The tiny logging town of Chester, 30 miles from the southwest park entrance on Highway 36, serves as the commercial center for the Lake Almanor area. With a population of about 2,100, it contains a handful of accommodations and services and is a good base for exploring the park. Susanville, population 18,000, a high-desert town 35 miles east of Chester, has some basic motels and restaurants. Red Bluff, population 14,000, blends Old West toughness and late-1800s gentility: restored Victorians line the streets west of Main Street, while the downtown looks like a stage set for a Western. Red Bluff is a good place to stock up before heading into the park; it's 52 miles from Lassen's southwest entrance via Highway 36.
With a population of 92,000, Redding is the largest city in far Northern California and the area's main commercial center. Redding is 32 miles north of Red Bluff via Interstate 5, and 50 miles west of the park's northwest entrance via Highway 44.
Red Bluff and Redding have the most accommodations and services in the area; each is an hour's drive from the park.