• Lassen Peak from Hat Creek

    Lassen Volcanic

    National Park California

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  • Warner Valley Road Work

    There will be paving work on the road connecting Chester to the Warner Valley beginning Monday July 21 or Tuesday July 22 and continuing through July. There may be a 30 min. delay for visitors travelling to Warner Valley and Drakesbad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Visitor Services

Where can I find information or a ranger when I arrive?
The Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center is open April 1 - November 30. Information, wilderness permits, restrooms and water are available year-round in the vestibule of the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. It is located at the southwest entrance of the park. The Loomis Museum, located at the northwest entrance by Manzanita Lake is open during the summer through early fall. For more information about operating hours click here.

Are there showers?
Coin operated 24-hour showers are located at the Manzanita Lake Camper Store during the summer season.

Where can I stay without camping in the park?
Drakesbad Guest Ranch is open June to October and is located in Warner Valley. Often, reservations need to be made at least 6 months in advance. For more information, please see the Drakesbad Guest Ranch website. Rustic camping cabins are also available at Manzanita Lake. Please call (530) 335-7557 or visit www.lassenrecreation.com for information. For reservations, please call 877-444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov.

How much does it cost to visit the park?
Park entrance fees apply year-round. A 7-day pass is $10 per vehicle or an annual pass is $25 (also valid at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area). To learn more about park fees and passes, please visit fees and reservations.

Where can I purchase a pass for the park or federal lands?
Passes can be purchased at the park's main entrance stations. Be advised that October through most of May the entrances are only open on most Saturdays and Sundays. To learn more about passes, please visit the fees and reservations page.

What are the park hours?
The park is open 24 hours a day, year-round. Access in winter and spring is limited by vehicle due to snow accumulation and closed park roads, but visitors can still drive to either main park entrance and enjoy snow activities such as snowshoeing or skiing.

Is Lassen National Park Highway Open?
The opening and closing dates of the park highway vary from year to year depending on the total accumulation of snow. The road can close as early October or as late as December. The road can open as early as May or as late as July. Visit the current conditions or spring road opening webpage for up-to-date information.


When did the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center open?
The visitor center opened September 21, 2008--ten years in the making! The center offers interactive exhibits, a 20-minute park movie, concession cafe and gift shop, rangers to help with your visit, and a non-profit association book store with educational merchandise. The center is a platinum rated LEED certified building. For visitor center operating hours click here.

What happened to the old Chalet?
The chalet was a dilapidated building which was deconstructed in June 2005 to make way for the new visitor center. Furthermore, the chalet was not a visitor center and minimally served the public in the summer season only. It was originally constructed to host skiers through the winter season in the early 1960s. Much of the building was recycled including beams and concrete.

Where can I find a bite to eat?
Food service is provided at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center and at the Manzanita Lake Camper Store. Food service is seasonal. Please visit here for specific hours and seasons.

Are there shuttles provided?
The park does not provide a shuttle service.

Does the park have WiFi?
No. In Shingletown from east to west along Hwy 44, you can connect at the KOA, Shingletown Library, Reed's store, and Higher Ground coffee shop. North of the park, McArthur Burney Falls State Park also has WiFi. WiFi is also available in Chester at the northeast corner of the park and along the I-5 corridor.

Can I get cell phone coverage in the park?
AT&T and Verizon provide the most extensive coverage. Areas along the road such as Bumpass Hell and Lassen Peak parking areas, and the Chaos Jumbles turn-out. A few other turnouts on the southern side of the park offer reception. Developed campgrounds have no reception.

Are there pay phones in the park?
Yes, at the Loomis Plaza by Manzanita Lake and at the Camper Store near Manzanita Lake campground. The nearest payphone from the south entrance is located at the Mineral Lodge, in Mineral.

Where are restrooms located?
Restrooms are at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center and the Loomis Plaza.There are several vault toilets in parking areas and campgrounds along the 30-mile park road.

