Lassen Volcanic National Park
An ancient lavascape of hot springs, roiling mud pots, hissing fumaroles, cinder cones and craters, and alpine lakes.
Where the Sierra Nevada mountains end in Northern California, there the Pacific Northwest’s volcanic Cascade Range begins. A 375-mile drive northwest of the Yosemite Valley, the largely untrammeled Lassen Volcanic National Park is ringed by conifer forests. But inside you’ll find an ancient lavascape of hot springs, roiling mud pots, hissing fumaroles, cinder cones and craters, and alpine lakes.
Hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, mountain climbing, and canoeing and kayaking are favorite outdoor activities here. The main park road is usually snowbound from November through April, although it remains open to adventurous backcountry skiers during that time. In winter, you can also go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding.
In 2021, some areas of the park were affected by the Dixie Fire. Learn about what to expect during your visit at www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/visit-after-dixie-fire.htm.
Bumpass Hell is the largest area of geothermal features in Lassen Volcanic National Park, and is part of the region once covered by the ancient volcano Mount Tehama. The basin received its curious name from a disgruntled explorer, Kendall Bumpass, who lost a leg after falling into a boiling pool in 1864. You can reach this spot today from one of three paths: a 1.5 mile trail that starts from a parking area opposite Lake Helen, The road 2 miles south of Lassen Peak (mile marker 17), or by a less-used, 2.5 mile path from the Kings Creek picnic area.
Bumpass Hell is definitely one of the highlights of the park, and there is more to see here than at the other easily-reached thermal area Sulphur Works, along the highway.
How Far is Lassen Volcanic National Park from Yosemite?
It’s a 6-hour drive north from Yosemite to Lassen Volcanic routing through Sacramento, California.
For more information, visit the NPS website at www.nps.gov/lavo/.