Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to steaming fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Jagged peaks tell the story of its eruptive past while hot water continues to shape the land. Lassen Volcanic offers opportunities to discover the wonder and mysteries of volcanoes and hot water for visitors willing to explore the undiscovered.
The remarkable hydrothermal features in Lassen Volcanic National Park include roaring fumaroles (steam and volcanic-gas vents), thumping mud pots, boiling pools, and steaming ground. Water from rain and snow that falls on the highlands of the park feed the hydrothermal system. Once deep underground, the water is heated by a body of hot or molten rock beneath Lassen Peak. Rising hot water boils to form boiling pools and mud pots. Super-heated steam reaches the surface through fractures in the earth to form fumaroles such as those found at Bumpass Hell and Sulphur Works. These features are related to active volcanism and are indications of the ongoing potential for further eruptions from the Lassen "volcanic center."
My name is Rob Decker and I’m a photographer and graphic artist with a single great passion for America’s national parks! I’ve been to 50 of our 61 national parks — and Lassen Volcanic National Park has much to offer! You can check out the thermal features, hike and fish at Manzanita Lake or learn about the history of the park at the Loomis Museum! If this is your first time to the park, or your returning after many years, here are some of the best things to do in Lassen Volcanic National Park!
Best Things To Do at Lassen Volcanic National Park
An easy trail winds gently around Manzanita Lake and is well shaded by looming Jeffrey pines and bordered by lush willows. You'll see ducks, geese and the occasional muskrat and beaver. The trail is perhaps best known for its spectacular views of Lassen Peak and Chaos Crags which are best viewed in the morning.
At the largest hydrothermal area in the park via a 3-mile round-trip hike, a boardwalk takes you through a 16-acre bowl of plopping mudpots, bubbling pools, and roaring steam vents - including the super hot Big Boiler.
Little Hot Springs Valley
Located at the bottom of a steep valley, you can view steam vents via the park road with binoculars.
Picnic at Lake Helen
Lake Helen, at the base of Lassen Peak, is a sight not to miss. This high elevation lake often has snow and ice into mid-summer, but don’t miss the turnoff. The views of Lassen Peak are unbeatable, and a picnic area to the east is a great spot to stop for lunch.
Pilot Pinnacle is a striking volcanic composite remnant along the ridge of remnant peaks that include Mt. Diller and Brokeoff Mountain, 2 miles southwest of Lassen Peak. The peaks on this ridge and Mt. Conard, 3 miles to the southeast are the eroded remains of ancient Mt. Tehama a giant stratovolcano 11,000' in elevation that covered an area much larger than Lassen Peak.
The park's most easily accessed hydrothermal area features boiling mudpots and steam vents.
A hiking trail in the Warner Valley area leads visitors to this bubbling cauldron. Explore steam vents, mudpots, and boiling pools on a short loop.
Boiling Springs Lake
This bubbling lake has a temperature of around 125 degrees. Mudpots and steam vents line part of the shore and drainage creeks. You must be careful to stay on clearly marked trails in this area as the ground around the lake is unstable and travel in these areas may result in severe injury.
This gigantic steam vent, although not a true geyser, spurts steam from the middle of a creek, and provides a spectacular show!
Cold Boiling Lake
At this quaint lake near Kings Creek, "cold boiling" bubbles rise like soda water.
Kings Creek Falls
The Kings Creek Falls trail leads to a large roaring waterfall draped in ferns and other green plants which thrive off the mist generated by the falls. Depending on the time of year you hike to the falls you may see Fawn Lilies or Satin-leaf Lupines in full bloom. As you get closer to the falls notice the deep bending of many of the large California Red Firs
Located next to picturesque Manzanita Lake the historic Loomis Museum offers exhibits, an auditorium which features the park film and a Lassen Association educational bookstore. Exhibits include photos from B.F Loomis who documented Lassen Peak's most recent eruption cycle and promoted the park's establishment.
Rob Decker is a photographer and graphic artist with a single passion for our national parks! Rob is on a journey to explore and photograph each of our national parks and to create WPA-style posters to celebrate the amazing landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history that embody America’s Best Idea!