Thanksgiving at Highlands Ranch Resort and Lassen National Park

If you are dreaming of a magical mountain Thanksgiving break away from the crowds and an excuse not to cook during the holiday season, look no further than some time spent at Highlands Ranch Resort outside of Lassen National Park.  This “only spot in town” provides opportunity to unplug by a warm fire, soak and relax in a hot tub overlooking Childs Meadow, and the rare chance bond with the people you love the most without the distractions of everyday life.  Thinking you might want to try something similar?  Read on. 


  • Book early!  Booking your trip as early as July/August is recommended if you want to get the best options for lodging.  The resort has five beautiful and new cottages built in 2015, two with hot tubs, that overlook Childs Meadow.  They are well done with heated floors in the bathroom and modern amenities, including gas fire and television.  We don’t recommend staying across the street the Village Inn at Highlands Ranch Resort unless you don’t mind the road traffic; these rooms are very basic and overpriced.  Do prepare yourself to only have WiFi access in the main lodge, bring books and embrace downtime without devices while in your cottage and/or room.  Both locations give you access to a fantastic lodge with a wood burning fire to cozy around, an extensive cocktail/libation menu, great comfort food, and a fun mountain loving vibe.  A good cost saving tip during your stay would be to bring some of your own drinks, beer, wine and/or cocktail mixes as the prices at the lodge are expensive.  If you stay in one of the cottages, breakfasts are complimentary and delicious. 


  • From the Bay Area we recommend taking the longer route and making a stop in Chico.  Take 101 South to 37 to 80 East and then I 5 North to 99 and arrive in Chico.  From Chico take 32 and 36 to get to the resort. Chico is in the Sacramento Valley and known mainly as a college town.  It has Chico Air Museum and Bidwell Mansion as attractions.  We ate at Broadway Heights and enjoyed a lovely Autumn afternoon strolling the main street and doing some early holiday shopping. Our favorite was Urban Couture at 245 Broadway Street.       
  • Coming home to Bay Area, take the 36 into Red Bluff and be prepared to take in some of the most wonderful landscapes California has to offer.  Once in Red Bluff, you can stop in downtown main street and find some fun shops.      


  • Snowshoeing in and around Lassen National Park during off season is delightful.  Pick up some rentals at the Highlands Ranch Resort (inquire at front desk) $30 for half day/$40 for full day and hit the trails.  For inside the park, we recommend Mill Creek Falls trail.  This lovely path winds you down and around the ridge with a sweet little foot bridge crossing a creek and stunning views as you catch yourself in the middle of nowhere with nobody around except you and your family.   
  • Chill by the fire at the lodge, read a book, play sudoku, or card games with your family.  There’s plenty of ambiance to enjoy and a broad menu of choices at the bar and restaurant.  They also have full selection of channels, including important games and news broadcasts if you desire. 
  • Take a walk along the meadow right outside your cottage, move your body and take in some fresh mountain air. 
  • Enjoy the hot tub at your cottage, unwind and take in some evening star gazing before tucking yourself into bed. 

***THANKSGIVING DINNER:  The lodge provides a full spread of Thanksgiving dinner with all the traditional fixings.  Book reservations with the front desk upon booking lodging.

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