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Studying the California map to decide which blue highway roads to take towards Reno, Nevada and a visit with Andi Cook, a high school classmate of Ed’s, I saw Lassen Volcanic National Park and suggested we check it out.  Boy Howdy, are we glad we did!

Leaving Redding on pretty St. Rt. 44E we picked up Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (Rt. 89S) about 3 miles inside the park.  Stopping at the Loomis Museum we learned a bit about the park and saw many of the remarkable photographs taken by Benjamin F. Loomis during the 1914 & ’15 eruptions of Lassen Peak.

hot lassen rock

B.F. Loomis reported that several of these large rocks were still hot, some boiling water even 40 hours after being explosively ejected from the volcano. They caused a snow avalanche that carried them 5 miles from the peak.

Having just celebrated in August its 100th year as a national park (we were there on October 6th) there are four types of volcanoes found here:  shield, composite, cinder cone and plug dome.


Chaos Jumbles rock field at the foot of Chaos Crags.  The rock slide dates from a 1670 collapse of one of the Crags when molten rock underneath the crags superheated groundwater producing a steam explosion that triggered the rockfall avalanche. The snow covered peak behind to the right of the Crags is Lassen Peak.  

A rugged landscape at high elevations, snow can cover the ground from September to June/July while deep below ground a vast hydrothermal system pushes and bubbles away causing extremely hot sulfuric water up to the surface and out steam vents and boiling mud pots.


Marti reads the sign at Sulphur Works on the south side of the drive around Lassen Peak.  In 2012 a visitor was airlifted out after stepping off the path breaking through the one inch crust immersing her foot and ankle in boiling, acidic mud.  STAY ON THE SIDEWALK!



A boiling mud pot at Sulphur Springs.


Whack-A-Mole Wheels!  Lassen Peak is a beautiful place. It’s not a matter of if it will blow but when.

It is not necessarily a friendly place but my, oh my, is it BEAUTIFUL!!   Our only regret was having discovered it at the last minute we only had a day to briefly touch this wonderland.  We will be back!


Hat Creek at the trailhead to Paradise Meadows with Lassen Peak behind.


At around 7000 ft. elevation, Marti found snow from a storm a couple days before we were there.


And a really old pre-pop top beer can.


When there’s snow, there’s snowballs.


The Upper Meadow at the Kings Creek Trailhead.


Overlooking the Upper Meadow at Kings Creek Trailhead.


Climbing higher up the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (or Rt. 89).


Lake Helen from atop a picnic table. (L-R) Pinnacle Peak?, Brokeoff Mountain?, Mt. Diller?  Ski Heil, Eagle and Lassen Peaks.


Getting higher still, just another pretty view from the road.


More steam vents at the Sulphur Works.


Next time we are camping here to explore this most beautiful park.