Camping

Can I reserve a campsite at a specific campground?
Many campsites within the park are open for reservations through the www.recreation.gov website. Please visit the park campground page for a listing of campgrounds and information about each campground.

Will I be able to find a site without a reservation?
In general, camping sites can be obtained on a first-come, first-served basis. On holiday weekends and some summer weekends, coming by a site can be more challenging. The most popular campground, Summit Lake can fill any day of the week.

What campground is recommended?
Lassen has 8 campgrounds ranging from primitive and remote to developed and easier accessed; the smallest at 18 sites to the largest at 179 sites. All campsites have picnic tables, fire rings, and bear-proof storage lockers. Visit the campground page for more detailed information.

How far is Manzanita Lake from Manzanita Lake campground?
The closest loop to the lake is Loop A. Loop D is furthest from the lake. There is a short footpath that leads from Loop A to the lakeshore. The distance is under a quarter mile. All loops are connected by footpaths. A short drive from the campground to the picnic area and boat launch by the lake is also an option.

Can I see Manzanita Lake from my campsite?
No, there are no views of the lake from any site at the campground.

Can I see Lassen Peak from my site at Manzanita Lake Campground?
Yes, there are filtered views from some of the sites at the campground.

How far is Summit Lake from Summit Lake North and South Campgrounds?
The lake is a short walk from any of the sites at either campground.

Can I see summit Lake from my campsite?
About one third of the campsites situated closest to the lake offer views.

Are mosquitoes a problem?
Mosquitoes are in large numbers as the snow melts and the marshy areas around Summit Lake are filled with water in June and July. The mosquito activity reduces steadily as temperatures warm and water dries in August, September and October.

Is there shade at all of the campgrounds in the park?
All of the campgrounds in the park are forested. Some sites within a campground have more shade than others, and some campgrounds have more shade than others. The campground with the least shade is Crags, with Manzanita Lake, Summit Lake North, and Butte Lake campgrounds next. Those with the most shade are: Southwest Walk-in, Warner Valley, and Juniper Lake.

What size are the bear boxes?
3' wide x 3' long x 4' deep.

Where can I have a fire?
Campfires are allowed only in the fire rings provided in developed campgrounds. Fire are not allowed in the backcountry.

Where can I get firewood?
You are allowed to collect dead and downed firewood or purchase firewood at the Manzanita Lake Camper Store for use in developed campground fire rings.

How do I get a wilderness permit to camp in the backcountry?
Wilderness permits can be obtained at the park, advance reservations are not required. Permits can also be requested in advance. Please look at the regulations and requirements for camping in the wilderness and to obtain a permit in advance through the mail. Permits are free of charge. Wilderness permit applications and information.

Are bears a problem in the backcountry?
Due to the vigilance of our visitors we do not currently have problem bears in the backcountry. However, this can quickly change with the negligence of just one visitor. Be sure to properly store food and scented items out of bears' reach with rope for hanging, or in a canister. At this time the park does not rent canisters. Download the bear safety bulletin.

Are there RV hookups?
No. There is a water filling station and a dump station at Manzanita Lake available for a $5 fee. The nearest RV area with hook-ups is Volcano Country in Mineral or KOA in Shingletown.

Rules and Regulations

Where can I fish in the park?
Fishing is permitted within the park according to California State regulations. A California license is required for ages 16 and up. Special regulations apply to Manzanita Lake: within 150 feet of the Manzanita Creek inlet is closed to fishing, the rest of the lake is catch and release only; artificial lures and single, barb less hooks must be used. Manzanita Creek is closed above Manzanita Lake year-round.

Where can I walk my pet in the park?
Not on trails but pets are allowed in developed areas (campgrounds, picnic areas, paved roads, and parking areas). Pets must be on a leash. More information about pets in the park.

Can dogs be left unattended?
It is not a good idea to leave your dog unattended at your campsite; dogs can get loose, bark, or be in distress causing other visitors concern. Dogs can be left in vehicles as long as it is safe to do so and with adequate water and food.

