When exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park and hiking Lassen Peak we decided to also hike Bumpass Hell, one of the parks most well known attractions. Bumpass hell is named after Kendall Vanhook Bumpass who stumbled on this area in the late 1800’s while he was hiking. It is named Bumpass Hell because he actually fell in one of the steam geysers and ended up losing a leg. The area itself is a geothermal area that has many steam vents that continuously pour out steam and sulfur gases from the molten lava that is running 5 miles under this area and the forest ranger there told us some of the water is so acidic it is like stomach acid. Read on for photos and a recap on the hike.
The hike to this area is 3 miles round trip and should be relatively easy for most people. The Bumpass Hell area is for sure something that should be exprienced in the park, even if you have to smell the gross sulfur, the sites are unlike anything you probably ever seen. To start the journey you set out on a trail that goes along the edge of a mountain. Through the way there are beautiful vista points that overlook the forest and streams below.
When you reach the Bumpass Hell area after about one and a half miles you’re immediately greeted with the strange colors, load noises coming from big boiler and a overwhelming smell of sulfur. The terrain it self is almost other worldly as there is a lot of color on the ground that I have never really seen. There are a lot of orange, red and bluish rocks all over due to the sulfur mixing with the terrain and the creek that comes off bumpass hell is made of completely grey water.
There are also many different mud pots that boil constantly from the heat that is coming up from the area. You wont have to walk along the brittle ground though as there is a boardwalk installed so you can walk around and see all of the pools, geysers and steam vents. Big boiler, the main steam geyser in Bumpass Hell has water that reaches 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
After about 30 minutes walking around the boardwalk and taking in the sights we headed back to higher ground to escape the smell of the sulfur and made our way out of Lassen Volcanic National Park. Bumpass Hell is one of those places that really has to be seen to be beleived. When I orginally saw the pictures I wasn’t sure what to expect and it exceeded my expectations. You can check out a video I shot with my phone below to get more of a feel for Bumpass Hell.
I would recommend checking out this area as it is an easy walk and it is something that you never really get a chance to see. I would love to see it again with all of the snow on it that is there most of the year.
Check out the rest of the pictures and leave me a comment.