Lassen Volcanic National Park is located in Mineral, California, in the northeastern corner of the state. Varying terrain in the park includes meadows filled with wildflowers, glacial lakes, several volcanoes, and active fumaroles through which volcanic gases still escape from the earth. Hydrothermal areas in the park include the fumaroles, boiling mud pots and pools, and steam that rises from the ground. The effects are created when water from rain and snow seeps into the earth, and is heated by the molten rock beneath Lassen Peak.
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The heated steam then rises to the surface. Visitors can experience these geological curiosities up close along the Sulphur Works, Devil’s Kitchen and Bumpass Hell trails. Boardwalks and trails keep guests from stepping or falling through the thin earth into the boiling acidic water below. The activity is an indication that Lassen Peak is still an active volcano and will potentially erupt in the future. Geologists surmise that the last major eruption took place sometime between 1675 and 1700. Boiling Springs Lake is a 125-degree lake that visitors can climb to from the Warner Valley Campground after an easy hike with a 200-foot climb. Cold Boiling Lake is named for the gas bubbles near shore that continually rise to the surface. Visitors can reach Cold Boiling Lake with a moderate climb from the Kings Creek Picnic Area. Visitors may then continue their hike past Crumbaugh Lake and Mill Creek Falls to the Southwest Campground. With a 75-foot drop, the Mill Creek Falls are the highest in the park. Lake Helen is a glacial lake atop Lassen Peak at an 8,200-foot elevation. The lake was named after Helen Tanner Brodt, who was the first woman to summit Lassen Peak in 1864. There are nine campsites within the 150 miles of trails in the park. The Drakesbad Lodge in Warner Valley is a historic ranch from the 1800’s offering guest rooms. Manzanita Lake Camping Cabins offer 20 small cabins along Manzanita Lake. Visitors may include the Camper’s Amenity Package, which provides all the sleeping and dining essentials for campers. Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center is open year-round and includes a café, bookstore and 20-minute video on the history and geology of the park. The Loomis Museum is a historic structure adjacent to Manzanita Lake. The museum offers exhibits, an auditorium and a bookstore.
History: Although the Lassen area has never been conducive to year-round living, it has historically been a meeting area for the Native American tribes in the area, including the Atsugew, Maidu, Yana, and Yahi. Artifacts left behind by these groups are displayed at the Loomis Museum. The California Gold Rush brought the first settlers to the area, most notably, Peter Lassen. Lassen was a Danish blacksmith who had tried to establish a city in the area. Attempts were made at mining, ranching and developing power. Ultimately, Lassen settled in Northern California in the mid-1800’s; the pioneers who would follow him would use Lassen Peak as their guide to the Sacramento Valley. Volcanic activity in the early 1900’s led to the creation of a new crater, as well as the release of lava and ash. Although nobody was injured, several houses were destroyed. Due to the risk of eruption, and the stark beauty of the area, Lassen Peak, Cinder Cone and the surrounding area were upgraded from a National Monument to the more protected status of National Park following the eruption in 1916. In 1972, the United States Congress designated a portion of the park as the Lassen Volcanic Wilderness, thus limiting developed facilities and signage.
Ongoing Programs and Education: For guests who prefer to drive, Lassen Volcanic Park has a 30-mile highway which takes visitors past overlooks, view-points and pull-outs where they can see many of the park’s most popular features. Road guides may be picked up at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center or the Loomis Museum for an in-depth auto-tour experience. The Drakesbad Guest Ranch in Warner Valley offers horseback tours for both day and overnight guests. The Lassen Association's Field Seminar Program offers courses in nature photography and outdoor watercolor painting as well as guided hikes. All proceeds from the workshops benefit the park. The dark night sky over the park makes the area popular for stargazing and astronomy. The annual Lassen Dark Sky Festival takes place each August and includes workshops in stargazing, Junior Ranger astronomy activities, and talks by the International Dark Sky association, park rangers and astronomers from NASA. A children’s Volcano Adventure Camp is a youth camping facility inside the park that provides a wide range of educational activities for youth organizations.
Mineral, CA 96063, Phone: 530-595-4480