Lassen Volcanic National Park is a small national park located just outside of Redding, California, about three hours NW of Lake Tahoe, and was stop #3 on our summer California road trip.
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The park ranges in altitude from 5,200′ – 10,000′ (1,730 – 3,333 meters) elevation and offers forested views and barren landscape from historic eruptions. Lassen is still active with boiling mud pots, fumaroles and hot springs (though not the kind you can swim in.) Many parts of the park feel like your’e in a witch’s cauldron, as you can actually hear the bubbling beneath the surface. Be prepared for strong sulfuric smells, too! Summer is the perfect time for wildflowers, however, the California fires are especially bad this year, making the air smoky and thick.
Day Pass: $30 (good for 7 days) or if you have the annual National Park Pass ($80 per year), it’s included.
Here are five of the most popular hiking trails within the park (most trails start at around 8,000′ elevation (2,665 meters), so bring lots of water and wear sunscreen as the sun is strong!
Best Hikes in Lassen Volcanic National Park
- Bumpass Hell Trail (3 miles RT, 300′ elevation gain)
- Ridge Lakes (2 miles, 984′ elevation gain) – good for a thigh burner (park at Sulphur Works)
- Lassen Peak (5.1 miles, 1,968′ elevation gain) – the summit is over 10,000′ elevation, which is what makes this hike more challenging if you’re not used to higher altitudes
- Boiling Springs Lake Trail (2.3 miles, 249′ elevation gain)
- Devil’s Kitchen Trail (4.2 miles, 440′ elevation gain; trail begins at Warner Valley Trailhead)
Bumpass Hell Trail
This is probably the most popular hike in the park, though when we went there were very few people.
Once you reach the sulfur springs there will be a boardwalk. Do not go off trail as the ground can be deceiving and fall through, risking severe burns. There’s a pretty scary story of Mr. Bumpass at the start of the trail that will make you want to stay on the path.
This short two-mile round trip hike goes straight uphill to a shallow lake. While there’s nothing particularly special about this hike, if you want a good thigh-burning workout, this is the one!
Don’t forget to check out Sulphur Works to see boiling, bubbling mud pools before or after your hike, just past the parking lot directly off the road.
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