Lassen Volcanic National Park
PO Box 100
Mineral, CA 96063
At Lassen Volcanic National Park, located in northeastern California about 50 miles east of Redding, visitors will find a landscape still recovering from volcanic devastation that took place more than 90 years ago. The park contains picturesque cinder cones, chaotic rock formations, and boiling hot springs alongside serene lakes and a wilderness landscape that's more typical of northern California.
Entrance fees: $10/vehicle for seven days or $5/individual for seven days
Visitor centers: Headquarters Information Desk is open Monday-Friday year-round; daily from late June to early September. Loomis Museum, Information, and Bookstore is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from late May to late September; daily from late June to early September.
Other services: A museum, information booth, guest ranch, and nine campgrounds
Accommodations: Several campgrounds are available from late spring through early fall (until they are closed by snow). Some reservations are available at 877-444-6777. Drakesbad Guest Ranch (530-529-1512) is open from early June through early October.
Visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park
Volcanism displays its spectacular and destructive artistry in this vast panorama of devastated landscape. Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California is evidence of the incredible violence that occurs below the surface of our planet. The last eruptions here took place early in this century, but Lassen still has an otherworldly terrain of broken mountains, scorched land, bubbling mud pots, and hissing steam.
In 1914, Lassen Peak, about one hour east of Redding, California, began a period of sustained eruptions that continued for seven years. Eventually more than 106,372 acres of this decimated landscape were designated as the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Some of the landscape is still geologically active, with boiling water, hot streams, fumaroles, sulfur vents, and steam holes.
Lassen is at the southern end of the Cascade Mountains, which contain other volcanic peaks, such as Mount Rainier, Mount Shasta, and Mount St. Helens. This national park is a churned-up landscape of stark features that have been given such descriptive names as Chaos Crags and Chaos Jumbles. At one spot, intriguingly called Bumpass Hell, powerful-smelling vapors drift over boiling hot springs with golden flakes floating on their surface. The flakes are crystals of iron pyrite, or fool's gold, that have been carried along by superheated steam.
Lassen Peak itself is a craggy massif that rises to the considerable height of 10,457 feet. Much of the park presents a familiar northern California scene -- aspen, firs, pines, willows, alders, poplar, shrubs, and wildflowers. Resident fauna ranges from black-tailed deer to mountain lions. Yet throughout the park, cinder crags and magma canyons continue to offer proof of former violence, while gurgling thermal features suggest the possibility of a fiery future.
As is also true of a large portion of northern California, the park is covered with deep snow for much of the year, which has had the effect of producing several beautiful lakes.
Lassen Volcanic National Park is a favorite with snowshoers and cross-country skiers. Many hikers first encounter this park on their trek down the Pacific Coast Trail, which passes through the park's wilderness backcountry. On the next page, learn more about the activities and points of interest at Lassen Volcanic National Park.