Get ready to confront nature like no other. Get ready to experience your wildest dreams. So you do not want to be tied up behind a cubicle your whole life? Fear not, the Lassen Volcanic National Park offers you the journey of a lifetime. From auto-touring to bird watching to kayaking and boating, it is not just a park; it’s a complete adventure zone. But remember, all this is not for the faint-hearted.
Do you think you are fitter than your peers? How about a little backpacking trip in the area? The east side of the park is full of trail loops, which allows you to choose between day-long and week-long trips. However, steer clear of camping near hydrothermal areas. In fact, state law prohibits camping within 1/4 mile of any such feature. In such cases, it is better to set up camping nearby and go for a day long trip to the hydrothermal features.
You might have heard of boiling pools and mud pots but the ones at Lassen Volcanic National Park are by far, the most dangerous of the lot. So if danger is your calling, don’t forget to visit Bumpass Hell and Sulphur Works. Just remember, never to sway from the established tracks. Many tourists have been fatally injured while treading on thin crust. Even though the ground may appear solid, it can easily give way to pools of boiling acidic water or mud.
A 3-mile round-trip hike will take you to Bumpass Hell, home to the area’s largest hydrothermal activity. Avoid the narrow straits of hell as you walk through a guided tour of a 16-acre field of steam vents, pools and mud pots. Little Hot Springs Valley and Pilot Pinnacle are the chief sights of this area.
Another wonderful sight you cannot miss is the Devil’s Kitchen. Hike off to Warner Valley to get close to the boiling cauldrons of this area! This is the closest to Hell you will ever get, some say.
If hot bubbles are not your thing, how about a short trip to a cold bubble bath? The Cold Boiling Lake is a short hike from King’s Creek Picnic Area. True to its name, cold bubbles rise like soda water from the deep waters of this lake. Care for a sip? Bring your bottle.
Even though hydrothermal areas are a big sight in the area, part of the attraction also stems from hiking, snowshoeing at Manzanita Lake area, and winter activities as camping and snow play. Skiing is also a major activity. Even though the highway closes by mid-November, the park is accessible all year round. Winter offers you a remarkable opportunity to see a quieter side of the park, where you can enjoy with your family.
Various ranger-led programmes are available throughout the year for children as well as grownups. There are a lot of options so make sure you choose a plan of your preference from the itinerary on the Park website. The Lassen Volcanic National Park offers some of the best treats, so make the most of it.
- The 29 mile Main Park Road is the highest road in Cascade Mountains. It was built from 1925 to 1931, just around 10 years after Lassen Peak erupted.
- The Lassen Park is home to four main kinds of volcanoes in the world. These main kinds include plug dome (Lassen Peak), shield (Prospect Peak), Composite (Brokeoff Volcano) and Cinder Cone (Cinder Cone) volcanoes.
- If you find the Lassen Volcanic NP bristling with red, don’t be afraid. It’s not molten lava but actually a form of organism called snow algae. They spring to life in thawing snow. They are actually a primary source of food and a subject of interest in medical science due to their anti-cancer properties.
- The Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to an endangered flower species called the Lassen Smelowskia flower, that is only found here.
The Park is located in north-eastern California and has two airports nearby. Sacramento Airport, California is 165 miles away and Reno Airport, Nevada is 180 miles away. There are five main entry points to the Park: from the north-west, south-west, Butte Lake, Juniper Lake, and Warner Valley. Aside from this, the Main Park Road connects the south-west park entry point to the north-west entrance (Lake Manzanita). Dead-end roads can also connect you to Warner Valley, Juniper Lake and Butte Lake.
Both summer and winter offer diverse activities, but be sure to check the website before coming. It will be safe to say that winter starts early here, in October and continues still July. The highway is closed due to high snow by the middle of November, however the Park is open all year round. Some winter activities include snow play and skiing. You can also go for ranger-led snowshoe programmes from January to April.
Although the Park is open all year round, ill weather and budget cuts have introduced a few hindrances. For instance, the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Centre will remain closed from December 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. The restrooms and vestibule will remain open throughout the day. The road that leads to the visitor center will be open except during times of severe weather. Limited parking will be available. Ranger-led snowshoe walks will be available only at the Manzanita Lake Area this winter.
Entrance fees are required for all vehicles and individuals passing through the Park. A $10 vehicle pass and $5 individual pass is levied on all the seven days while you can also purchase a $25 annual pass from the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Commercial and school groups can exercise fee waivers by writing to the Park administration. Check the Park website for Fee-Free days every year.
Nearby Attractions : Lassen Cafe & Gift (Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Centre), Loomis Museum, Manzanita Lake Camper Store
Photo by Paraflyer