The Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the national parks in Northern California. The main attraction is the Lassen Peak, one of the world’s largest plug dome volcanoes. Lassen Peak is considered an active volcano that’s surrounded by boiling mud pots, fumaroles, and hot springs. Although there are no glaciers in this national park, there are 14 permanent snowfields due to glacial scarring.
All types of volcanoes can be found in this national park: plug dome (Lassen Peak), composite (Brokeoff Volcano), shield (Prospect Peak), and cinder cone (Cinder Cone). The United States Geological Survey constantly monitors volcanic activity in the area. The mineral-rich volcanic soil contributes to the lush vegetation in the park.
When To Go
There are attractions all year round. Summer (July to September) attracts the most visitors. Those who visit during summer have full access to activities and services. Spring (April to June) and Fall (October to November) attract fewer visitors. Some services and activities are closed due to the changing weather and the lower rate of admissions.
During winter (December to March) attract the lowest number of visitors. Fortunately, fun winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding replace summer activities.
The Lassen Volcanic National Park has a total of 13 campgrounds scattered around the property. Reservations are highly recommended, but some campgrounds allow admission to last-minute campers on a first-come-first-served basis. Guests can make reservations and inquiries through the recreation.gov website.
All campgrounds have a picnic table, fire ring, and a bear-resistant storage locker. Look out for any announcements and updates as certain campgrounds might be closed for various reasons (forest fires, snow, extreme weather). Here are the campgrounds:
Juniper Lake Group
- Cost: $32 per night
Butte Lake Group
- Cost: $35 per night
Summit Lake South
- Cost: $15 per night
Summit Lake North
- Cost: $24 per night
- Cost: $15 per night
Manzanita Lake Group Campground
- Cost: $72 per night
Lost Creek Group
- Cost: $62 per night
- Cost: $26 per night
Summit Lake Corral
- Cost: $37 per night
Warner Valley Campground
- Cost: $21 per night
Manzanita Camping Lake Cabins
- Cost: $76-$149 per night
Juniper Lake Stock Corral
- Cost: $30 per night
Butte Lake Stock Corral
- Cost: $37 per night
The best time to go hiking is from June to October. Check on the status of the trails before heading out, as some of them might be closed due to snow; in case of fires, it might be deemed unsafe due to smoke and haze. To be safe, follow the fixed routes and don’t go off track. Hiking can be risky even for the most experienced hikers!
Here are a few of the most popular hiking trails:
- Pacific Crest Trail (part of the national trail)
- Brokeoff Mountain – 7 miles
- Bumpass Hell – 3 miles
- Mill Creek Falls – 3.8 miles
- Ridge Lakes – 2 miles
- Lassen Peak – 5 miles
- King’s Creek Falls – 3 miles
- Manzanita Creek – 7 miles
- Summit Lake to Cluster/Twin Lakes Loop – 11 miles
- Snag Lake Loop – 13 miles
- Prospect Peak – 6.6 miles
Many facilities and areas may be closed during winter, but that only gives way to winter activities. Here are some options to consider if you’re going during the winter months:
- Snow camping
- Cross country skiing
The Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to hundreds of species of animals. Due to its rich biodiversity and combination of different habitats, these animals have thrived and survived within the park.
The Park administration puts up signs about the animals to watch out for. These include black bears, red fox, mule deer, cougar, chipmunks, raccoons, and coyotes.
The Lassen Volcanic National Park can be accessed through these routes:
- State Route (SR) 44/89 – Northwest entrance
- SR 36/89 – Southwest entrance
- Trails from Caribou Wilderness
There are a total of 5 entrances to the park. The park is open every day of the year unless otherwise stated. Therefore, there is no need to make reservations.
- Winter Pass - $10, Valid for 7 days from December 1 to April 15
- Vehicle Pass - $30, Valid for 1-7 days from April 16 to November 30
- Motorcycle Pass - $25, Valid for one motorcycle regardless of the number of passengers, Valid for 7 days
- Individual Entrance Pass - $15, Entrance fee per person in a non-commercial/organized group, Valid for 7 days
- Lassen Annual Pass - $5, Valid for 1 year from date of purchase
The Northern California region has a Mediterranean-influenced warm summer with warm summers, cold winters, and high precipitation. It experiences drastic weather changes throughout the entire year.
During January, the temperature reaches highs of about 40.4 degrees Fahrenheit (4.7 C) to lows of about 20.8 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.2C). During July, the temperature reaches highs of about 88.4 degrees Fahrenheit to lows of 49.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
Like any state park in the United States, the Lassen Volcanic National Park is a great place to go for some good outdoor fun. There is so much to do and explore all year round. On one hand, it is a huge park, where outdoor adventure-seekers can enjoy nature. On the other hand, it is the perfect place for those who are interested in geology and volcanology. They might enjoy learning about volcanic activity and its impact on the environment.