Drakesbad Guest Ranch is a historic hot spring resort in the picturesque wilderness of the Warner Valley at the southeastern part of Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Series of hot springs emerge at 140°F from the hill side just across Hot Springs Creek. Hot mineral water is cooled down naturally and piped into the swimming pool. The pool temperature is maintained between 95° during day hours and 103° at night. Light water chlorination is used.
Drakesbad Guest Ranch history is dated back to the 1880s when it was founded by a local trapper and miner Edward R. Drake. He operated a tavern for local miners, but once mining operations declined, he moved to Prattville. He spent winters in Prattville while moving back to the ranch during summer where he kept cattle. In 1900 Edward R. Drake sold his ranch to Alexander Sifford.
Initially, Alexander Sifford came to the area to use mineral water to relive his nervous exhaustion. After a three day stay, he ended up buying the property from Drake but permitted Drake to still use the area. Alexander Sifford and his wife Ida Sifford expanded infrastructure previously build by Edward R. Drake and established a guest ranch.
Sifford family kept improving the ranch and well as surrounded area by building a kitchen, dining room as well as twenty tent platforms. Also, they started to harvest hay in drained willow flats around the property. Four cabins and fishing pound were built by 1936 to farther improve the property. Unfortunately, in the winter of 1937-1938 heavy snowstorms caused serious damage to most buildings on the property and even washed out the pound.
The property has to be rebuilt and a new lodge was constructed in a record time of just ten days. Later improvements were made and by 1952 the Drakesbad Guest Ranch consisted of 28 structures including lodge, kitchen, dining hall, swimming pool, cabins, utility buildings and so on. Unfortunately, after the death of Ida Sifford and illness her daughter Pearl the Sifford family decided to sell the ranch.
The ownership of the ranch was passed to Don Hummel and the Park Service. Sifford's family continued to help in the ranch operations up until 1958. In the 1960s, most of the infrastructure on the property was rebuilt and the majority of earlier buildings were demolished. Despite a long history with both ups and downs, Drakesbad Guest Ranch still keeps its doors open for visitors and tourists.
In addition to bathing in hot mineral water, visitors of Drakesbad Guest Ranch can enjoy a variety of other recreational activities available in the area. These activities include but not limited to fishing, hiking, swimming, horseback riding or simply enjoying nature.
The ranch offers both day use and overnight stay. For an overnight stay, visitors can book one of the multiple cabins and bungalows. A variety of activities such as hiking, horseback riding, swimming and fishing can be accessible at the ranch or right outside of it. However, be advised that activities such as massage or horseback riding have to be reserved in advance. Reservations are required for day visitors. Do not park at Drakesbad Guest Ranch unless you have paid for lodging or order some services and activities as a guest (dining, horseback riding, or massage).
Due to high elevation and severe winter conditions, the ranch is open a few months at the beginning of June through October, weather dependant. Contact Drakesbad Guest Ranch for current information.
Lassen Volcanic National Park - Things to Do & See
Known as California’s Yellowstone, Lassen Volcanic National Park offers opportunities to discover many amazing geological features including bubbling mud vent, steaming fumaroles, and boiling ponds.
You can hike to the top of Lassen Peak (5 miles round trip), Devastated Area (0.5 miles round trip), Brokeoff Mountain (7.4 miles round trip), Cinder Cone Volcano (4 miles tound trip), Bumpass Hell (3 miles round trip), Devils Kitchen (4.2 miles round trip), Boiling Springs Lake (3 miles round trip), Kings Creek Falls (2.3 miles round trip).
Manzanita Lake and Campground is located at the northeastern part of Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Drakesbad Guest Ranch Hot Springs | Facts
Location: 16.8 miles northwest of Chester • California • USA
Open: Early June to mid-October
Services: Restaurant, massage, horseback riding
Hiking distance: Short
Road Access: Any vehicle when the road is open
Restrictions: No camping, no fires, no dogs
Day-use fees: Order services or activities at the ranch
Elevation: 5,700 ft (1,737 m)
From CA-36 in Chester,
- Take Feather River Drive and travel 0.7 miles northwest to the fork
- Bear left and travel 16 miles on Chester Warner Valley Road to the ranch.
On the forks bear left or follow the signs.
Google Map does not provide the correct navigation to the ranch. Follow driving directions provided above.
Address: 14423 Chester Warner Valley Road, Chester, CA 96020
Phone (for reservation): (877) 622-0221
National Park Service
Hot Springs: N 40°26.554' W 121°24.201' | 40.44257, -121.40335
Drakesbad Guest Ranch: N 40°26.554' W 121°24.201' | 40.44257, -121.40335