Where can I ride my bike in the park?
Biking is permitted on developed roads only. Bikes are not permitted on hiking trails.

Is snowmobiling allowed in the park?
Snowmobiling is strictly prohibited inside the boundaries of Lassen Volcanic National Park. There are numerous snowmobiling trails in the Lassen National Forest, surrounding the park. Please visit the National Forest website for further information.

Does the new federal law allow us to have a loaded firearm in the park and within our trailer or campsite?
Park visitors are allowed to possess a concealed loaded firearm if they have a valid State of California concealed carry weapons permit (CCW). Loaded firearms carried openly are prohibited in locations where use of the firearm is prohibited. Use of a firearm in the park is prohibited, therefore an openly carried loaded firearm in the park is also prohibited. One exception to that rule is your campsite, which is a temporary place of residence. Openly carrying a loaded firearm outside of your campsite is strictly prohibited. Firearms are not permitted in any park buildings, including campground and other rest stations.

Recreation and activities

I'm only going to be at the park for a few hours or a couple of days, what can I do?
Lassen has several options no matter what your time schedule. Visit the planning your visit for suggestions.

Is a specific trail open, free of snow, and accessible?
The opening dates of trails in the park vary from year to year depending on snow accumulation and other winter storm damage. Trails near Manzanita Lake, Butte Lake, and Warner Valley tend to thaw out first. Please call (530) 595-4480 or visit the current trail conditions webpage.

What hiking trails are recommended?
Lassen has over 150 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to strenuous. Most of the miles of trails are interconnecting loops located in Lassen wilderness. Many trailheads can be accessed easily by vehicle along the park highway where explorers can discover mountain meadows, coniferous forests, clear mountain streams, breathtaking views and vistas, bubbling hydrothermal areas, and even ascend a volcano. For a list of trails and their distances, visit the hiking page.

If I can't hike with my pet in the park, where is a good place to hike with my dog nearby?
Caribou Wilderness (E), Thousand Lakes Wilderness (N), Sacramento River Bend (W), Ishi Wilderness (SW), Spencer Meadows Trail, Mill Creek Trail (outside of the park off of Hwy. 36).

When will Lassen Peak Trail be open this summer?
Lassen's Reach the Peak project is expected to continue through 2015. Part of this project includes the restoration of the Lassen Peak Trail. Because of this, access to Lassen Peak will be closed for the summer except for select weekend. Closure of this route at anytime is possible throughout the season. For more information, please call the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center at 530-595-4480.

How far is the hike on Lassen Peak and how long does it take?
The hike is 5 miles round trip and takes between 3 to 5 hours to complete. Vertical gain of 2,000 feet with a series of switchbacks. It is unlawful to cut switchbacks and permits rapid erosion and trampling of delicate alpine plants. The trail is very exposed with limited shade. Take adequate water for each person, food, wear sturdy shoes, sunscreen, and wear layered clothing.

Do we need crampons to ascend Lassen Peak in winter and spring?
Crampons, as well as other mountaineering equipment is essential for the ascent and decent of Lassen Peak and other areas. Visitors who wish to do so, must be experienced in mountaineering and backcountry travel in a snow covered mountain environment. The equipment needed is determined by the conditions on a day to day basis. Having all necessary equipment and knowledge is key to a safe and enjoyable experience.

Where is the volcanic activity?
The most extensive and famous hydrothermal area in the park is Bumpass Hell, a 16 acre bowl filled with mudpots, fumaroles, and boiling pools. The hike is 3 miles, round trip. Elevation change is minimal. Be advised that in most years, the trail is not accessible until early July due to snow and ice coverage. Visit Bumpass Hell for further information on this and other hydrothermal areas in the park. You may also visit the trail update page for access to Bumpass Hell and other park trails.

What happened to the boardwalk at Sulphur Works?
The boardwalk which was in place was a temporary structure. Because constructing permanent footings to provide stability and integrity was not able to take place, the boardwalk had shifted and collapsed every winter under the snowloads. Repairing a temporary structure every year also proved to be very costly.

