Lassen National Park Attractions: Hikes, Lakes, Caves and Geothermal Areas

One of California’s most under utilized National Parks, due mainly to its location in Northern California, is also one of its most beautiful. This park has everything from subway caves and volcanic summits to geothermal areas and waterfalls. It is a must visit in California and here is a collection of the things you will see when you visit, based on entering from the southern entrance.

Visitor Center

Lassen 1

The visitor center is a better one then most national parks, it has a lot of park info, a gift shop and a decent cafe.

Lassen 2

The cafe has all the normal stuff like hamburgers, fruit, ice cream and sandwiches. It is a great place to have a meal after a day of hiking.

Sulphur Works

geothermal

Right up the road from the visitor center is a parking lot that leads to an easy access geothermal area called Sulphur Works. This area is said to be the volcanic center of the ancient volcano and from here you can walk to a bubbling mud pool with escaping sulfur mist that literally smells like rotten eggs. There are also some cool overlooks that show the color patterns that the gas has on the terrain.

Bumpass hell

bumpass-hell-from-above

Much like the Sulphur Works, Bumpass Hell is much more unique but requires 2.5 miles each way to get to it. This is one of the most strangely beautiful parts of the park and a must visit if you can handle the hike. The area has massive mud boiling pots, sulphur steam vents and unique colored landscape with wooden plank walkways. Read my full post on it here.

Lake Helen

lassen-peak-from-lake-helen

This lake is one of my favorite spots in the park. It is a simple turn off that has a beautiful visita of Mt Lassen with the pristine blue lake in front of it. I could spend a lot of time here and I make it a stop on every trip to the park.

Mt Lassen Trailhead

vulcan-eye-on-lassen-peak

Right after the lake there is a parking lot for the trail head to the summit of Mt Lassen. This is one of my favorite hikes in all of California but it is only open three weekends out of the year so if you want to hike it then make sure you research if it’s open. Check out my full post here.

Cold Boiling Lake

cold water boiling

After you descend from the Lassen trailhead there is a small turn off for King Creek. This is the parking lot for the trailhead to Cold Boiling Lake. This hike is relatively easy with about a mile each way, but at the end you are dropped in an amazing meadow that has mountains around it and a beautiful forest. The lake itself has small water run offs around it where you can see the cold water boiling, or the sulphur bubbles escaping if you want to know what it actually is.

Kings Creek Falls

kings creek falls

After the last turn out there is a stop for King Creek Falls a beautiful hike through a cascading river that ends at an amazing 40 foot waterfall. The hike is about 3 miles each way with 700 feet of elevation gain when coming back up from the falls, so make sure you are ready for it. It is a amazing view though and a great way to explore the back country areas of the park.

Subway Cave

Subway Cave 12

From here I haven’t stopped to much on the backside of the park, other then to exit the back and proceed slightly out of the park to a lava tube subway cave. While this is not really in the park I felt it was still a good additional cause it is so close. From the parking lot it is a short walk to the start of this amazing 1/3 of a mile lava tube. Check out my full post here.

As you can see from the above post, I love this park, it is amazing and has so much to offer. Get yourself up there and pay the 10 dollars to experience it. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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  • Denise Kelley

    I just wanted to say thanks for such great posts on things to see and do in California. This coming Wednesday I’m moving home to California after a 20 year absence and will be driving down Hwy 395 from about Redding and am looking forward to seeing some of the places you have posted about. Lassen is the first major stop on my list, thanks to your post. If you haven’t been to Randsburg off of Hwy 395 then the next time you are out that way, just 30 minutes south of Ridgecrest (think Death Valley) then stop by the Randsburg General Store. Good hamburgers and an antique soda (phosphate soda) fountain. Thanks again for helping me to rediscover my home state.

    • Thanks for the comment and I am so glad the site can help inspire some adventures in CA! I appreciate the recommendation on Randsburg as well, I will be heading up 395 next weekend so I will make sure to stop there!

  • St Bernard Lodge

    Great information on sites and time to visit them along Hwy. 395. To see Lassen Park and enjoy it I suggest at least 2 full days if not 3. A couple of additional hikes you did not mention:
    Mt. Harkness to the fire-look out tower. ( Trail head is 7 miles back on dirt road near Juniper Lake). Devil’s Kitchen and Boiling Springs Lake in the SE corner. Cinder Cone in the NE corner.
    Lassen Peak has been open only a few weekends each year for the last several years. If all goes well it should be open full time starting next summer.

    Fall colors are beautiful in the Eastern Sierra as well as Lassen Park and the Feather River Canyon.

    Lassen Park is also fun to visit for winter sports of XC skiing, snowshoeing and snow play.

    Will share your post with guests that are traveling Hwy 395.

    • Thanks for the comment and the suggestion of other hikes, now I need to get back there again! I agree completely that you need a few days to explore the park at a minimum but some time is better then nothing right? Thanks for sharing my Highway 395 post I really appreciate it!

  • Pat Phillips

    Have 6 days from Sacramento last week of April. Would a road trip to Lassen work with Redwoods?

    • It depends on the year as sometimes Lassen is not open (snow plowed) that early in the season.