Reno to Hat Creek

Heading north on US 395 from Reno starts with a tour on the north skirts of Peavine Peak (8260′ the title picture is Peavine from the east). There is a bit of a grade over to Cold Springs and Bordertown but it is short. After crossing over to California, you follow Long Creek all the way to Honey Lake along the east side of Diamond Mountains. East of Doyle are the Fort Sage Mountains and north of that is the Sierra Army Depot in Honey Lake Valley.

Approaching the big town of Susanville (or wikipedia), one of the oldest communities in this neck of the woods, you pick up the Susan River (water quality report, Bizz Johnson Trail and more about the 18 mile trail along an abandonded railway). This is followed out of town on CA 36 which is a rather steep grade right on the eastern edge of town.

Susanville is probably the place to gas up en route. There are several stations along both sides of the main drag but none of them are really RV friendly. CaliforniaGasPrices.com hasn’t any reports of prices at last check. A list of stations with phone numbers doesn’t render right in Firefox but might be a resource if you really have to call ahead to check. MSN might have some data or check the SNUZE entry. Count on twenty cents or more per gallon than in Reno.

Highway 36 heads over towards Lake Almanor where it joins CA 89 for a spell on its way to Red Bluff. 89 goes north through Lassen National Park, another way to get to Hat Creek, or south to Truckee and Lake Tahoe. The pass through Lassen is at 8512′ and Lassen Peak is at 10457′ – closed in winter, the Lassen Peak Road is not one to take on a whim in an RV.

Just a couple of miles out of Susanville on CA 36 you pass route A1 that goes over Eagle Lake Summit (6340 ft) and around Eagle Lake to join back up with CA 139 coming north out of Susanville. Route A1 is OK for most RV’s if you don’t mind first gear, a lot of curves, and aren’t in a hurry.

A couple of miles past A1 on CA 36 is the CA 44 turnoff opposite Cheney Creek, a walk in campground. CA 44 is a 52 mile run from Susanville to Hat Creek and CA 89. It travels through Lassen National Forest going around the northwest side of Lassen Peak.

CA 44 runs on the south side of Rhoop Mountain (7608′) and then along the north side of McCoy Flat Reservoir (5356′). A little farther on is a rest stop near the USFS Bogard Work Center. 44 then heads through Gray’s valley and around Poison Butte (6367′) towards the Hat Creek Rim. There is a scenic overlook and Pacific Coast Trail head at the edge of the rim before the road takes a dive off the rim and around the Devil’s Halfacre to terminate at the intersection with CA 89.

Just north of this intersection of CA 44 with CA 89 is Cave campground and the Subway Cave. Just south is a visitor’s information center, the community of Old Station, and the Hat Creek campground. These are near the headwaters of Hat Creek as it heads north along CA 89 22 miles to the intersection with CA 299 and then on to Lake Britton and the Pitt River down to the Sacramento River.

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