Road Conditions

A yellow snowplow clears snow backed by a snow-covered mountain
A snow plow clears snow near the Devastated Area.
 
 
 
Color-coded map shows current status of park road status
Status as of 5/12/2024.
 

Road Clearing Operator Log 2024

Road clearing operations every year begin as early as late March.

5/24/2024 - The week ended at the Lake Helen sidehill. That is just before the road's high point at the base of Lassen Peak which is at 8500 feet in elevation. There is currently 12 feet of snow there.

In addition, clearing has continued from the north, heading south. Cal Trans plows have reached Summit Lake. There are about 10 miles of the road remaining to be cleared.

5/16/2024 - We ended the week at Emerald Lake. We were hopeful in reaching the Bumpass Hell Parking lot, but the blower broke down. We will need to take Monday to repair it and continue with clearing on Tuesday.

5/12/2024 - One mile from the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center to Sulphur Works is open to vehicles.

5/11/2024 - Clearing progress has been eventful this past week. The road from the south has been cleared to the Diamond Peak elevaton sign. In addition, the road from the northwest entrance has been opened to Devastated Area for vehicles! This is always the first section of the road to open to vehicles in the season. It opened later this year due to late season snowstorms. Caltrans is asstisting us with continued clearing from Devastated Area and is currently at the Dersch Meadows, just about a mile south of Summit Lake.

5/2/2024 - We ended the work week just below Diamond Sidehill (~ 3 miles). We are moving the equipment back to the southwest entrance due to a forecast snowstorm. Monday will be a catch up day to remove new snow from the cleared section of road.

5/2/2024 supplemental - Some final preparations need to be completed prior to opening the road from the northwest entrance to the Devastated Area. There are identified trees that pose a hazard of falling across the road that will need to be removed and some final snowclearing in the Devastated Area parking lot. This section of the road is anticiapated to open in the mid-May timeframe.

In the meantime, road operations began from the southwest park entrance on Tuesday, April. 30.

4/26/2024 - Clearing the Warner Valley Road was the focus this week. Cearing this road allows staff access to the area to begin preparations for summer.This road will likey remain closed to vehicles as these preparations take place.

Mobilization efforts have begun for clearing to begin at the park's southwest entrance. This will start next week at some point. Downed equipment has hampered efforts to move progress forward more efficiently, but the team is making every effort to meet milestones and get the road opened up asap despite these challenges.

Also at the start of next week, we will look at opeing the cleared section from the northwest entrance to the Devastated Area. Some final preparations clearing snow to walkway of the restrooms in the parking area and the restrooms need to be addressed. Stay tuned...

4/19/2024 - The road crew reached the Devastated Area parking lot (10 miles) at the end of this week. The parking area there and some additional clean-up of the road still needs to be completed before it can open to vehicles. In the meantime, hikers and bikers can enjoy this ten-mile section of the cleared road without vehicles. Also, it's a great opportunity to walk your leashed dog. Remember to protect Lassen Volcanic, only paws on pavement.

The crew plans to begin on the park section of the Warner Valley Road on Monday. We hope to have it complete by week's end before starting clearing from the southwest park entrance.

4/15/2024 - We have about one week of clearing to do to complete the 10-mile section to Devastated Area from the gate at the northwest. Continuing April snowstorms and equipment repairs delayed road clearing progress. However, its looking like clearing from the southwest entrance at Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center can be initiated starting the week of April 29, weather depending.

We were able to complete snow removal on the Butte Lake Road to one lane to protect the shoulders of the dirt surface. If driving this road, use caution, as there are large areas of muddy sections.

The Manzanita Lake Campground Road and campground loops are cleared of snow. However, the boat launch and road remain closed. Upon melting of the snow at the launch and on the lake, it will open.

4/11/2024 - Road clearing from the northwest at Loomis Plaza only reached Sunflower Flat (~2 miles). A change in plans was necessary, halting clearing to Devastated Area due to a few snow storms and needed equipment maintenance. Equipment is back and ready to continue to the Devastaed Area starting Monday, April 15.

3/18/2024 - Road clearing equipment has been staged at the Northwest entrance and clearing opearations began from the closure at the Loomis Plaza. The road crew is hopeful that clearing will conclude at the Devastated Area (10 miles) on Thursday, March 21 before moivng on to begin clearing from the southwest entrance. Clearing will begin at the southwest entrance to begin as conditions permit.
Clearing also begun on the park's unimproved road to Butte Lake.

 

Directions for Travel Around the Park

It is possible to travel around the park around both the east and west sides of the park to access the northwest or southwest entrances when the park highway is closed through traffic due to snow.
 
Directions for Travel Around the Park

Travel Around the West Side of the Park

This route is the shortest route around the park. This windy road is not recommended for RVs and trailers. Average travel time is one hour and 45 minutes and 71 Miles . View directions in Google Maps.

  1. From the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, head south on Lassen National Park Highway (SR-89) for 6 miles.
  2. Turn right (west) on SR-36. Continue for 23 miles.
  3. Turn right (north) onto Lanes Valley Road. A large road sign on the north side of the highway marks the turnoff approximately one mile before the town of Paynes Creek. Continue for 7 miles.
  4. Turn right onto Manton Road (CR-A6). Continue for 0.6 miles (1 km).
  5. Turn left onto Blackbutte/ Wildcat Rd. Continue for 9 miles (14km).
  6. Turn right (east) onto SR-44. Continue for 24 miles (39 km).
  7. Turn right (south) into the park. Continue 1 mile to the Manzanita Lake entrance.

