National Register of Historic Places in Shasta County
When Lassen Volcanic National Park was established in 1916, existing roads in the area were of a low standard and were barely passable to private passenger vehicles. To reach the park in an automobile, visitors had to travel long distances over rough roads that led to the various existing wagon roads and cattle trails leading into the park.
Lassen's scenic attractions, expansive views and volcanic landscapes could be accessed only on horseback or on foot.
The Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway, which was designed in the early 1920s as a recreational pleasure drive, is a linear landscape that extends for almost thirty miles between the south entrance to the park and the north entrance at Manzanita Lake. The highway traverses active geothermal areas, sub-alpine forests, mountain meadows and lava fields, and it remains the primary means by which most visitors experience the park.
The road alignment was designed to display the park's most scenic and geologically interesting areas to automobile tourists. Although the mountainous terrain required extensive use of cut and fill road building techniques to provide scenic vistas, designers ensured that, where possible, existing landscape features were preserved.
Source: Extracted from NRHP nomination submitted in 2006.