Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen geysers

Lassen “geysers” (fumaroles: steam and volcanic gas; or boiling pools; or steaming ground ) by waswisgirl1

After hiking in the Redwoods, and staying at a wonderful Youth Hostel (that may or may not still be open), my buddy and I went to Lassen Volcanic National Park. I’d never heard of it until I started looking at the West coast. It was definitely not one of my childhood park memories like the Redwoods or Yosemite. But what an amazing park!

I saw fumaroles (steam and volcanic-gas), boiling pools and steaming ground, like the picture I took, that reminded me of Yellowstone. Almost all of the volcanic features are made up of boiling pools-practically none of the “pools” in the park are safe to get or fall into.


Lassen mudpots by waswisgirl1

I went on the Bumpass Hell trail, so named after someone fell in one of the boiling volcanic features and  severely burned their leg. The trail is at 8000 feet, so don’t fly out to Redwoods and drive out to Lassen and think you can hike even a 3 mile trail without taking time to get use to the elevation, if you’re someone like me, who got there from the North Carolina piedmont. I camped at least a day before I did a thing other than set up camp.

Cinder Cone, the southern flank. Lassen Volcan...

Cinder Cone, the southern flank. Lassen Volcanic National Park, California, USA.  By DimiTalen (CC BY-SA 3.0)

I actually started out by hiking the cinder cone which is at 6061-6907 feet, before trying out the Bumpass Hell trail (at 8000 feet).  The cinder cone trail was one of the harder hikes I did during my trip to national parks, since for every step forward, you slid back two steps. I’d hiked around a cinder cone before, the lava flow trail at Sunset Crater National Park in Az, but I hiked it when it was a lot longer and tougher than it is now.

Mt. Shasta towering over Lassen Peak, even at ...

Mt. Shasta 0ver Lassen Peak, even at this distance. By Kai Schreiber             (CC BY-SA 2.0)

There is a lot to do at Lassen, after the cinder cone and bumpass hell trail, I hiked Mount Lassen which was a hike from approximately 6000 to 8000 feet. Again, it was a pretty strenuous hike if you’re not used to high elevations. My buddy runs and definitely zoomed up, but I got there, and was glad I had my backpack full of extra clothes, since I stayed at the top of the mountain for quite a while-not that I could see a lot with all of the swirling clouds and mounds of snow to avoid falling over. Everyone was looking at my buddy and I like we were nuts when we had all these clothes we were wearing on the hike up , but they were practically running down the mountain, they were shivering so bad in their shorts and t-shirts! Sometimes, being a “girl-scout type” pays off!