Travel Around the East Side of the Park

This route is slightly longer than the west route, however it has fewer curves and is appropriate for RVs and trailers. Average travel time is two hours and 106 Miles. View directions on Google Maps.

  1. From the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, head south on Lassen National Park Highway (SR-89) for 6 miles.
  2. Turn left (east) on SR-36. Continue 38 miles to CR-A21/Mooney Road located in the town of Westwood. Continue for 18 miles. Turn left (west) onto SR-44. Continue for 28 miles.
  3. Turn left (west) onto SR-44/89. Continue for 13.5 miles.
  4. Turn left (south) into the park. Continue 1 mile to the Manzanita Lake entrance.
 
 
Three stacked images showing snow on a highway, a couple on road flanked by snow, and a curving road cut into snow below a peak
Top: Winter road conditions at the Southwest Entrance, people walking on the park highway, a cleared section of highway below Lassen Peak.

When Will the Highway Open to Through Traffic?

Road crews begin clearing snow from the park highway in March or April, depending on snow depth and weather forecasts. It is not possible to predict when the highway will open to through traffic, because weather and other delays can affect the clearing process significantly. A chart below provides opening and closing dates of the park highway since 1980. The park may plow snow from Butte Lake, Warner Valley, or Juniper Lake roads, depending on the spring snow depth. The paved sections of Warner Valley and Juniper Lake roads are maintained by Plumas County and are usually not plowed.

Snow clearing operations occur in the following order:

  1. Manzanita Lake Area between Loomis Plaza and Devastated Area (10 miles).
  2. Southwest Area between Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center and Lassen Peak (8 miles).
  3. Devastated Area to Lassen Peak (12 miles).
 
A bulldozer pushes deep snow off a slope below Emerald Lake on the park highway.
A bulldozer pushes snow off a steep slope below Emerald Lake on the park highway.

What's the Delay?

Clearing the park highway is no quick or easy undertaking! Snow accumulates on the 30-mile park highway throughout the winter season (typically November through April). Snow depth can reach up to 30 feet at the highest elevations, with drifts occasionally reach as high as 40 feet. The road clearing process can take up to three months due to numerous factors including:

  • Heavy snowpack with deeper snowdrifts in some areas

  • Trees and boulders that have fallen across the road and been buried in the snow

  • Rockslides over the highway when the snow begins to melt

  • Snow avalanches over cleared sections of the highway

  • Snow storms (and additional accumulation) during the operations

  • Snow removal in parking areas

  • Road and road shoulder repairs

  • Lingering ice once snow is cleared
  • Equipment repair
 
Visit our keyboard shortcuts docs for details
Duration:
4 minutes, 27 seconds

See how park road crews clear snow from the park highway in a two-month long process each spring.

 

Road Opening and *Closing Dates - 1980 to Present

* Closing date may not reflect when the road first closed due to snowfall. The first season snowfall may temporarily close the road.
The official closing date is listed in the chart and often occurs at a later date.

Year

Date plowing began from southwest

Date road opened

April 1 Snow Depth at Lake Helen (8,200' elevation)

Date road closed

1980 April 20 May 29 231" / 19.3' November 21
1981 April 20 May 21 149" / 12.5' November 3
1982 April 19 June 18 266" / 22.2' October 25
1983 April 18 July 2 331" / 27.6' November 10
1984 April 23 June 4 175" / 14.6' October 28
1985 April 14 May 18 163" / 13.6' October 21
1986 April 7 June 7 195" / 16.3' November 24
1987 April 20 May 15 138" / 11.6' November 13
1988 April 2 May 20 98" / 8.2' November 7
1989 April 3 June 6 223" / 18.6' October 23
1990 April 1 April 28 106" / 8.9' November 14
1991 April 7 May 24 151" / 12.6' October 22
1992 April 6 May 14 127" / 10.6' October 29
1993 April 12 June 28 225" / 18.8' November 10
1994 April 3 May 20 101" / 8.4' November 7
1995 March 19 July 21 287" / 23.9' November 21
1996 April 1 June 12 171" / 14.3' October 18
1997 April 7 June 5 135" / 11.3' November 14
1998 April 5 July 12 250" / 20.9' November 10
1999 April 12 June 11 194" / 16.2' November 19
2000 April 3 June 2 178" / 14.9' November 17
2001 April 2 May 10 109" / 9.1' November 15
2002 April 1 May 22 166" / 13.9' November 13
2003 March 26 May 23 185" / 15.5' November 7
2004 March 11 May 27 187" / 15.6' October 28
2005 April 4 June 2 173" / 14.5' November 8
2006 April 3 July 6 266" / 22.2' November 11
2007 April 2 May 18 112" / 9.3' December 6
2008 March 31 May 18 132" / 11' December 12
2009 April 13 June 4 146" / 12.2' November 18
2010 April 19 July 8 169" / 14.1' October 23
2011 April 19 July 16 242" / 20.2' November 22
2012 April 21 June 1 145" / 12.1' November 19
2013 March 21 May 24 140" / 11.7' December 18
2014 April 3 May 19 122" / 10.2' December 1
2015 March 31 May 3 91" / 7.6' November 8
2016 April 18 June 12 199" / 16.6' October 30
2017 April 4 July 26 243" / 20.3' November 10
2018 March 30 May 27 131" / 11' November 20
2019 April 18 June 22 238" / 19.8' November 29
2020 March 19 May 29 119" / 10' November 13
2021 April 5 May 17 114.5" / 9.5' October 21
2022 March 16 June 3 96" / 8' November 6
2023 May 15 July 1 217"/ 18' December 5
2024 April 30 193"/16'

Last updated: May 24, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 100
Mineral, CA 96063

Phone:

530 595-4480

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