Place

Lake Helen

A dozen people spread out along the rocky shore of an alpine lake.
Visitors on the southern shore of Lake Helen below Lassen Peak.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts

Beach/Water Access, Parking - Auto, Parking - Boat Trailer, Parking - Bus/RV, Picnic Table, Recycling, Restroom - Accessible, Scenic View/Photo Spot, Toilet - Vault/Composting, Trash/Litter Receptacles

Nestled at the base of Lassen Peak, this deep, blue lake offers one of the most dramatic scenic views in the park. The park highway winds around the lake's south and west shores and affords spectacular views of numerous volcanic peaks. Over 200 feet deep, this alpine lake can hold snow and ice well into the summer months. On calm days, its crystal clear waters offers a near-perfect reflection of the snow-capped Lassen Peak.

Scenic Views

The lake is clearly visible from a mile-long stretch of the park highway between the parking areas for Bumpass Hell and Lassen Peak Trails. Limited parking is available at the Lake Helen Picnic Area and small pullouts along the highway. Please use designated pullouts whenever possible. If space is limited, please do not drive or park on plants and be sure your vehicle is completely off the highway. A small pullout above the lake offers excellent sunset views to the southwest.

Picnic Area

A small picnic area is located on the southeast corner of the lake. Two vault toilets and a handful of picnic tables are available here. There is no drinking water available. 

Swimming

The southern shore of the lake offers space for swimming. This deep lake remains very cold year-round. Boating is not permitted on the lake to preserve the scenic view. Please do not drag or place equipment on plants. Lupine is often plentiful along the lakeshore, but is easily killed by footsteps or equipment.

Stay off Lake Ice

This high-elevation lake often holds snow or ice well into summer. Please stay off lake ice at all times. The lake is very deep and a falling through the ice could easily lead to hypothermia or drowning.