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Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park - BEST Places to Picnic

P.O. Box 100
Mineral, CA 96063-0100

Visitor Information
(530) 595-4480

WELCOME to Lassen Volcanic National Park!

To visit Lassen Volcanic National Park is to witness a brief moment in the ancient battle between the earth shaping forces of creation and destruction in Northern California. Nestled within Lassen�s peaceful forests and untouched wilderness, hissing fumaroles and boiling mud pots still shape and change the land, evidence of Lassen�s long fiery and active past.

The eruption of Lassen Peak and what it means

On May 22, 1915, an explosive eruption at Lassen Peak, the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range, devastated nearby areas and rained volcanic ash as far away as 200 miles to the east. This explosion was the most powerful in a 1914-17 series of eruptions that were the most recent to occur in the Cascades prior to the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Lassen Peak is the largest of a group of more than 30 volcanic domes erupted over the past 300,000 years in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Explore the Hydrothermal Areas

Hydrothermal (hot water) features at Lassen Volcanic fascinate visitors to this region of northeastern California. Boiling mud pots, steaming ground, roaring fumaroles, and sulfurous gases are linked to active volcanism and are all reminders of the ongoing potential for eruptions in the Lassen area. Nowhere else in the Cascade Range of volcanoes can such an array of hydrothermal features be seen.

Plan Your Visit

Lassen Volcanic National Park provides a wealth of fun activities that are as varied as the seasons of the park. Due to the high elevation and influence of the Pacific Ocean, the park receives upwards of 40 feet of snow per year. Your access to the interior of the park is dependent upon the winter's total snowfall which influences the spring/summer road opening dates. An approximate description of the seasons in the park is below, keep them in mind as you begin to plan your visit.

Things To Do

Lassen Volcanic National Park's 106,372 acres provide a wealth of fun activities that are as varied as the seasons of the park.

There are over 150 miles of hiking trails within the park which range in difficulty from a strenuous 5 mile round-trip hike up Lassen Peak to a gentle 1.85 mile stroll around Manzanita Lake.
The Main Park Road provides incredible views of the Cascades and High Sierras, as well as access to mountain lakes and active hydrothermal areas.

There are eight campgrounds within Lassen Volcanic National Park, and a large part of Lassen's wilderness is available for wilderness camping with a free permit.

Use the navigation links on the left side to begin exploring the many activites available at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

When planning which activities you want to enjoy while visiting the park, please keep in mind that access to specific trails, or even the park itself, is dependent on the weather and snow conditions. In heavy snow years the park road may open as late as July 21th, but could open as early as May 10th on light snow years. 

For the same reasons, access to many trails may be restricted or limited to those with snowshoes. The Bumpass Hell trail usually does not open until early to mid-July.


American Indians

The Lassen area was a meeting point for at least four American Indian groups: Atsugewi, Yana, Yahi, and Maidu. Because of its weather and snow conditions, generally high elevation, and seasonally mobile deer populations, the Lassen area was not conducive to year-round living. These Native American groups camped here in warmer months for hunting and gathering. Basket makers rather than potters, they left few artifacts other than stone points, knives, and metals. Some of these artifacts are displayed in the Loomis Museum, along with replicas of basketry and hunting devices. Tribal descendents still live in the area and are valuable partners to the park. Members have worked with the National Park Service to provide cultural demonstrations and to help visitors understand both modern and historical tribal culture.

Emigrants and Pioneers

History here generally describes the period from 1840, even though Jedediah Smith passed through in 1828 on his overland trek to the West Coast. California's gold rush brought the first settlers. Two pioneer trails, developed by William Nobles and Peter Lassen, are associated with the park. In 1851, Nobles discovered an alternate route to California, passing through Lassen. Sections of the Lassen and Nobles Emigrant Trail are still visible. Lassen, for whom the park is named, guided settlers near here and tried to establish a city. Mining, power development projects, ranching, and timbering were all attempted. The area's early federal protection saved it from heavy logging.


B.F. Loomis documented Lassen Peak's most recent eruption cycle and promoted the park's establishment. He photographed the eruptions, explored geologically, and developed an extensive museum collection. Artifacts and photographs of the 1914-1915 eruption are on display in the Loomis Museum and are accessible.

Did You Know?
John Muir visited Lassen Volcanic National Park and wrote about his experience in the book Mountains of California. "Miles of its flanks are reeking and bubbling with hot springs, many of them so boisterous and sulphurous they seem ever ready to become spouting geysers..."

Places to Picnic

  • Bumpass Hell
  • Kings Creek
  • Manzanita Lake

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