Our last major destination of our September trip was Lassen Volcanic National Park. We arrived Monday afternoon and pulled into the Manzanita Lake Campground in the northwest corner of the park. The campground was very sparsely populated. We got a campsite, set up, and fixed dinner.
Tuesday morning we got up and headed over to the Loomis Museum to get the lay of the land and come up with a plan. Lassen is a unique area due to its very recent volcanic history, active thermal features, and its geologic transition from the Cascade to the Sierras. The eight of us set out with the intent to try and catch some of the park’s highlights.
The park road wound south, circling Lassen Peak. We stopped at the roadside Sulphur Works where we got out to view the very active mudpot. Our next stop was the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center at the park’s southwest entrance. We ate lunch at the picnic tables and then headed back north to hike in to Bumpass Hell.
Bumpass Hell is an interesting thermal area developed with boardwalks to see its many features. It lies at the end of an easy 1.3 mile walk and is well worth exploration. We had our fill of the sulfurous fumes and headed back to the campsite for the evening.
Our original intent for Wednesday was to summit Lassen Peak. However, high winds were moving through the area, so in the end we decided to head to the northeast section of the park at Butte Lake to climb Cinder Cone. The kids enjoyed climbing the extinct cone and the large lava flows contrasted with the lush areas surrounding Lassen Peak. We hiked about 3 1/2 miles before heading back to our campsite for our last night.
Thursday morning we awoke and broke camp for our long trek back home, wrapping up a great trip with plenty of new sights. In all we camped out 21 nights (including a stop on our drive back home). It was truly a trip to remember.
See it Yourself: