Stories of human experience from prehistoric to present day are woven into the landscape of Lassen Volcanic National Park. From American Indians who utilized the Lassen region as a meeting point and seasonal camp, to explorers and pioneers lured by the gold rush and the desire to explore the West; these individuals and groups shaped the park and they way we experience it today.

black and white portrait of man with beard in late 1800s-attire

Emigrants and Pioneers

History here generally describes the period from 1840, even though Jedediah Smith passed through in 1828 on his overland trek to the West Coast. California's gold rush brought the first settlers. Two pioneer trails, developed by William Nobles and Peter Lassen, are associated with the park. In 1851, Nobles discovered an alternate route to California, passing through Lassen. Sections of the Lassen and Nobles Emigrant Trail are still visible. Lassen, for whom the park is named, guided settlers near here and tried to establish a city. Mining, power development projects, ranching, and timbering were all attempted. The area's early federal protection saved it from heavy logging.

Lassen Peak eruption

Benjamin Franklin Loomis

B.F. Loomis documented Lassen Peak's most recent eruption cycle and promoted the park's establishment. He photographed the eruptions, explored geologically, and developed an extensive museum collection. Artifacts and photographs of the 1914-1915 eruption are on display in the Loomis Museum and are accessible.

Adlai Supan at Sulphur Works Lodge

Supans and Sulphur Works

Mathias B. Supan came to America looking for a new life. He found one in northern California at a place he dubbed Dr. Supan's Paint Mine, known today as Sulphur Works. As the area surrounding Sulphur Works became Lassen Volcanic National Park, there was much tension between the Supan family and the park. Both parties saw potential in the Sulphur Works area. In the end, the park was able to purchase what is now a popular stop for visitors to explore Lassen's most accessible hydrothermal area.

Last updated: November 24, 2020

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PO Box 100
Mineral, CA 96063


(530) 595-4480

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