Are there plans to construct a new boardwalk at Sulphur Works?
Due to the fact that a permanent boardwalk cannot be constructed through the hydrothermal features, the park plans on constructing a new overlook platform which will provide visitors a vantage point to oversee the entire hydrothermal area without having to lead them into hazardous ares via a boardwalk.

What can we do with children?
Visit bumpass Hell or sulphur Works hydrothermal areas (please watch your children carefully). Attend Junior Ranger programs or the entire family can join the Volcano Club. Materials can be collected at visitor centers. For further information, visit the For Kids webpage.

Can I bring a stroller or wheelchair on the trails?
There are two trails which are wheelchair and stroller (including jogging strollers) accessible: the Devastated Area Interpretive Trail and Sulphur Works Hydrothermal Area.

Where can I go swimming or soak in hot springs?
All park waters are available for swimming except hydrothermal waters. These waters are too hot and acidic. Smaller lakes dry up at the end of summer. Some lakes have many reeds or snags. Most lake temperatures remain on the cool to cold side.

Where are the caves?
Over 100 miles north of the park at Lava Beds National Monument, next to the Oregon border. Subway Cave, included in Lassen National Forest is located 10 miles outside of the northwest entrance near the
town of Old Station. Download a PDF or visit the Lassen National Forest webpage for more information on Subway Cave. Lassen does not have any caves.

Weather

What is the weather like?
Weather plays a dramatic role at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Winter, especially, shapes the landscape; snow generally begins to accumulate each year in October, doesn't melt in most places until July, and can
remain in isolated areas year round. Summer weather is more predictable, with warm, dry days, blue skies, and cool nights. Visitors to Lassen Volcanic National Park should be prepared for any kind of weather, any time of the year. Please visit our weather webpage for more information about temperatures you can expect during each month of the year, as well as current weather forecasts.

When does it start snowing?
Snow can fall anytime of the year, however winter settles in by early November on average.

Winter

What are the snow and avalanche conditions in the park?

Please call our visitor center at (530) 595-4480 or check here for current snow conditions in the park. A good site to check before venturing out is the Mt. Shasta Avalanche Advisory. Mt. Shasta and Lassen have
similar conditions. Be advised that there is always a risk venturing out into avalanche terrain, no matter what the avalanche warning is. Snow and avalanche conditions can change constantly. Terrain and other factors can create a mix that is ideal for dangerous avalanche conditions. Snow conditions can vary greatly from day to day and at varying elevations and aspects. Many factors play a role in snow condition; temperature, sun exposure, open or forested terrain and wind. The age of the snowpack and new snow accumulation and the type of snow also play a role in the condition.

What can I see in winter when access in the park is limited?

Bring the snowshoes and skis to explore a quieter side of the park. On clear days, views of Lassen and other peaks can be seen. Take a 2 mile trek around Manzanita Lake where view of snow-covered volcanoes
can be seen and opportunities to spot birds and other winter wildlife abound. Take a one mile trek up the snow-covered park road to the Sulphur Works Hydrothermal area, accessed from the
southwest entrance of the park. The new Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center is open daily and is located at the southwest entrance.

On average, how much snow does the park get over a typical winter?
Typically, the park recieves 400 to 500 inches in a snow season ( November through April). This is measured at the southwest entrance of the park at an elevation of 6700 feet. there have been years when
the park received over 700 inches in a snow season!

When does it stop snowing and how long does the snow stick around?
Snow usually stops falling sometime in April. Snow lingers in the high elevations of the Park such as Brokeoff Mountain, Lassen Peak and Bumpass Hell until early July.

Where can I snowshoe or ski?

Recommended trails can be found in the park newspaper,"Peak Experiences". Trails at the south entrance of the park are classified as intermediate to advanced. Trails at the north entrance of the park are classified as beginner to intermediate. The park does not rent snowshoes or skis.

