Backcountry Camping Regulations

A column of icons describing backcountry regulations described in text at right

Summary of Backcountry Regulations

Permit Required

By signing a backcountry permit you acknowledge that you have read and will abide by the following regulations. Violators are subject to citation.

No Pets or Bicycles

Protect your pet and wildlife by keeping pets off trails. Reserve bikes and other mechanized and motorized equipment for areas outside of designated Wilderness.

No Fires

Minimize wildfire danger. Use gas stoves only; wood fires are prohibited in the backcountry.

Bear-Resistant Storage Container Required

Food, toiletries, and scented items must be stored in a bear-resistant storage container certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (see below), except between December 1 and April 15.

Campsite Requirements

There are no designated campsites in Lassen Volcanic backcountry. See Selecting an Appropriate Campsite for details.

Group Size Limit: 10 or Fewer

Overnight groups larger than 10 may not meet and congregate. Maintain a minimum distance of ½ mile from other groups.

Stock Use: Day Use Only

Camping with stock is not permitted in the backcountry. Permits are required for stock day use. Stock corrals are available for overnight use at Butte, Summit, and Juniper Lakes.

Weapons

Weapons may only be carried in accordance with a valid California Concealed Weapons Permit. Hunting is prohibited. Learn more about firearms in the park.


 
Two blue, plastic, bear-resistant containers

Approved Food Storage Container Required

Overnight backcountry users must use a container certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) to store food and scented items. This regulation is in response to increased negative bear and human interactions in the park.

  • Food, toiletries, utensils, cookware, trash, and other food-scented items must be stored in an IGBC certified bear-resistant product when not in use or unattended.
  • Bear canisters are not required December 1 through April 15.
  • Learn more about bear safety.
  • Bear Vault 450 and 500 canisters are available for rent at the park and pictured at right.

Bear Canister Rental

Bear-resistant food canisters are available for rent in limited quantities at Lassen Association bookstores in the Loomis Museum and Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center during business hours. Rental is $10 for 7 days with a $95 deposit for either size canister. Canisters must be returned to the location rented and there will be a $15 charge for canisters returned dirty (not including wear/dirt from normal use).

If you are not familiar with how to use a bear canister, please ask a Park Ranger for assistance. We are happy to give you tips on how to use your bear canister correctly!

 

Keep Your Water and Wilderness Clean

Keep your water sources clean by following LNT principles to reduce potential water contamination from urine, feces, dishwater, and soap. Dispose of waste properly to protect wildlife like black bears and the rare Sierra Nevada red fox.

  • Filter and treat all drinking water or bring to a rolling boil for five minutes. Giardia, a microscopic organism that causes severe illness when ingested, has been found in park water sources.
  • Wash dishes and bathe at least 100 feet (35 big steps) away from any water source. Use only small amounts of biodegradable soap. Do not wash dishes in streams or lakes; even biodegradable soap will not break down in cold water. Strain food particles out of dish water and scatter.
  • The are no toilets in the backcountry. Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 100 feet (35 big steps) from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products; animals dig up and scatter buried toilet paper.
  • Pack out all trash, leftover food, and garbage. Leave only footprints.
 

Help Preserve the Wilderness Experience

Reduce ongoing recreation-related impacts like erosion, trail widening, and social trail creation by making choices that limit your footprint.

  • Travel on Durable Surfaces such as existing trails, rock, gravel, bare ground, or snow. Do not walk around puddles, snow, or mud on trails.
  • Avoid Areas of Overuse. Twin Lakes and Rainbow Lake Loop trails are currently high use areas. Enjoy your quiet and solitude by choosing another trail or destination.
  • Travel Outside of High-Use Periods. Whenever possible, schedule your trip to avoid times of high use including summer weekends and holidays.
  • Preserve Natural Soundscapes. Take hiking breaks and camp away from other visitors; use headphones to listen to music; and avoid speaking loudly to allow you and others to enjoy natural sounds.
  • Use Lighting Sparingly. Lassen Volcanic Wilderness is spectacularly dark. Consider using a red light or limiting your nighttime light use to enjoy the best view of Lassen’s dark night sky.
  • Step to the Side. Allow uphill hikers or stock animals to pass.
 
A map with red highlight along shoreline and trail indicating areas not appropriate for camping.
Shoreline areas for day use only. Protect water quality and respect the experience of fellow visitors. Example map includes black dots indicate campsites too close to water or trails. Green dots indicate appropriate, existing campsites.

Selecting an Appropriate Campsite

There are no designated campsites in Lassen Volcanic backcountry. Help reduce ongoing recreation-related impacts like backcountry campsite widening and water quality degradation by selecting a campsite that adheres to park regulations and LNT principles.

  • Select a campsite on durable surfaces such as rock, gravel, bare ground, or snow.
  • Camp at least 200 feet (70 big steps) from lakes and creeks.
  • Camp at least 300 feet from other groups.
  • In popular areas, consider selecting from an appropriate, existing campsite. However, do not use campsites that do not adhere to regulations or LNT principles.
  • Do not construct “improvements” such as windbreaks, log bridges, log chairs, etc.
  • Camping is not permitted (see closed areas on map below):
    • within ½ mile and/or sight of roads, developed areas, or campgrounds;
    • within ¼ mile of all hydrothermal thermal areas;
    • and at Cinder Cone, Painted Dunes, Mt. Harkness summit, Kings Creek Falls, Kings Creek Meadow (upper and lower), trail from Summit Lake to Echo Lake, Lassen Peak, Cascade Springs; and Cliff, Crags, Crumbaugh, Little Willow, and Echo Lakes.

Last updated: July 17, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 100
Mineral, CA 96063

Phone:

(530) 595-4480

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