Lassen Volcanic National Park, A Natural Treasure of Northern California

For the longest time I have ignored Lassen Volcanic National Park because all I have heard about it were the mud pots and figured I had seen all that and more in Yellowstone. But, I am so glad I visited because I was in for a lot of stunning surprises.

The mountains are majestic, their tops still spot snow in summer, yellow wildflowers cover the hills and creeks are bubbling everywhere. 

Lassen gets a huge amount of snow in winter, so the main road (89) which traverses the western part of the park is only opened to cars from late May or early June. Earlier in the year the park can be approached from other highways and they do have a ranger led snowshoe walk or you can venture out on your own.

The most popular hike in the park is Bumpass Hell trail traversing the largest hydrothermal area in Lassen.

Emerald Lake and Lake Helen were my favorites. Still partly frozen with snow on the edges and around them and spotting a bright blue water their beauty is so magnetic I could have spent my entire day on their shores.

Another area I found fascinating was Chaos Jumbles, an area covered with dark volcanic rocks from the nearby Chaos Crags (a group of six volcanoes). Chaos Jumbles are the consequence of a major avalanche from 350 years ago. The same avalanche caused a major blockage of Manzanita Creek thus damming the flow of water and creating Manzanita Lake.

A super interesting fact about Lassen Volcanic National Park: It is home to all four types of volcanoes (shield, composite, dome and cone). Its volcanoes although asleep, are active and the most likely to erupt out of the western volcanoes. The last eruption happened about 100 years ago from Lassen Peak and it contributed greatly to shaping the landscape into what it is today.

I only explored the western part of the park, and even there is much more for me to see, and then there is so much more to discover on the east side near Juniper and Butte Lakes. I hope to be back this year to see more of this amazing national park.

Emerald Lake

Lake Helen

Lassen National Park

Chaos Jumble

Lake Manzanita

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