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Lassen Volcanic National Park - California

Photo of Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California Lassen Volcanic National Park is located in northeastern California. Park headquarters are located in Mineral, California. Both the main NW and SW entrances to the park are under a one hour drive from
interstate 5.

St. Bernard Lodge is located 20 minutes from the SW entrance of Lassen Park and 15 minutes west of Lake Almanor in Chester, California. St. Bernard Lodge is the perfect place for singles, couples, families and groups to stay while exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park. The lodge is open year round for lodging.

Lassen Park is often overlooked and should be considered as a park to visit along with other surrounding National Parks such as Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, Yosemite National Park, or Redwood National Park. It is also just a great get-a-way from the Bay Area.

Due to its size (150 square miles or over 106,000 acres) and diversity of hiking trails, it is suggested that you plan to spend 2-3 days at the Park. If your time is limited it is possible to drive the main park road (29 miles) and stop at a few sightseeing areas along the main road over a 2-4 hour span of time. If you are limited in time make sure to see the 20 minute documentary at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center.


Lassen Volcanic National Park Lodging and Accommodations

Photo of St. Bernard LodgeSt. Bernard Lodge is a beautiful rustic inn, dating back to the early 1920's. It was originally the Deer Creek Cafe and was later named St. Bernard Lodge in the early 1930's. The lodge has 7 rooms upstairs with two shared bathrooms. Rooms may be booked individually or the entire upstairs can be booked for groups of up to 20 overnight guests. The lodge offers special pricing for group bookings.

The restaurant and tavern on the first floor offer on- site catering for groups of up to 50 guests. Even if you are not staying at St. Bernard Lodge but would like a special place to gather for a special occasion please call us at 530-258-3382 to make reservations.


Most Noted Hikes

Lassen HikesLassen Volcanic Park is famous for its active volcano, boiling mud pots, smelly fumaroles, and fantastic views of Lake Almanor and Mt. Shasta. Bumpass Hell has 75 major fumaroles and Lassen Park has 51 lakes within its boundaries.

Other outdoor activities to enjoy in Lassen Volcanic Park include biking, kayaking, horseback riding, fishing and, of course, hiking. Lassen has 150 miles of hiking trails which includes 17 miles of Pacific Crest Trails. Trails vary in length and difficulty and meander through coniferous forest, alpine tundra and along water ways. The lowest point in the Park is near Warner Valley at 5,200 feet and the Highest point is Lassen Peak at 10,457 feet.

Lassen Park has five vehicle entrances to the park:

  • Main Park road (Hwy 89): At the NW entrance is the Loomis Museum and at the SW entrance the year round Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. Some of the best hiking off of the main Park road includes Bumpass Hell, Lassen Peak Trail, Manzanita Lake, Devastated Area, Kings Creek Falls Trail, Mill Creek Falls, and Sulphur Works. The main park road is 30 miles long and takes about one hour to drive. Even if you are not planning to hike, allow for at least 2 hours to enjoy the vistas from the many pull-outs.
  • South East Corner of Park: Enter through Warner Valley. Hikes include Boiling Springs Lake, Terminal Geyser and Devils Kitchen. When visiting this corner of the Park we suggest making reservations ahead of time for lunch or dinner at Drakesbad guest ranch. Horseback rides are also available at Drakesbad. With lunch or dinner reservations you are able to use the mineral hot springs pool. It is wonderful to soak in the pool after hiking the area.
  • Juniper Lake entrance: Mount Harkness is a favorite hike up to the Fire look-out tower. Great views of both Lassen Peak and Cinder Cone from Mt. Harkness. Horse corrals are available near Juniper Lake. The fire-lookout tower is manned during the day. The staff working the tower is very friendly and will show you around the inside of the lookout tower and explain how they use it to report fires. Mount Harkness is one of our favorite hikes with great views of the Vulcan Eye on Lassen Peak, Lake Almanor, and Cinder Cone in the distance.
  • North East Corner of Park: Cinder Cone, Prospect Peak, Painted Dunes and Butte Lake. To reach the trailhead for Cinder Cone, it is 7 miles back on the dirt road. When visiting the NE corner of the Park, we suggest visiting the Subway Caves in the Lassen National Forest and the Hat Creek Overlook.


Lassen Park in the Winter

Lassen Park in the WinterMost of Lassen's visitors come the summer months. However, the park becomes a magical place to visit during the winter if you’re into snowshoeing, cross country skiing, family snow-play (who isn’t?) and, for the more adventurous, snow camping. The winter season provides visitors an auto-free Park experience past the Loomis Museum and the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center.

Lassen Park rangers also offer ranger led snowshoe walks on Saturday and Sunday from early January through early April. Meeting time is scheduled for 1:30 pm at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. Walks usually last about 1 1/2 hours. The Park asks for a $1 donation for maintenance of snowshoes. This is a great opportunity to learn how to snowshoe before you rent or buy your own equipment.

