"The Unknown Beauty of Northern California" Top 5 Page for this destination Lassen Volcanic National Park by Andraf

Lassen Volcanic National Park Travel Guide: 137 reviews and 344 photos

Lassen Volcanic National Park is located in Northern California, about 250 miles north of San Francisco. Since Lassen, Yosemite, and Lake Tahoe are all roughly 4-5 hours away from the San Francisco Bay Area, most people choose to go to Yosemite or Tahoe, leaving Lassen relatively crowd-free, even in the middle of the summer season. Which is a pity, because Lassen has as much to offer and it's one of the most beautiful parks in California.

What I like about Lassen? First, the scenery is a perfect blend of mountains and forests, of deep blue lakes, lush meadows and waterfalls. But the main draw of the park are the volcanic features. Mount Lassen last erupted in 1915 but the area is far from dead. Lassen has a highly active geothermal area, the largest outside Yellowstone National Park. You can see mudpots, thermal pools, steaming fumaroles and signs of thermal activity all around the park - complete with the rotten egg smell from the sulphur pits :-)

Second, there are a lot of things to do at Lassen. Hiking is of course the big attraction here; there are trails for every level ranging from very easy to difficult ones that require overnight stays. Two popular trails are Bumpass Hell and the hike to the top of the Lassen Peak. The Bumpass Hell trail (named after an unfortunate gentleman named Bumpass who lost a leg there) is about 3.5 miles round trip and can be done in 2 hours. Once you reach the end you get to see what makes Lassen such a great place. There are some great photo opportunities of the steaming fumaroles and bubbling streams. This hike is popular, but still it is not crowded. The hike to Lassen Peak is a little mode difficult (more elevation gain), it's longer and evidently takes longer to accomplish. Located in the northeast corner of the park you can also visit a cinder cone. It's rather off the beaten path but once you get there you'll discover an interesting landcape, worthy of the trip. You can also fish and boat at Lassen.

Third, for a national park, Lassen it's not crowded at all. Both times I went to Lassen for the Fourth of July weekend and both times there were very few visitors. We passed a few people on the trail, but not many. It was quiet and peaceful. I went to Yosemite for Memorial Day and it was so crowded one could barely breathe.

The only drawback to Lassen is that the open season is very short. The main road through the park is closed during the winter, as are the campgrounds. I've read that parts of the park are open for cross-country skiing during the winter months, but I didn't try that yet.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Spectacular scenery, interesting volcanic and geological features, no crowds
  • Cons:Closed part of the year because of snow
  • In a nutshell:Beautiful park that offers something for everyone
  • Last visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park: Jul 2002
  • Intro Updated May 14, 2004
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Reviews (10)

Comments (12)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jun 16, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    Lovely page!

    • Andraf's Profile Photo
      Oct 17, 2014 at 1:25 AM

      Thanks Jay. I second Dee, you live in a really beautiful place.

    • Planner4031's Profile Photo
      Oct 17, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      Thank you both. Lassen Park is a gorgeous place.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    That large state you are in holds such differing scenery and a great deal of beauty. This looks like a nice place for me to put on the list of to "see". The pics and tips are good

  • OH_DK's Profile Photo
    Sep 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    Hi Andreea, nice pages here :) - did you know that Lassen was a Danish guy who found an alternative route to California. Have a look: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_...

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Nov 28, 2009 at 12:09 AM

    This area looks like a good alternative to yellowstone if you can't get there. Have enjoyed your tips and nice photos of the area.

  • Jul 24, 2008 at 12:47 PM

    Thank you for the information on Lassen Park. I hope to get up there to see it !

  • 88Starflite's Profile Photo
    Jun 22, 2007 at 8:40 PM

    Thanks for the nice travel page. I saw a show on the park but didn't recall them saying anything about eruptions, but then most folks don't know that Mt. Hood has had eruptions in the last 200+ yrs.

  • madamx's Profile Photo
    Sep 24, 2004 at 6:20 PM

    Looks like a fascinating place to go hiking. I'll have to put it on my travel list. Greetings from Calgary ~ Helen

  • Sep 4, 2004 at 2:45 PM

    This looks a very nice place to hike, great scenery pictures!!!Manzanita Lake looks perfect for paddling and a swim!!

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Aug 2, 2004 at 10:48 AM

    A very nice look at this little gem of a park up there in Northern California. The highway lets the casual visitor explore, but as you aptly note, the person willing to go beyond the car discovers a lot more! Great pictures.

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo
    Jul 14, 2004 at 8:11 AM

    Great trail photos. Lassen really sounds like a park worth exploring, even though it is remote.


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