Lassen Volcanic National Park. The best of California.
I like to be honest with you, dear reader. If you came into this article to discover the best of the Lassen Volcanic National Park, or discover the best hikes to do in California, I want to save you the effort. Do not read this article because I’m not going to talk about that.
When we arrived in Lassen Volcanic NP, a late snowstorm had flooded routes and roads so there was little that could be seen of the park. But it was that little that convinced us that one day we would have to return. It was that little that made us understand that it is not necessary to see everything to enjoy a place.
We learned this since we traveled with our son. Adaptation is a more than fundamental characteristic for any traveling parent. Many times, less is more. And it was in this national park when we realized that indeed a day of little walking, can be a day of much discovery. It was one of those days in which we apply what we like to call Slow Traveling. Shall we start?
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Boiling Springs, turquoise lakes, the smell of sulfur in the air, yellow earth surrounded by green coniferous forests, mountains of snow-capped peaks, and Lassen volcano seeing everything from above. So is this wonderful National Park often overlooked by tourism because of its location, in the northern part of the State of California.
Lassen Volcanic NP is located 4 hours from San Francisco, the city that acts as the northernmost destination of those who venture into California for the first time. But I assure you that if you have a few more days to add to your tour, this place is worth it. I tell you this without even having traveled its dozens of roads. But a simple road closed to traffic was a walk more than enough to discover the beauty of this place.
The best hike in Lassen Volcanic NP
When we visited the Park, the best hike was literally a road. The one you see above in the photo. That same place where cars usually pass in their journey through the interior of the park and that at that time was closed and could be walked.
That mile or so that we did on the asphalt was a marvel. We were alone, surrounded by snowy peaks, green and yellow earth, with patches of recent snow, and that smell of sulfur in the air that lets you know that beneath us, the earth never stops moving.
After leaving the car in a parking lot a few miles away from the main entrance of the Park (the only one open at that time to the public), the first thing we found was a small path that took us to the first big attraction of the Park: Sulfur Works , a geothermal area that reminded us of the Geysir Park, in Iceland.
This easy-access hike for children and wheelchairs gives us a first idea of what the Park is: fumaroles, and boiling water gushing from the bowels of the earth.
What most caught our attention was that a few meters away from those threatening boiling waters, we were able to enjoy what the snowstorm left a few days ago. Once again the contrasts of California made us fall in love with “her”.
From there, we had no more options than to follow the empty route that wound up around the hills, and that would give us incredible views of the surroundings, the mountains, the forests, and take us to a natural viewpoint, our last stop before running back to the car while a hail rain threatened to break our coats (and our heads).
Unfortunately, there is not much more that we can tell you about the Park. We do not like to simply search Google and make you believe that we saw what we did not see.
Our experience at Lassen Volcanic NP was short but wonderful. If your plan is a visit to the Park, you can look on the official website of California to discover the different things to do there: https://goo.gl/uvvf4f
Sometimes the trip you plan does not go perfectly. Our idea was to be able to visit the Lassen Volcanic NP, discover its diverse attractions such as Manzanita Lake or Bumpass Hell. But in that imperfection is where you must adapt and the magic of improvisation happens. The planned may sound perfect. But the improvised is sometimes unforgettable.
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