On the subject of uncrowded Nationwide Parks, the West doesn’t have many. Contemplating how Yosemite, Zion, and extra are receiving file customer numbers, how great is it to have the ability to go to Lassen Volcanic Nationwide Park, the place it’s possible you’ll not see others on the path in any respect within the evenings and early mornings? It’s the least-visited nationwide park in California, and it doesn’t disappoint.

There’s a lot to like about Lassen, and after spending a number of days there, I’ve acquired the right Lassen Volcanic Nationwide Park itinerary for you, with some choices so you possibly can construct your individual good go to and itinerary:

Ridge Lakes Hike

There are lots of beautiful lakes that you just’ll discover close to the southern park entrance (close to the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Customer Middle), however after images of all of them, I settled on the Ridge Lakes hike.

It’s a brief however surprisingly steep 1 mile (every means) hike as much as a glittering inexperienced lake. I noticed deer chasing one another round on the lake edge, numerous wildflowers, and loads of birds.

Given Lassen is conveniently in the course of nowhere, it’s superb for star gazing as nicely. Decide any lake within the park for a beautiful view, though Ridge Lakes is good and excessive, providing you with an excellent view of the sky.

Need one thing simpler? Take a look at the Crystal Lake Path (1 mile), and the Terrace, Shadow, and Cliff Lakes hike (3 miles, however with three lakes!)

Lassen Peak

Probably the most well-known function of Lassen Volcanic Nationwide Park is definitely Lassen Peak, or Mount Lassen. It’s the the southernmost lively volcano within the Cascade Vary, with its most up-to-date eruption occurring in 1917.

I don’t learn about you, however I discovered it loopy to be casually sitting throughout from a volcano that erupted a mere 100-ish years earlier than whereas at Lake Helen at its base (extra on that attractive cease subsequent).

The hike up Lassen peak is a barren, uncovered climb of almost 2000 toes over simply 2.5 miles up, and again down once more. Should you can handle it, this hike is greatest accomplished for the dawn, watching because the solar illuminates the park and past. Better of all, you do the climb earlier than the recent solar is up!

I selected to hike Brokeoff Mountain as a substitute, because it’s thought of to have the higher view between the 2 hikes. It’s barely longer with extra elevation acquire, as we’ll focus on later.

Lake Helen

Lake Helen is among the clearest, most beautiful alpine lakes you possibly can hope to search out. With such an ideal number of lakes within the park, you’re spoiled for alternative, however Helen is pleasingly easy, because it’s a roadside pull off with none mountaineering required.

The lake offers the right mirror of Lassen Peak, significantly within the early morning when it’s nonetheless and quiet. I cherished it in the course of the scorching afternoon for a dip, too. Plan on the water being tremendous chilly – it’s snowmelt in any case – however on a scorching summer time’s afternoon it’s good for cooling off.

There’s restricted roadside parking on either side of Lassen Peak Freeway, but when that’s full, you may as well park at Bumpass Hell and stroll over. There’s a transparent break within the path after a couple of quarter of a mile.

Please wash off any sunscreen earlier than getting into the pristine lake.

Brokeoff Mountain

These within the know contemplate this hike the crown jewel of Lassen, relatively than Lassen Peak. That’s to not say that Lassen Peak isn’t superb – it’s – however for those who solely choose one, make it Brokeoff.

I cherished that I may gaze out at Lassen Peak from the summit of Brokeoff, together with views all the way in which to Shasta.

This hike can also be much less fashionable than Lassen Peak, and after I hiked up for sundown in early July, I solely handed two different individuals who had been on the way in which down. I used to be the one one on the summit watching that incredible sundown unfold, and it was magical.

Not like Lassen Peak, Brokeoff additionally affords extra path variety, with a wooded and flowery part close to the underside with streams, adopted by a steady uphill climb that, for those who go within the early night, will likely be totally on the shady aspect of the mountain. The path is 7.6 miles out and again with a 2,582 foot climb, so be ready for an ideal exercise with only a few flat elements.

Keep in mind that you’re already at altitude while you begin, so give your self loads of time. I used to be shocked that it took me two and a half hours (however I used to be filming and photographing loads alongside the way in which, which considerably slows issues down).

The trailhead is south of the southern park entrance, which makes it a handy choice for these coming from the route of Redding.

Bumpass Hell

If Lassen Peak is probably the most well-known function of the park, then Bumpass Hell have to be a detailed second.

It looks like it have to be an city legend, however I used to be shocked to search out that the park literature confirms that this path was named after a person named Bumpass who fell and burned himself within the scorching, boiling panorama, making it his private hell.

You may’t make these items up.

This path is a simple 2.7 mile meander up a beautiful mountainside, previous Lake Helen, and as much as the boardwalk. Clearly, follow the established path lest you get burned like Mr. Bumpass.

You too can mix this with different trails within the space. I like to recommend going proper after dawn, as you’ll possible have the path all to your self.

Even higher, get to the parking zone simply earlier than dawn, watch because the solar illuminates Brokeoff Mountain, and hike the path simply after. After I did this, I used to be the one one watching the dawn and one among just a few on the Bumpass Hell path.

Manzanita Lake Loop

The most well-liked and well-known space to camp within the park, Manzanita Lake affords companies like gasoline, a comfort retailer, paid tenting (although you possibly can free camp within the nationwide forest, extra on that later), and naturally, lake entry. Phrase on the road is this can be a nice dawn spot, although I didn’t check it myself.

Honorable Mentions

The above itinerary takes you to many of the fashionable spots, and is probably the most handy method to do it for those who’re coming from west of the park and accessing it via the south entrance. That mentioned, there are a number of extra stops that I needed I had time for:

Boiling Springs Lake +Terminal Geyser

How can a lake be this opaque and inexperienced?! It’s one of the crucial distinctive options of the park, with a lake that’s a cross between white and turquoise. There are a selection of steam vents below the lake, retaining it at 125 levels F.

You may hike to only this lake and minimize out the geyser, making it a neater, 2 mile hike with solely a 200 foot climb.

Satan’s Kitchen

This space is harking back to Bumpass Hell, however with fewer folks. You may add it onto the Boiling Springs and Terminal Geyser hike, making this 11 miles spherical journey.

Kings Creek Falls

I used to be unhappy to overlook this hike throughout my time in Lassen, and together with Boiling Springs, this will likely be on my record for after I return. The two.7 mile hike takes you up 472 toes in elevation with a good looking waterfall view in your return hike.

Mill Creek Falls

This hike will take you up, down, and up once more, however the waterfall view on the finish (pictured above) is what makes it value it. Plan on 3.8 miles out and again.


The place must you camp? I selected to do that journey final minute, so tenting within the Nationwide Forest simply south of Lassen Volcanic Nationwide Park (in Lassen Nationwide Forest) was my solely tenting choice. It’s superb to me that there’s free, dispersed tenting so near the park.

Needless to say there aren’t any companies while you free camp. You’ll have to carry your individual water, shelter, and meals, and should pack out your trash and human waste. That mentioned, I didn’t see one other particular person virtually all day at my campsite, and was surrounded by attractive towering sugar pines with the world’s largest pinecones.

Take highway 29N22 to search out dispersed tenting. Needless to say there are just a few spots accessible to non high-clearance autos. You’ll need a 4WD truck or not less than a high-clearance automobile for many of the forest roads, as they’re not maintained and will be very rocky. These spots are first-come, first served and might’t be reserved upfront. There are further choices on the north finish of the park as nicely.

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