About Lassen Park
The lofty volcanic cone of Lassen Peak rises 10,457 feet above sea level, its white, snow-capped peak contrasting the sea of evergreen forests surrounding it for miles in every direction. Aside from the intrigue of the dormant volcano, Lassen Park offers a pristine wilderness of hiking and camping resources, along with lava flows, jagged craters, steaming sulphur vents and hot springs and boulders once ejected in a molten state from the mountain's insides.
In May 1914, Lassen Peak surprised the country with a volcanic outburst that marked the beginning of a seven year period of sporadic eruptions. Lava flows, mud flows, hot rocks and other features of the eruptions were documented when they were fresh. Being the only active volcano in the United States at the time, it was designated a national park on August 9, 1916.
California Highway 89 traverses the park from north to south, passing within 2,000 feet of the peak of the mountain. It's entire length can be traveled on UntraveledRoad, along with side trips at the Sulphur Works, the Devastated Area, and the Ridge Lakes Trail. Many beautiful alpine lakes dot the mountain side, with numerous trails to hike and enjoy the scenery.
Lassen Peak's significance as an active volcano has decreased, with 90 years passed since its eruptions, along with the 1980 eruption of Mt. Saint Helens. But the past fury of the mountain can still be imagined while touring its volcanic features. A beautiful, clear summer day provided ideal conditions for photographing this gem among the lesser known national parks. Lassen Park covers 106,000 acres and was visited by 406,782 people in 2003.
What to See at Lassen Volcanic Park
The Sulphur Work sare a series of steaming vents in the mountainside. Surface water, heated by volcanic heat, turns to steam and rises in mists through holes in the ground. A short boardwalk leads you through this area.
A nature trail through the Devastated Area lets gives you a short chance to explore the area the most affected by the 1914 eruption. Numerous interpretive markers document the eruption and remnants of it still visible today.
The Ridge Lakes Trail is a moderately strenuous hike up the forested slopes to a beautiful alpine lake. The lake is fed by melting snow, and snow can be seen well into July. Enjoy the green meadows, wildflowers and brooks.