Science & Nature

Where is the volcanic activity?
There are several locations where hydrothermal (hot water) features are in the park; the most popular and largest, Bumpass Hell is located about 6 miles from the southwest entrance and includes a 3-mile round-trip hike. Other areas include; Sulphur Works, 1 mile from the southwest entrance. In Warner Valley - Boiling Springs Lake, and Devil's Kitchen offer an otherworldly experience.

Where is the lava?
All rock in the park is volcanic in origin. Visit Devastated Area Interpretive Trail for a short descriptive walk. Learn about Lassen's eruption and discover the variety of lava that is found in the park.

What is "Cold Boiling Lake"?
Just like the name implies, a portion of the cold water lake appears to be boiling. This is caused from carbon dioxide gasses escaping to the surface through the water, giving it the appearance of boiling.

What is the red stuff on the snow?
Snow algae also known as watermelon algae.

What causes some of the branches on the trees to die?
Also known as "branch flagging". It is caused by a fungal canker disease and dwarf mistletoe. The two pathogens work together. The flagging is more pronounced during the dry season and is common among the Red Fir.

What is the large leafed plant with the yellow flower along the slopes?
The plants are a mixture of Mountain Mule Ears and Arrowleaf Balsam Root.

Where can I see wildlife?
Wildlife at Lassen is just that; wild. Many of the larger mammals, aren't see very often with the exception of mule deer. Bear can occasionally be spotted along a hike. Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels and chipmunks are a common sighting. Birding opportunities are best at Manzanita Lake and Summit Lake. Remember, feeding wildlife in Lassen is strictly prohibited.

What are the butterflies all over the top of Lassen Peak and why are they there?
They are California Tortoiseshell. They are carried by updrafting on the wind and eventually work their way down off of the peak.

Where is the volcano?
The park is filled with volcanoes. Many of them can be seen along hikes and along the drive through the park. There are hiking trails that climb volcanoes. For the most well known volcano in the park, see the next question.

When did Lassen Peak last erupt?
Lassen had a series of eruptions between 1914 and 1915 with minor steam eruptions through 1921.

What are the four types of volcanoes?
Plug Dome (Lassen Peak), Cinder Cone (Cinder Cone), Shield (Prospect Peak), and Composite (Mount Tehama).

Why does the moss grow on all sides of the trees, not just the north side?
The organism growing on the bark of the trees is actually staghorn lichen. The lichen is very delicate and slow growing.

Does the lichen harm the trees?
No, instead it uses the bark as an anchor to live. It derives micronutrients from the air.

What is lichen?
It is two organisms living symbiotically. It is a mix of algae which provides the food for the plant and a fungus which gives it structure.

Where can I see fall colors?
The best locations include; along the main road between Hot Rock and Devastated Area where aspens show off yellows and golds, Paradise Meadows, Hat Lake, Kings Creek Meadows, and the eastern shore of Butte Lake.


Other

How far is the drive through the park, how long does it take, and what can be seen along the route?
One way it is 30 miles and takes about 1 hour without stops. The highway reaches a high point at an elevation of 8500 ft. at the base of Lassen Peak. Numerous pull-outs are available for stopping to take in views and photograph. Two short walks are available from the park highway: Sulphur Works, one mile north and Devastated Area, 20 miles north from the southwest entrance. A road guide is available for purchase at the visitor center and at the Loomis Museum.

Why are there no guard rails on the park road?
The park highway is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As such, improvements that alter the historic quality cannot be made. To maintain this historic route and setting, you will not see any major
modifications of that road to some of the current highway standards (passing lanes, emergency lanes, guard rails, etc) because of its historic significance and its original purpose to afford visitors a scenic drive that fits into the park's landscape.

Did You Know?

View of devastated area from Main Park Road.

The 29 mile Main Park Road was constructed between 1925 and 1931, just 10 years after Lassen Peak erupted. Near Lassen Peak the road reaches 8512 feet, making it the highest road in the Cascade Mountains. It is not unusual for 40 feet of snow to accumulate on the road near Lake Helen.