Discover Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Welcome to Lassen Volcanic National Park: a captivating blend of geothermal wonders and serene landscapes nestled in the heart of northern California. Encompassing over 100,000 acres, this natural marvel stands as a testament to the powerful forces that shape our planet. From steaming fumaroles to crystal-clear lakes, the park offers a unique opportunity to witness the dynamic forces of nature at work.

Named after the majestic Lassen Peak, the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range, this national park boasts a rich geological history dating back thousands of years. Visitors are drawn to its diverse array of hydrothermal features, including bubbling mud pots, hissing steam vents, and colorful hot springs, each painting a picture of the Earth’s restless energy.

But Lassen Volcanic National Park is not only a showcase of geological wonders; it is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking tranquility and adventure. Miles of hiking trails wind through lush forests, across meadows carpeted with wildflowers, and past breathtaking vistas. Whether you’re embarking on a challenging summit climb or enjoying a leisurely stroll, every step reveals a new facet of this captivating landscape.


Top 3 Facts About Lassen Volcanic National Park


Volcanic Wonderland

Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to all four types of volcanoes found in the world: shield, composite, cinder cone, and plug dome. This makes it a unique destination for geologists and volcano enthusiasts alike.


Active Volcanism

Despite being in a relatively quiet phase, Lassen Peak last erupted between 1914 and 1917, making it one of the few volcanoes in the contiguous United States to have erupted in the 20th century. Signs of its volcanic activity, such as fumaroles and hot springs, are still evident throughout the park.


Bumpass Hell

One of the park’s most famous hydrothermal areas, Bumpass Hell features a diverse array of geothermal features, including boiling mud pots, roaring steam vents, and colorful hot springs. It’s named after Kendall Bumpass, a 19th-century explorer who famously lost a leg after falling into one of the area’s boiling pools.

Camping and transportation in Lassen Volcanic National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Lassen Volcanic National Park

Getting to Lassen Volcanic National Park is relatively straightforward, but it depends on where you’re coming from. Here are some common routes:

  • By Car: If you’re coming from the north or south, take Interstate 5 to Red Bluff, California, then head east on Highway 36 or Highway 44 respectively, depending on your location. From the east or west, take Highway 36 or Highway 44 directly to the park. Both highways provide access to the main entrance of the park.
  • From Sacramento: If you’re starting from Sacramento, the capital of California, take Interstate 5 north to Red Bluff, then follow Highway 36 east to the park.
  • From Reno, Nevada: If you’re traveling from the east, such as Reno, Nevada, take Highway 395 north to Susanville, then head west on Highway 36 to the park.
  • From San Francisco Bay Area: For those coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, take Interstate 80 east to Sacramento, then follow the directions from Sacramento as mentioned earlier.

Places to Stay Near Lassen Volcanic National Park

There are several options for accommodation and camping near Lassen Volcanic National Park to suit various preferences and budgets:

  • Campgrounds within the Park: Lassen Volcanic National Park offers several campgrounds, including Manzanita Lake Campground, Summit Lake Campground, and Butte Lake Campground. These campgrounds typically offer basic amenities such as restrooms, picnic tables, and fire rings. Reservations are recommended, especially during the peak summer months.
  • Manzanita Lake Camping Cabins: Located within Lassen Volcanic National Park, the Manzanita Lake Camping Cabins provide a rustic lodging experience with the convenience of beds, heating, and electricity. These cabins offer a comfortable alternative to traditional camping for those who prefer a roof over their heads.
  • National Forest Campgrounds: Surrounding the park are several campgrounds managed by the U.S. Forest Service, such as Hat Creek Campground and Bogard Campground. These campgrounds offer a range of amenities and are generally first-come, first-served.
  • Private Campgrounds: There are private campgrounds located outside the park boundaries, offering additional amenities such as showers, laundry facilities, and recreational activities. Examples include Lassen RV Resort and Mt. Lassen / Shingletown KOA.
  • Lodges and Cabins: Nearby towns like Chester, Red Bluff, and Mineral offer various lodges, cabins, and vacation rentals for those seeking more comfortable accommodations. These options often include amenities such as Wi-Fi, kitchens, and private bathrooms.
  • Backcountry Camping: For adventurous visitors, backcountry camping is allowed in designated areas within the park. Permits are required, and campers must follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize their impact on the environment.
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Best Time to Go to Lassen Volcanic National Park



Summer is the peak season for visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park, offering warm temperatures and long daylight hours for outdoor activities. All areas of the park are typically accessible during this time, making it ideal for hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Wildflowers continue to bloom, adding bursts of color to the landscape, while alpine lakes provide refreshing spots for swimming and picnicking. However, summer crowds can be significant, especially on weekends and holidays, so visitors should plan to arrive early to secure parking and avoid congestion on popular trails and attractions.



