Lassen Volcanic Park Vacation July 2004

08/05/08

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In the middle of July 2004 we decided to take a few days off,  and take a camping trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California.  The park is about 50 miles east of Redding California.  It is the southern most peak in the Cascade Mountain range.  I have always enjoyed this park, because it is much less crowded than most of the other National Parks.  For more information on the park look  here or here.

Bill, Jessica, and I were at the park for 4 days.  I decided to drag them on 3 major hikes while we were there, so that we could see some of the sites.  We camped at Summit Campground which has an elevation of 6700'.

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Our campsite at Summit Campground.

Another view with the 'bear box' on the left. We didn't see any bears while at the park.

Bill and Jessica relaxing with a word puzzle.


Our first hike was to Bumpass Hell. It is the largest active geothermal area of the park. It was supposed to be an easy 3 mile hike with a 250' elevation change. However, the trail we were going to take was closed because of snow, so the hike turned into a 5 mile 750' elevation change hike.

This is Cold Boiling Lake. It is a small lake that has gas vents under it. The bubbles from the vent make it look like it is boiling water.

Close up of the bubbles. As the name implies, the water in the lake is actually very cold.

A view down into the valley as we start up the side of the mountain.

Farther up the mountain.

Some of the may wildflowers we saw on the hikes.

The vegitation was very lush, as the snowpack was just finishing melting.

We finally get a view of our destination. Our noses knew we were getting close because of the strong sulfur smell.

Out on the boardwalks provided for safety. These pools are also bubbling from vents, but here the water is very hot.

Steam coming from miles below the surface.

One of the many mud pots in the area. It was amazing to watch these things bubble.

The minerals in the soil add very interesting colors to the water.

This pool was very full of water, and the mud swirled in interesting patterns.

Bill and Jessica on the boardwalk. There was even snow in this area in the middle of July

More stinky water and steam.

Coming back down the hill is always much nicer.


We finished the day with an easy walk though Subway Cave.  The cave is actually a lava tube that is formed as lava cools and continues to flow leaving a cave behind.  This tube is about 20 miles north of the park, and right off the road, so there was no real hiking involved.

The entrance to the cave.

Inside the main tube.

One of the small side tubes. We turned off the flashlight, and it was pitch black inside.

A view of the ceiling.


On Friday we took our BIG hike.  We decided (well, I decided) to tackle Lassen Peak.  It is a 5 mile hike that starts off at about 8500' elevation.  The trail is very steep and rocky.  After walking up 2 1/2 miles we reached the summit at almost 10,500'.

Getting ready to start up the summit. I am glad they are smiling now.

Some of the snow sitll in the area. The water had that glacial blue tint to it.

That is a long ways to go.

Another rest stop. Looking down you can see the parking lot is the loop off of the main road.

Our first view of the actual summit. It is the small white object on top of the rocks at the right hand side of the picuture.

Bill posing with one of the lava outcroppings.

Jessica enjoying the scenery.

Another view down to the parking lot.

Guess how many times we heard 'Climb Every Mountain' over the weekend.

As we start to approach the summit, the trail gets steeper, and the switchbacks start.

The final big rest before we push to the top. We met a very cute chipmunk while sitting here.

The white structure is an antena at the summit.

Finally we are on the top. The peak in the background is Mt. Shasta.

A look back down. You can just see the turnout for the parking lot.

Bill doing his 'Summit' pose.

I am much more boring.

Another view of Mt. Shasta.

And down into the valley floor.

Heading back down.

Here is a good view of the parking lot. The cars look so small.

We get back down to the timberline. It is amazing how the trees grow in such a hostile place.

Yup, we were there!


Our last hike of the weekend was on Cinder Cone.  It is located in the norhteast corner of the park, so it was about an hours drive to get there.  The hike was about 5 miles round trip with a 400' elevation change on the main trail.  The cone itself is about 800' high, so that added quite a challenge after the last 2 days.  To make the hike even more difficult the ground was covered with cinders which are a very small pebble, so it was like walking in loose sand the whole time.  Bill and Jessica were real troopers, and we made it to the top of the cone and back with no problems.

Our first view of Cinder Cone peaking through the trees.

Thar she blows. You can see in this picture how loose the soil is.

There isn't much for the trees to grab on to for roots.

A view of the trail up the side. Jessica and Bill are anxious to get going, NOT!

The hike up the side was very tiring, so we broke it down into several small segments.

A veiw of Lassen Peak.

Jessica and I on one of our rest stops.

Of course we made it to the top.

A view of Snag Lake which was our starting point for this hike.

That's a long way down.

The rim of the crater.

Jessica resting on the rim.

Down into the crater. None of us saw a point in hiking down there.

A view of Fantasic Lava Beds and Painted Dunes

More Fantasic Lava Beds. This is a huge lava flow from the last eruption.

Starting down the back side of the Cone.

Cone, Dunes, Lava.

Almost down. The Painted Dunes are caused by all the minerals changing the color of the soil.

At ground level again.

Along side of the Fantasic Lava Beds.


On the way back to the campsite from Cinder Cone we decided to stop at Burney Falls.  It is a State Park about 40 miles north of Lassen.  It is one of the prettier falls I have seen, and is easily accessible.  Rumor has it that the falls were used as the picture on the original Coors can, but they had to be taken off because they are not in Colorado.

These are all pretty much self explanitory.


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