Blogs from Lassen Volcanic National Park, California, United States, North America


We had to leave early Saturday morning for the official start of the grandkids trip. We drove away from Long Ranch at 7 a.m. and headed for Redding to meet up with our grandsons. We met our grandsons’ mom and had a nice visit with her. We were happy to see our grandsons as well, as we had not seen them for a few weeks. Our plan had changed slightly when we realized we were closer to Reno then we originally thought. We decided to stop at Lassen National Park. We got into the park and were told that this was the Dark Sky Festival, a once a year festival and that the park was full. This park is certified as a “Dark Sky” park. We decided to try to get a campsite anyway, but ... read more
Making Art
Manzanita Lake

Today was my favorite day. When I was washing the breakfast dishes at the communal spigot yesterday morning, another mom was telling me about a hike they did to the Chaos Crags. My sister had also mentioned this particular hike earlier this month when she camped here. I remembered her saying it was steep at parts but the mom made it seem totally doable with kids. Both really enjoyed it, and it apparently ends at a lake you can swim in. With nothing better to do today (besides canoeing later- Arya's been asking about going on a boat every day), that became our plan. We started out at 1045am, strolling up at toddler speed, which means lots of sitting on logs, picking up sticks, collecting rocks and even her first squat in the woods. The trail ... read more
Makin Pancakes
Collecting Pine Cones
Chaos Crags Trail- Just Starting

This morning I'm enjoying my coffee by getting Arya to find the biggest pinecone she can find. She kicked, thrashed and flailed all night long, so I ended sleeping horizontal under the two of them instead of all of us vertical with an Arya sandwich. I love sleeping in tents, though. Also, this morning, I discovered the second thing we forgot to pack, the pancake mix. Eggs and bacon morning it is! Since most of the park was inaccessible due to heavy snow pack, we drove 1.5hr down the mountain and back up to the southwest park entrance. There we were able to check out the big new visitors center and atleast drive up as far as the Sulphur Works. Even though the road was closed past that point, they still allowed visitors to HIKE or ... read more
Yellow Beetle
New Visitors Center at Southwest Entrance
Playing in the Exhibits

We took most of the day getting up to Manzanita Lake Campground, mostly because we stopped to visit a friend in Chico. We used to work with her at the emergency veterinary clinic during our college, pre-nursing, years. By her recommendation we ended up at Cal Java. Turns out they have a cold blended peanut butter mocha with real peanut butter in it. Yes, please. Chris and I both ate burritos while we caught up on the last ten years with Marilyn. It was so good to see her! For dessert the cafe makes this ice cream sandwich using glazed donuts and a panini press. You get to choose all your own flavors, toppings and sauces. So we went with hazelnut salted caramel and java chip ice cream, Butterfinger and graham cracker crumbles and then nutella ... read more
Mt. Shasta?
Fields Forever
Headed Towards the Distant Mountains

Keeping it local this time. It feels like it’s been forever since our last trip! August 25, 2016, marked the 100thbirthday for the National Parks Service. We joined the celebration and took advantage of the fee-free weekend, woohoo! Within 4-hr drive from home, I’ve been to Yosemite and Sequoia NP multiple times. Lassen NP was totally under-the-radar. I’m not sure if it falls under the shadow of the fame of Mt. Shasta nearby. Now that we’ve decided to check it out, I started seeing more articles about Lassen being one of the most underrated NPs! I looked into the camping situation and hiking trails. Camp sites are walk-in for the most part, although selected locations have reservable sites. By the time we decided on Lassen, all reservable sites were booked for Friday/Sat nights. We will leave ... read more
Bumpass Hell
Bumpass Hell
Bumpass Hell

We left Chico Wednesday morning after a short hike and delicious breakfast, and headed into the foothills to the northeast towards Lassen National Park. We have wanted to do this drive for several years, but the roads have been closed due to snow in May until this year. The drive to Lassen was pretty, but the weather was rainy and clouds blocked some of the views. Our first stop was the Sulphur Mine area, where we saw the boiling mud! There were many fumaroles dotting the landscape; reminders of just how active this volcano is.... After a drive between high snow banks to the site of the devastation from the last eruption, exactly a hundred years earlier, we left Lassen and headed to Old Station buy gas. After crossing through Modoc National Park, we stopped in ... read more
The boiling mud!
Lassen Peak
 Lassen Peak

Bumpass Hell in Lassen National Volcanic Park. We had to go there on the strength of the name alone! The firefighters beat us to breakfast at the hotel, which was hardly worth bothering with anyway. We set off for Lassen, which encompasses Mount Lassen, a volcano which last erupted in 1914, and encompasses areas of both wilderness and geothermal activity. The temperature in Redding was already well into the 80s, but as we climbed up towards the park, it fell until it was down to the mid 60s. Hmm - had we brought a sweater, were we - implausibly - going to be cold? We drove straight to Bumpass, as the car park is small and fills up fast. You need to trek for about 45 minutes to Bumpass, which is an area of geothermal activity ... read more
Bumpass Hell
bubbling mud
James tackles the heat

Leaving Fort Klamath the next morning, we turned the wrong way and had to manoeuver a three-point turn in the middle of the road to turn around, not an easy thing for a 33-foot motor home. During the turn Kayla noticed that the sewer cap was not on and the valves were not closed, so we were trailing the remains of our (thankfully) empty tanks on the road. Richard pulled off the side of the road, rectified the situation, and we were consulting a map when he saw flashing blue and red lights behind us. Senior State Trooper Joseph Smith had a lot of questions as to who we were, where we were going and why we were going the wrong way to get to Klamath Falls. When Richard explained the route we wanted to take, ... read more
Richard examining a lava formation
Lava formation up close
Into the cave

Had some great riding along the pacific coast, looking much like the photographs. The infamous mist would come and go along with dramatic temperature changes, before returning to the bright blue skies again, although keeping a brisk breeze, perfect in the sun. Crossed back into California. Found a campsite in the Redwood National park, but balked at being charged $35 for the night, but paid up in a gripey manner that we brits do so well (or is that just us?) Drove and then went on a short walk through a part of the forest, these trees really do need to be seen, they are astounding, and we managed to pick a time when there was no one else about, late on a sunny afternoon when the light was beginning to fade and a real peace ... read more

The routine for this morning is the same. I'm up ahead of the sun, having tea in my hammock. As predicted, it's getting colder each day so I’m even quicker getting out of camp this morning. I’m anxious to get the heater on for the short drive to the trailhead. Today I’m hiking to Kings Creek Falls and beyond. The trailhead is a few miles from the campground and I’m the only one here so far. The hike starts off meandering through a lovely meadow, then heads uphill. It’s a pretty morning and great hiking weather. After I reach the top of the hill the trail turns sharply downward. Oh, it’s going to be one of those hikes! Down on the way in and up on the way out. I like it! My knees appreciate the ... read more
Trail to Kings Creek
Kings Creek Falls!

Tot: 2.484s; Tpl: 0.041s; cc: 9; qc: 90; dbt: 0.0477s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb