Thing to Do

Hike to Bumpass Hell

Four young kids hiking on a trail backed by a large volcanic peak and rocky, tree-lined slopes.
Bumpass Hell Trail is popular with hikers of all ages.

Start: Bumpass Hell parking area, 7 miles from the Southwest Entrance
Round-trip Distance: 3 miles
Round-trip Time: 2 hours
Terrain: Gradual climb first mile then 200-foot descent into basin
Elevation: 8,200 - 8,400 feet
Trail Surface: Packed gravel
Width: 48" to basin overlook; trails into basin are narrow
Season: Approximately June through October
360-degree photos of the basin

Bumpass Hell Trail provides access to the largest hydrothermal area in the park. The trail is open in the summer and fall only. Learn more about the winter/spring closure. Parking for this popular trail is limited and is often full mid-morning to early afternoon, especially on weekends. The three-mile, round-trip hike is easy to moderate in difficulty and is popular with hikers of all ages. Vault toilets are available only at the trailhead, there are no restrooms on the trail or in the basin. Pets are not permitted on any park trails.

How to Hike This Trail Safely

Hiking the Bumpass Hell Trail involves risk. Learn more about general hiking safely in this high-elevation and remote park. Special considerations for this trail include:

  • Shade is limited on this trail. Hikers are encouraged to wear or bring a hat and carry water.
  • Winter conditions can persist through the summer months, especially in the forested sections of the trail. Wear proper footwear (good tread, ankle support, closed toe) and consider using trekking poles to help maintain balance. Knee and ankle injuries are the most common visitor injury in the park.
  • Stay on established trails and boardwalks in/around the basin. Ground in hydrothermal areas can look solid but may actually be a thin crust hiding pools of acidic boiling water or mud. Visitors have been severely injured by traveling off-trail in these areas. 
  • Water and mud in hydrothermal areas is acidic. Do not put water or mud from park hydrothermal areas on your skin. Even water that is cool to the touch is acidic and can irritate or burn your skin with prolonged exposure.
  • Hiking at high elevation can aggravate preexisting medical conditions. Know the effects of altitude. Carry plenty of water, take often, and do not exceed your abilities.
This 3-mile round-trip hike takes about 90 minutes. The exact time required depends on how quickly you walk, how often you stop, and how long you enjoy the basin. 
The Bumpass Hell Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park. From the trailhead, the first mile is mostly flat and traverses the northeast slope of Bumpass Mountain with views of Little Hot Springs Valley and numerous volcanic peaks. An overlook at about 0.5 mile provides a panoramic view of the five remnant peaks of the ancestral Brokeoff Volcano. At about one mile, an overlook provides a view into the Bumpass Hell basin. From here, the trail drops 300 feet into the basin where a boardwalk provides an up-close view of the hydrothermal features. A second trail skirts the northern edge of the basin and continues up the eastern edge of the basin to a second overlook, which provides an additional view of the basin. Most hikers stop here and return the way they came to the Bumpass Hell Trailhead.
Visitors of all ages are able to enjoy this hike. Hikers 5 and older are often able to complete the first mile, but may need assistance for the 300-foot section in and out of the basin.  
Pets are not permitted on park trails, including in a carrier. This regulation does not apply to service animals assisting a person with a disability.
There is no fee to hike the Bumpass Hell Trail. An entrance fee or valid pass is required to enter Lassen Volcanic National Park.
The Bumpass Hell Trail parking area is located off of Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway, 8 miles north of the Southwest Entrance. Bumpass Hell basin is accessible only by the 3-mile Bumpass Hell Trail or via a 5.-mile trial from Kings Creek Picnic Trailhead. 
There are no reservations for park entrance or to hike park trails.

The trail to reach Bumpass Hell is at a high elevation and receives significant snowpack. The Bumpass Hell Trail is closed throughout spring and often into early summer due to severe snow/ice hazards. On average, it opens by Fourth of July weekend, however actual opening dates vary with each year's snowpack.

To avoid crowds, hikers may want to consider hiking in the early morning and or late afternoon and on weekdays when possible.
Accessibility Information
The Bumpass Hell Trail is hardpacked dirt and rock. Most of the first mile is four feet wide, with minimal slope. The last half mile descends 300 feet into the basin and includes some rock steeps and steeper slopes. Service animals assisting a person with a disability are permitted on the trail.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

A line chart showing trail elevation over distance. The line rises jaggedly to an overlook and then drops quickly to a boardwalk.
Trail profile of Bumpass Hell Trail one-way.
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4 minutes, 5 seconds

Learn more about the trail into Lassen's largest and most popular hydrothermal area, Bumpass Hell.

Bumpass Hell Trail Spring Closure

The trail to reach Bumpass Hell is at a high elevation and receives significant snowpack. The Bumpass Hell Trail is closed throughout spring and often into early summer due to severe winter hazards. On average, it opens by Fourth of July weekend, however actual opening dates vary with each year's snowpack. View alternatives during closure below.

Previous Opening Dates

Year Date Opened April 1 Snow Depth*
2011 July 13 242" / 20.2'
2012 June 29 145" / 12.1'
2013 June 25 140" / 11.7'
2014 June 11 122" / 10.2'
2015 June 7 91" / 7.6'
2016 July 9 199" / 16.6'
2017 August 22 243" / 20.3'
2018** Closed 131" / 11'
2019** September 13 238" / 19.8'
2020 July 2 119" / 10'
2021 June 16 114.5" / 9.5'
2021 July 1 96" / 8'

*Snow depth manually recorded at Lake Helen (8,200' elevation) provides an annual comparison of snow depth near the end of the winter season.
**Closure and delayed opening for rehabilitation project.

Alternatives to Bumpass Hell Trail

Consider one of these alternatives if Bumpass Hell Trail is closed, too crowded, or you are just looking for something new:

  • Stop by Sulphur Works hydrothermal area, the most easily accessed hydrothermal area in the park.
  • Take a day trip to the Warner Valley Area and enjoy an easy or moderate hike to one or more hydrothermal areas including (distances are round-trip): Boiling Springs Lake (3.0 mi), Devils Kitchen (4.4 mi), and Terminal Geyser (5.8 mi).
  • Access Bumpass Hell basin via the Cold Boiling Lake Trail (5.2 mi). Note that this is a longer and more challenging hike than the Bumpass Hell Trail. You can also expect snow on this trail through June or sometimes July. If the Kings Creek Picnic Area and trailhead is not yet open for the season due to snow, you may park in a pullout along the highway and walk in (be prepared for significant snowpack).

Last updated: July 7, 2022