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Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California

Despite the name, it’s rarely hot at Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California, making summer the best time to visit this geologic and geothermal gem of the National Park System. Mild daytime temperatures and wildflowers galore make summer prime hiking season, and with 779 plant species, the park’s mid-summer displays of flowering flora are awesome.

Lassen Peak erupted in 1914 and continued some activity until 1921. The peak’s eruption held the record as the most dramatic in the continental United States until Mount St. Helens.

The northern part of the park features great lava pinnacles, huge lava flow mountains, jagged craters and steaming sulfur vents. It is cut by spectacular glaciated canyons, dotted by lakes and threaded with rushing clear streams.

The southern part is a vast lava plateau at more than a mile above sea level. It features cinder cones, forests and lakes. Hot springs and large gorgeous meadows bursting with wildflowers can be found in several areas of the park in July.

Located fifty miles east of Redding, California, Lassen Volcanic NP offers a wealth of activities in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter. You’ll need a minimum of two days to get the most from your trip to this serene park, which should include the three hour drive on the park road, frequent stops, hiking and a tour of the Loomis Museum at Manzanita Lake which contains fascinating photos and artifacts of the 1914-1915 eruption of Lassen Peak.

One of the park’s highlights is the hike to Bumpass Hell. It is the park’s largest geothermal area, with bubbling mud pots, steaming fumaroles and boiling water. Snow may cover much of the park from mid-October through mid-June, so the park’s operational schedule varies. Log on to the Internet at for details. The months of July, August and September bring mostly sunny skies with warm daytime and cool to cold nighttime temperatures.

Preserved and protected for all time, Lassen Volcanic NP combines recreation, natural beauty and geologic mystery with the story of nature’s recovery and diversity. It has backpacking, day hiking, bird watching, nature walks, wildlife viewing, fishing, horseback riding, stargazing and many lakes for non-motorized boating. Overnight accommodations include eight campgrounds and the Drakesbad Guest Ranch. Ranger-led interpretative programs are held late June through August and a 7-day entrance pass per vehicle is $10.

To plan your visit to Lassen Volcanic, call ahead at (530) 595-4444 for the park newspaper and map, or visit Park headquarters can also answer your questions about accommodations and visitor amenities near the park.

Information provided by the National Park Service