Lassen Volcanic National Park is California’s Yellowstone. One of its main attractions is Lassen Peak, which is one of two volcanoes in the continental U.S. to erupt during the 20th-century.
Despite its menacing past, however, Lassen Peak remains one of the most accessible volcanoes in the Cascades. The peak also has the distinction of being the world’s biggest plug dome volcano and the southernmost volcano in the Cascade Range.
The entire area around the peak, including multiple points in the park itself, is still an active volcanic spot, with hazards such as geothermal mud pots, steam vents, and bubbling hot springs.
Things to Do Lassen Volcanic National Park
A good place to start your trip is at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, which is located at the Southwest entrance to the park. Here visitors will learn about the best places to enjoy in and around Lassen Volcanic National Park.
The visitor center features an exhibit hall where tourists can unearth the area’s natural wonders and the volcanic past of the park, and even watch a brief 20-minute film that chronicles the history and geology of the area.
Inside the visitor center are Lassen Café & Gift, where tourists can stop for a coffee and souvenir, and the Lassen Association Bookstore which carries a wide variety of maps and trail guides.
Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway runs through the center of the park and gives visitors easy access to many of Lassen’s most popular attractions. If you only have one day to visit then this is the route you should take. Highlights include Sulphur Works, Bumpass Trail, Lassen Peak Trail, Summit Lake, Hat Creek, and Manzanita Lake.
If you are planning on spending several days camping at the park we suggest visiting the Cinder Cone Volcano trail, Boiling Springs Lake, Butte Lake, and the Warner Valley area.
Bumpass Hell Trail
This trail is only six miles from the southwest entrance and one of the most popular places to visit in the park. This three-mile round-trip hike takes visitors through the largest hydrothermal area in the park. A raised boardwalk lets hikers get an up-close look at the steaming pools, and boiling mud pots. Pets are not allowed on any of the hiking trails in the park for obvious reasons.
Sulphur Works’ hydrothermal area is adjacent to the park’s main highway. A paved wheelchair-accessible trail passes by several boiling mud pots. The smell of sulfur can be a little overwhelming but Sulphur Works is well worth a look.
Lassen Peak Trail
Hiking to the summit of Lassen Peak is not an easy as it looks. The hike to the top and back is a little under 5 miles and will take the average hiker 3-5 hours to complete. There is no shade on this trail so be sure to use sunscreen and bring plenty of water. park visitors that reach the summit will be rewarded with amazing views of Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Located 17 miles from the Southwest entrance to the park, Summit lake has two popular campgrounds with a total of 94 campsites. Popular activities at the lake include fishing, hiking, and sightseeing.
Located at the park’s northwestern corner and boasts some of the area’s most breathtaking views of Lassen Peak. There are cabins and the Manzanita Lake Campground where visitors can take in the mountain vistas, and spend hot summer days swimming, kayaking, and fishing. There’s a camp store located near the lake that offers gas, groceries, a Laundromat, hot showers, and other conveniences.
Where is Lassen Volcanic National Park
A vehicle pass is required for all vehicles entering the park. Northwest Entrance: From Redding, California: The Northwest entrance is approximately 50 miles east on Highway 44. Southwest Entrance: From Red Bluff, California: The Southwest entrance is approximately 45 miles east on Highway 36.