This under-the-radar gem is typically less busy than some better-known parks yet there are so many things to do in and near Lassen Volcanic National Park. Holding the distinction as the 15th National Park established by Congress, Lassen celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. Visitors can find all four types of volcanoes (shield, composite, cinder cone, and plug dome) within the boundaries of the more than 100,000-acre park. Lassen is the only national park to hold that honor and evidence of the effects of the volcanoes can be seen everywhere from roiling fumaroles to dramatic jagged peaks. Another striking highlight is Boiling Springs Lake, one of the largest hot water lakes in the world. The sea green lake is heated to a hot 125 degrees by steam vents.
The 30-mile park highway, also known as Lassen Volcanic National Highway, is a fantastic way to appreciate the scenery without ever leaving your vehicle. Riders can appreciate the dense forest, are treated to views of Lake Almanor, and can soar to new heights (8,512 feet to be exact) while traveling the road. The Lassen Park Highway is the highest paved road in the Cascades and is also part of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway. There are many designated parking areas along the road for those who wish to marvel at panoramic views or enjoy a picnic. A roadside fumarole can be found at Sulphur Works offering the safest and most-accessible hydrothermal experience in the park.
Take time to download the Then and Now Highway Audio Tour produced by park staff and North State Public Radio. The tour is narrated by Dave Schlom and provides insights to what happened in the past and what you are seeing today.
Lassen Volcanic National Park boasts 150 miles of trails and hikers can spot waterfalls, a bubbling lake, and lava beds. There truly is something for everyone. Take a leisurely stroll along the half-mile Devastated Area Interpretive Trail; signs along the way explain the area. Those looking for more of a challenge should consider the Brokeoff Mountain trail. The 7.4-mile strenuous trail may be steep but it leads to fantastic views at the top of the mountain. The best geothermal areas in the park are all accessible via day hikes. We personally recommend the Devils Kitchen, Boiling Springs Lake, and Terminal Geyser trails for rewarding geothermal sites and intriguing mud pots. Trail conditions vary from snow-covered to snow-free and the status of each is updated frequently on the park website.
California is a big state with much to offer. When you are ready for a weekend getaway within four hours of San Francisco, St. Bernard Lodge looks forward to hosting. Four hours? Yes, but just imagine how luxurious it will feel to be that far from home. We are only 20 miles from the SW entrance to the park so once you arrive everything will be at your fingertips. When you are looking for where to stay when exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park, look no further than our cozy lodge.
Park visitors can enjoy increased access to Lassen Volcanic National Park beginning on Friday, May 29, 2020. Sightseers can traverse the 30-mile park highway, explore Butte Lake and Warner Valley areas, and navigate all of the hiking trails (except Bumpass Hell). The Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center and Loomis Museum remain closed at this time but visitors can plan ahead using the park website.