Feeling the Heat: Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Manzanita Lake with Lassen Peak in the background

We did it, ladies and gentlemen!  We started at the peak of the east coast and we’ve finally reached California!  The journey is coming close to an end.  But never fear, there is plenty more in store as we take to the west coast.  This week, I present you with Lassen Volcanic National Park in the northeastern corner of California.  Many people immediately think of Yosemite or Yellowstone when it comes to parks in California but I’m here to tell you that there is far more to California than these two.  You might never have heard of Lassen before but after today, I promise you, it will shoot to the top of your list on places you want to visit.

From every angle you look at Lassen Volcanic, the views are absolutely breathtaking.  Home to the every single type of volcano in the world, the features of this park may take weeks to fully explore.  According to the National Park Service, every single rock in the park originates from the volcanoes.  The volcanoes in the area are currently dormant but surrounding the area are steaming lakes, boiling springs, and bubbling mudpots that are constant reminders of the 825,000 years of active volcanoes that have shaped this land.

But beyond its unique volcanic environment, this park is also located in the gorgeous Cascade mountains, which means there are plenty of sights to see once we get there.  For the best view of the Lassen peak, a walk around Manzanita lake might be the best way to begin.  Pictured above, this is perhaps one of the greatest natural landscapes one could imagine- and I’ve heard it’s even better at sunset.  Go fishing, kayaking, or swimming as you look on at an actual volcano!

Bumpass Hell Trail

Bumpass Hell Trail

Once you’ve had the time to marvel at the landscape, though, it’s definitely time to explore.  The best introduction to the hydrothermal environment of the park is through the Bumpass Hell trail, which meanders through the steam jets of the volcanoes in a path that appears to be out of a science fiction movie.  Take a walk, explore this active geothermal area, and work out those hiking boots.  It will be a hike unlike anything you’ve ever encountered.

The Boiling Springs Lake Trail, on the other hand, takes you out across a meadow to visit another of the park’s geothermal features: the lake that stays at a toasty 125 degrees.  After a visit to the Warner Valley meadow, which is surrounded by lush evergreen forests, you’ll get a better view of the more rustic side of the park.  And though the lake is certainly too hot for a dip, check it out anyway.  It offers yet another look at how all these volcanoes have made this park what it is.

After that, folks, you can cross “see a real volcano” off your bucket list.  You’re already experts at this point; we’ve traveled all the way across the country to get here!  You all deserve a break.  Have a nice rest by the lake or wherever you choose is best.  Only two more parks to go- are your boots broken in yet?

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3 responses to “Feeling the Heat: Lassen Volcanic National Park

  1. This is such a beautiful region of the country, and this park is testament to that. This would definitely be a great location to check “see a volcano” off on my bucket list at. I love kayaking, and kayaking in the sight of a volcano would be incredible. Geothermal features are so fascinating, and this would be a fantastic park to explore such features at.

  2. Katelin Shay Quanbeck

    I’ve never visited a real volcano, but I sure would like to! This park sounds beautiful–and maybe somewhere we wouldn’t want to visit in the summer, with all those geothermal lakes and fissures! I definitely think the Bumpass Hell Trail would be a good place to start if I ever visited; just from the picture it looks pretty amazing! I wonder how safe the park is though; “dormant” volcano is not the same thing as “extinct” volcano!

  3. I have previously visited a dormant volcano in Philippines. It was nothing short of a spectacle. The steams and bubbles add to their beauty. After reading this post, I definitely believe that this one looks way better than the one I saw, primarily because of the size of this one.

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