Lassen Volcanic National Park is known for its amazing geothermal attractions, like a baby Yellowstone in California. These areas are amazing places to explore in the state, which are unlike anything else you can find in California. The main and most impressive one is Bumpass Hell, also in Lassen Volcanic National Park, but if you want to get away from the crowds, Devil’s Kitchen is your best bet. Here is all the information on this hike, which is on the eastern side of the park (not on the park’s main drive).
- 5 miles round trip
- 600 feet of elevation
- You can also go to Terminal Geyser or Boiling Springs Lake while there
- Must pay $30 if you don’t have a park pass as this area is part of the park
- Location: Warner Valley Trailhead
Here is a video I made of the trail.
Devil’s Kitchen is in the Warner Valley area of Lassen, near the only lodging in the park (Drakesbed Guest Ranch). It’s a good 45 minutes from the park’s southern entrance, so keep that in mind if you want to visit. I won’t try to describe the directions; I would just recommend putting it into Google Maps. Also, note the last few miles to the trailhead is dirt, but I easily did it in a two-wheel drive car. Eventually, you will arrive at the Warner Valley trailhead where the trail starts.
This trail is beautiful the entire way, but especially so in the beginning.
The trail goes along many elevated boardwalks as you walk along the creek and through a few meadows. I even saw two deer here while walking.
The trail is easy to follow because the meadow is overgrown, and the path is easy to see.
When I was there, the meadows had lovely flowers and butterflies all around; it really was magical.
At about a half-mile the trail will split with the path that goes to the Terminal Geyser and Boiling Springs Lake, more on that here. The trail continues along the creek with a couple of water crossings on small bridges.
It goes alongside Drakesbed Guest Ranch, which is the primary lodging in Lassen Volcanic National Park and looks like a great place to stay.
At the one mile mark, you will reach a giant meadow with forest on both sides.
This area is beautiful, and it’s nice to walk through such an open space.
From here, the trail heads into the forest and starts going up. You will go up most of the way to the Devil’s Kitchen, but it is not too tough.
This area was anticlimactic with how stunning the rest of the trail was, but it was peaceful. Bears are often reported here, so keep tour eyes peeled.
Eventually, you will reach the end of the uphill and will have a 100 foot downhill to Devil’s Kitchen.
You will begin to see steam rising as you head down and will see a creek with greyish water entering it.
The Devil’s Kitchen is a large geothermal area right next to the creek.
It has a quarter mile trail that takes you all around the area with many different steam vents and colored pools to look at.
I thought it was small at first and didn’t realize that it was a more extensive trail with a good amount to see on its quater mile.
The top of the small hill brings you to the primary steam vents which were spewing out when I was there.
As you head down the other side of the hill, you will see a pool with yellow dirt surrounding it, which is one of the most photographed areas in the Devil’s Kitchen.
There is a grey creek that comes off the pools in this section and some boiling mud if you listen for it.
The trial continues down but doesn’t get you very close to the rest of the geothermal aspects of this area. Be sure to stay on the trail! The ground can crumble, and you would not want to fall in the boiling water.
I took lots of photos and then began the hike back out. I was happy I visited this part of the park as it is a great spot to see in comparison to Bumpass Hell.
On the way back, if you are feeling up to it, take the one mile spur to Boiling Springs Lake (above photo), it’s a fantastic place to see as well. Read about it here.
You can read all my Lassen content here and let me know what you think in the comments.