Bask in the shadow of the Cascades as you explore the high desert and hot springs.
On the outskirts of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, in the shadow of Chalk Mountain and Bald Peak, lies Big Bend and its glorious wilderness. Set in Shasta County along the Pit River (the longest tributary to the Sacramento River), Big Bend is named for the dramatic change of direction that occurs in the river exactly in that spot. Majestic Cascade Mountains and wide-open, scenic, high-desert vistas await all around with camping, backpacking, boating, and day hiking opportunities. Not to mention, Big Bend and the surrounding region are hotbeds (pun intended) for natural hot springs. Mount Shasta, Lassen National Volcanic Park, and Castle Crags State Park all await within a two-hour drive.
Big Bend is quite literally a hotbed for natural hot springs, with several st along the Pit River. While there’s no guarantee if or when any particular hot spring will be open, the adventurous can certainly find a spot of their own.
If you’re already in the Big Bend area of Shasta County, Lassen National Volcanic Park, Castle Crags State Park, and Burney Falls are all within a two-hour drive and worth the trek for an incredible camping trip. Hike above 10,000 feet on Mt. Brokeoff or Mt. Lassen in Lassen National Park, make your way up the rough-but-beautiful rock “crags” at Castle Crags, or unwind next to the picturesque natural waterfalls in Burney, enjoying the scenic drives along the way.
Beyond the Pit River, the Iron Canyon Reservoir sits near Big Bend and offers both canoeing and float tubing. In addition to dispersed camping, there are two designated campgrounds as well: Deadlun Campground and Hawkins Landing Campground.
Big Bend sits at approximately 1,700 feet above sea level, so while it gets cold in winter, it’s unlikely you’ll be snowed in. Its nearby destinations like Lassen and Mount Shasta, however, put visitors above treeline with the potential to be in need of tire chains fast. In mountain ranges such as the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, trekking is typically safest between Memorial Day and Labor Day for favorable weather and clear roads. Campgrounds in this area’s popular locations are most difficult to obtain in the summertime and over holiday weekends, so it’s best to book in advance online.