A lesser known park, but nonetheless extraordinary – Lassen Volcanic National Park is located in northern California and it is filled bubbling mud pots, lava rocks, and out of this world hydrothermal sites.
Upon visiting just after an October storm, the main park road was closed – but not all was lost. The more remote Warner Valley section of the park was still open and it has all of the interesting elements of the park in a neat package, if you’re up for a good hike.
First stop: Devils Kitchen, this is the second largest hydrothermal area in the park. The hike there was every changing, a scenic meadow,
Boardwalks over a hot spring,
and a forest filled with towering trees. Then you get to your destination, and you’ll smell it before you see it. A little loop filled with eerie wonder. Milky gurgling pots,
and boiling bursts of water. It’s absolutely incredible. From there retrace your steps and head towards Boiling Springs Lake. Things here are possibly even crazier, the ground turns pink and the water is mint green.
The steam vents are underneath the lake, creating a temperature of 125 degrees and you can see the steam settling atop the water.
The mud bubbles along the shore. From here you can head to Terminal Geyser, which actually isn’t a geyser at all. There are no geysers in the park. It’s a fumarole, caused by a cold stream flowing over a steam vent. We had the massive plume all to ourselves in this secluded section of the park.
Take the Pacific Crest trail back to see a different side of the park. A forest filled with trees covered in electric green moss.
All of the sudden we came to a spot where the bird action was intense, saw for the first time what I believe was a black-backed woodpecker.
All in all, combing these three destinations will equal approximately 9 miles of hiking filled with wondrous unique sights. Lassen is an amazing destination, well worth a trip out into the middle of nowhere!