Trip Report: Medicine Lake & Lava Beds National Monument

by Shasta Cascade on September 18, 2008

Mt. Shasta – I’m always up for exploring new places,  and I try to discover something new each weekend.    Now that I’ve pretty much explored everything within an hour radius of Mt. Shasta, I find that I’m having to drive farther and farther to find new things. In August of 2008, I decided to look for a nice day trip.

Looking at my Rand-McNally map, I could see that Medicine Lake and the Lava Beds National Monument are located to the northeast of Mt. Shasta.   I also noticed that I could potentially do a driving loop from Mt. Shasta that would allow me to hit both destinations, then return along Highway 97 back into Mt. Shasta.  The map below shows the first part of the trip:

Lava Beds National Monument

From McCloud, I headed east on Highway 89 for 16.5 miles and took a left on Forest Route 15/Harris Spring Road, and then drove 26 miles north to Medicine Lake.

Medicine Lake was much larger than I expected it would be, and I could see Mt. Shasta off in the distance. There were a number of sailboats out on the lake.

We could see that there was a campground and a central information center.

We then headed north 20 or so miles to get to the Lava Beds National Monument. When we reached the monument, we were stuck by two things: the views were absolutely incredible: the landscape was relatively flat and you could see for miles, and secondly the heat was searingly hot. We had the air conditioning going full blast, and mostly drove between the attractions in the monument.

We checked out the campsite, but did not stay. It was hot, dusty, and had no tree cover for shade. If you decide to camp here, I would advise avoiding the hot months.

We then exited the north gate of the monument, and headed west until we met up with Highway 97. We then drove south to Weed, and got back on I-5 southbound. We headed east on Highway 89 until we returned home.

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