Lassen Volcanic National Park is lightly visited compared to most of California's other national parks, making it feel like a bit of a secret, but that doesn't mean its any less mighty. Located in northern California, this park is situated at the southern end of the youthfully volcanic Cascade range, where the High Sierras begin. Appropriately, it boasts alpine lakes, ragged peaks, miles of trails, and several colorful geothermal features. It offers visitors a taste of more popular parks (think Yellowstone and Yosemite) but without the crowds, since even many native Californians are unaware of its existence. A small, peaceful park was just what we wanted, and we made the most of it!
Also near Lassen Peak is the trail head to Bumpass Hell, a three-mile round trip tour of some of the parks most colorful and noisy geothermal features. I must be honest, after a month in Yellowstone I was healthily skeptical that Lassen's mud pots and steam vents would rise to the occasion. And while no, the features at this park do not rival the likes of Old Faithful or the West Thumb Geyser Basin, they do offer enough of a view into Earth's soul that left me wanting more. I just can't get enough of these volcanoes!
As I mentioned above, it is a small park. We were only in Lassen for about a day but we felt that we were able to accomplish everything we wanted. So, we left early to get a head start on an otherwise long drive to Yosemite. Thank you, Lassen, for a great time, we will be back! And thank you, Ma & Pa or the last-minute roadside assistance - pizza, beer and a bed were much appreciated!