Hiking Lassen Peak Trail
Start: Lassen Peak parking area
For information on the "Reach the Peak Project," including planned trail closures, please follow this link.
On May 22, 1915, an explosive eruption at Lassen Peak, the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range, devastated nearby areas and rained volcanic ash as far away as 200 miles to the east. This explosion was the most powerful in a 1914-17 series of eruptions that were the last to occur in the Cascades before the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Lassen Peak is the largest of a group of more than 30 volcanic domes erupted over the past 300,000 years in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
The Trail: The trail to the top of Lassen Peak begins at the peak parking area at an elevation of 8500 feet. The popular trail is 2.5 miles one-way to the summit. There are many fantastic vistas of the park and surrounding areas from the trail (see picture gallery below). The summit provides one of the most spectacular views of the Devastated Area, a view from the top looking down (see picture in gallery below). This view is the best vantage point to contemplate the power of the 1914-17 eruptions. The lingering rotten-egg smell of hydrogen sulfide near the summit reminds visitors that Lassen is still considered an active, but dormant, volcano.
There are many switchbacks and the trail can be steep and rocky at times. Hiking boots are recommended. A round trip takes 3 to 5 hours.
Did You Know?
John Muir visited Lassen Volcanic National Park and wrote about his experience in the book Mountains of California. "Miles of its flanks are reeking and bubbling with hot springs, many of them so boisterous and sulphurous they seem ever ready to become spouting geysers..."