Winter transforms Lassen Volcanic National Park into a serene winter wonderland, blanketing the landscape with snow and ice. While many park facilities close for the season, winter enthusiasts can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling on designated trails. The park’s geothermal features, such as steam vents and hot springs, create mesmerizing scenes of steam rising against the snowy backdrop. Winter also offers opportunities for peaceful solitude, with fewer visitors in the park compared to other seasons. However, visitors should be prepared for cold temperatures and snowy conditions, and some roads and facilities may be inaccessible due to winter closures.



Spring is a beautiful time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park as the snow begins to melt, revealing vibrant wildflowers blooming across the meadows and valleys. Waterfalls surge with the runoff from melting snow, creating stunning displays of cascading water. Trails gradually become more accessible as the snow melts, offering opportunities for hiking and exploration. Wildlife emerges from winter hibernation, providing excellent opportunities for spotting animals such as black bears, deer, and a variety of bird species. However, visitors should be prepared for variable weather conditions, including lingering snow at higher elevations and potential road closures due to snowmelt runoff.

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Must-See Attractions

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Lassen Peak

Rising to an elevation of 10,457 feet (3,187 meters), Lassen Peak is the largest plug dome volcano in the world and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Hiking to the summit is a popular activity, providing a challenging yet rewarding experience for adventurers.

Bumpass Hell

This hydrothermal area is one of the park’s most famous attractions, featuring boiling mud pots, roaring steam vents, and colorful hot springs. The Bumpass Hell Trail offers a 3-mile (4.8 km) round-trip hike through this otherworldly landscape.

Manzanita Lake

With its tranquil waters and stunning views of Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake is a favorite spot for picnicking, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. The Reflection Lake Trail offers a leisurely stroll around the lake, providing opportunities for photography and birdwatching.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Lassen Volcanic National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Take time to plan your visit, including which attractions you want to see, hiking trails you want to explore, and where you’ll stay. Consider making reservations for campgrounds or lodging in advance, especially during peak season.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Appropriately

Be sure to pack essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, and sturdy footwear. If you’re planning to hike, bring a map, compass, and any necessary gear for the trail conditions.

Respect Wildlife

Be Bear Aware

Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to black bears, so it’s important to store food and scented items properly to prevent attracting wildlife. Follow all bear safety guidelines and use bear-proof containers when camping or picnicking.

Stay Informed

Check Current Conditions

Before you go, check the park’s website or contact the visitor center for updates on road closures, trail conditions, and weather forecasts. Conditions can change rapidly, especially in the winter and spring months.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Lassen Volcanic National Park

The best time to visit is typically from late spring to early fall when most roads, trails, and facilities are open and accessible. However, each season offers its own unique experiences, so the best time depends on your interests and preferences.

Yes, there is an entrance fee to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park. The fee varies depending on the type of entrance pass you purchase, such as a single vehicle pass, motorcycle pass, or individual pass. Annual passes are also available for those planning multiple visits to national parks.

Yes, there are several campgrounds within the park offering tent and RV camping. Additionally, there are cabins available for rent at Manzanita Lake. Lodging options such as hotels, motels, and vacation rentals can also be found in nearby communities.

Lassen Volcanic National Park offers a wide range of activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, photography, stargazing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ranger-led programs.

Visitors should be aware of potential hazards such as sudden weather changes, steep terrain, wildlife encounters, and volcanic activity. It’s essential to stay on marked trails, carry plenty of water, dress appropriately for the weather, and follow all safety guidelines provided by park rangers.

No, collecting rocks, minerals, or other geological specimens is prohibited within the park. It’s illegal to remove or disturb any natural or cultural resources, including rocks, plants, animals, and artifacts.

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