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

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Drakesbad Guest Ranch
end of Warner Valley Road, Chester, CA 96020   |  
Hotel amenities
Menlo Park, California
Top Contributor
121 reviews 121 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
“An amazing way to enjoy Lassen Volcanic National Park”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 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, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Santa Ynez, CA
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 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, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney,Australia
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 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, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
east coast US
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 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, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 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, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern California
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2009

No phones, newspapers, Internet; or even electricity in the rooms (kerosene lamps are provided), and a few have bathrooms down the hall. Located at the end of an unpaved road from the town of Chester in northeast California. But luxury of a dusty country sort, with three excellent meals a day included, a small heated pool, ping-pong table, croquet set, volleyball court, and two wonderful generous innkeepers and staff. Drakesbad's isolation within Lassen Volcanic Park makes it a great spot for hiking around and out of the Warner Valley, or riding horses you bring or rent at the adjoining stable. Reservations fill up quickly with families who come back year after year, though the occasional cancellation leaves cabins and rooms available on shorter notice. The Pacific Crest Trail passes less than a mile away, so thousand-mile hikers occasionally drop in for a meal, a shower, laundry, or all of the above. It's easy to see why people return here. (The National Park Service is considering making changes to the facilities and the valley ecology, but none of the proposed alternatives appear likely to have a major effect on the ambience of the place, which the NPS says it wants to retain.)

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
piedmont california
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
64 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2009

We stayed four nights at this out of the way down a dirt road retreat. The cabins and bungalows do not have electricity (great kerosene lanterns) so put those cell phones and computers away. They are charming wood cabins with fantastic views over the meadow with the deer roaming by. A great hot springs heated pool which we used every night.
The price includes three meals that are very ample and they aim to please. If you don't want something they will substitute something else. As a vegetarian the meals very delicious and varied. the hiking is marvelous and few people are seen on any trail
Come here isfyou want privacy and isolation. Do not come here is you want the comforts of home.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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

Also Known As:
Drakesbad Guest Ranch Hotel
Drakesbad Guest Ranch Hotel Chester
Address: end of Warner Valley Road, Chester, CA 96020
Location: United States > California > Plumas County > Chester
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty lodging in Chester
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $

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