A Multi-Year Project
Lassen Volcanic began a multi-year project to rehabilitate the Bumpass Hell Trail and boardwalk in 2018. The purpose of project is to ease maintenance for the Bumpass Hell Trail and boardwalk, while preserving natural and historic resources, improving interpretive opportunities, and accommodating high visitor use to and within the Bumpass Hell Basin.
The hottest and most vigorous hydrothermal features in Lassen Volcanic National Park are at Bumpass Hell. A three-mile round-trip trail―one of the most popular in the park―provides access to the Bumpass Hell basin. Within the basin, a boardwalk traverses a portion of the hydrothermal area and additional trails offer access to the southern portion of the basin and connect to additional area trails. While Bumpass Hell is a popular destination for park visitors, it is also a dynamic geologic area in which the only predictable element is change.
Improve the Historic Trail
The original Bumpass Hell trail was constructed in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Trail improvements will both preserve the historic character of the trail and improve visitor access. Trail improvements between the trailhead and basin overlook include:
Reconstruct the Basin Boardwalk
Add a Second Trail into the Basin
A 0.2-mile historic trail will be restored to provide a second route between the basin overlook and the basin. Because this trail is less steep and melts out from snow faster than the existing trail, its addition should improve access in the spring. The new trail will include a close-up look at shallow, vigorously boiling pools of clear water known as frypans and previously inaccessible wetlands. A newly constructed bridge and short section of boardwalk along the trail will allow safe access and protecting these fragile environments.
Overlooks along the trail and both within and above the basin will be expanded or enhanced to improve the visitor experience. Overlook improvements include:
The reconstructed boardwalk is complete and open to hikers from the Kings Creek Picnic Area Trailhead (via Cold Boiling Lake). A single walkway passes through the basin to a turnaround point just north of the Pyrite Pool. The new boardwalk is constructed of recycled, plastic lumber reinforced with fiberglass rods. This material is expected to better withstand the acidic gases and other caustic elements in this active hydrothermal area. The new beige planks blend into the basin and float just above the ground, reducing the visual impact on the landscape.
Park staff will resume trail improvement efforts on the second half of the trail as soon as it is clear of snow. Trail crew anticipates completion one month after work begins. As with the normal summer trail opening of this high elevation trail, this date is largely dependent on winter snowpack and spring conditions. Due to heavy winter snowfall, the trail may not be accessible to begin work until well into August. Once trail improvement work is complete and the trail is reopened to the basin, crew members will begin work on the remaining project objectives including:
Last updated: September 13, 2019