I will be more likely to stay inside after dark since the cabins are so cozy.

I am so glad they built these cabins so that those of us without lots of camping gear can stay inside the park. They are a wonderful addition.

Room Tip: Cabins in the single digits are near the store and will have traffic going by regularly. #11, 12, 13...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2011

I'm really not sure how to rate the cabin. Wish I could give it half a star.

On the plus side:
Location, location, location. We stayed in cabin #1 and from our front door we had a great view of trees and bits of Manzanita Lake. I'm guessing it was about a 100 yard walk to the lake from our front door. Not all of the cabins were as close as ours was, but they weren't much further.

Hot showers (put in quarters - I put in maybe $1.50 or so and had plenty enough time to shower) and flush toilets were a short walk from our cabin. There were other facilities located nearer some of the other cabins, but they didn't have flush toilets. Me - I like plumbing.

Stayed nice and warm at night. And it got fairly chilly at night.

On the negative side:
My boyfriend looked at the bed and remarked that it reminded him of the mattresses in baby cribs. It was that blue plasticy kind of mattress. In all fairness, it wasn't that bad for one night - except the double bed is pushed against a wall. So whoever is sleeping next to the wall has to crawl over the other person if s/he has to go to the bathroom during the night.

Don't forget to bring your own bedding or sleeping bags. A second lantern (you get one with the cabin) will also come in handy.

And rent a kayak and go out on Manzanita Lake. Once your halfway across the lake, turn around and enjoy the view. Trust me on this - you'll love it.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Manzanita Lake Camping Cabins

Address: Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA 96088
Location: United States > California > Lassen Volcanic National Park
Amenities:
Free Parking Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty lodging in Lassen Volcanic National Park
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

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