Lassen Volcanic National Park

Inside this park you'll find an ancient lavascape of hot springs, roiling mud pots, hissing fumaroles, cinder cones and craters, and alpine lakes.
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Lassen Peak reflecting on Manzanita Lake at sunset in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Lassen Peak reflecting on Manzanita Lake at sunset in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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, this largely untrammeled 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.

Bumpass Hill

The super-hot Big Boiler in Bumpass Hell in Lassen Volcanic National Park

The super-hot Big Boiler in Bumpass Hell in Lassen Volcanic National Park

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.

Getting to Lassen Volcanic National Park from Yosemite

6-hour Drive North through Sacramento, California