Organized groups can schedule a private group tour by calling 530-595-6132. St. Bernard Lodge makes a great base for groups exploring the Park both in the winter and the summer.

The park has two marked winter trails, Forest Lake Trail near the SW parking area and the Manzanita Lake trail near the Loomis Museum. The 29 mile main Park road is great for Nordic skiing or snowshoeing.

The park has 100 plus skiable acres for skiing or snowboarding. Lassen Peak, Ski Heil Peak, Mr. Diller and Brokeoff Mountain offer great tele terrain.

For more detailed information on winter routes check the winter park newspaper.

Both the Lassen and Plumas National Forest offer groomed trails for XC skiing. Two trails between Lassen Park and St. Bernard Lodge are McGowan and Spencer Meadow.

15 minutes east of St. Bernard Lodge is the Lake Almanor Recreation Trail. 30 minutes east is the Bizz Johnson Trail, which runs between Westwood and Susanville.

A few guide companies offer trips to Lassen during the winter months. Please call St. Bernard Lodge for more information: (530) 258-3382.


Wildlife in Lassen Park

Lassen Park is home to a diverse group of plants and wildlife.

  • Lassen Park is home to over 216 species of birds, 96 of these species are known to breed in the Park.
  • 779 plant species. According to the California Native Plant Society, 20 known special status plant species are found in Lassen Park. The park is home to 3 extremely rare alpine wildflowers; talus collema, Mt. Lassen draba, and alpine false cudyloft.
  • 57 mammal species. Scientists believe that the Lassen Region contains the densest population of Sierra Nevada Red Fox in California.
  • 6 amphibian and 8 reptiles species
  • 83 species of butterflies and 147 species of moths
  • 8 bat species

Click for a list of wildlife and plants found in the Lassen Region.


History of Lassen Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park started as two separate national monuments designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907; Cinder Cone National Monument and Lassen Peak National Monument. It is one of the oldest National Parks and was designated in August of 1916.

Lassen Peak is the largest plug dome volcano in the world

Lassen Volcanic Park, as it is most popularly referred to, features Lassen Peak which is the largest plug dome volcano in the world and the southern most volcano in the Cascade Mountain Range which also contains Crater Lake in Oregon.

A plug dome is basically a round mound-shaped protrusion that is created from the slow and gradual eruption of lava, in this case from Lassen Peak. This is why a plug dome is also called a lava dome. It is said that high levels of silica in the lava make it viscous and thick thus preventing the hot magma from traveling too far. In fact, it normally just builds on itself as more lava flows from the volcanic extrusion resulting in ever increasing mound sizes and dome shapes.

Lassen Peak is an active volcano that is located in the southernmost tip of the Cascade Range which extends from northern California to Oregon (Crater Lake) all the way up to British Columbia in Canada. Lassen Peak is the only volcano in the U.S. (excluding Hawaii and Alaska) other than Mount St. Helens in Washington to erupt in the 20th century. It erupted on May 22, 1915, a powerful and explosive event that rained lava and volcanic ash for over 200 miles. Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980 and was so powerful that it deposited volcanic ash in 11 states. Lassen Peak is the second highest summit in Northern California just behind Mt. Shasta.

Nobles Emigrant Trail, part of the California Historic Trails crosses Lassen Park's full width in the northern section of the park. A 24 mile section of the trail crosses in the park starting near Cinder Cone and exiting near Manzanita Lake, parts of the trail can still be seen. The trail was established in 1852 as a short cut between the Applegate Trail in Nevada and the Lassen Trail in California. This trail was used extensively until the 1870's.

Click for more history of Lassen Park.


Geological Features of Lassen Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park is unique in that it is the only National Park with all four types of volcanoes. The 4 types of volcanoes are:

  • Plug Dome (Lassen Peak) - round dome protrusion caused by slow and viscous lava flows;
  • Shield (Prospect Peak) - large volcano with sloping sides that are formed by low-viscosity lava (not as much silica n the lava);
  • Cinder Cone - circular/oval cones that are created when lava erupts into the air and falls becoming fragments or cinders around the volcanic vent as it hardens. Cinder cone volcanoes usually have a bowl-shaped crater at its peak;
  • Strato or Composite (Brokeoff Volcano) - tall cone-shaped volcano with many layers of hardened, viscous lava around it.


Vehicle Freed Day to Bike Lassen Volcanic National Park

In 2014, Lassen Park started an annual program where the main park road is open to bicyclists and walkers for one day before the road is open to vehicular traffic. The date is determined on very short notice, usually no more than one week out. It is worth watching the park website or calling the St. Bernard Lodge for updates. The day is usually sometime in May or early June.

The main road through Lassen Park is also part of the Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route. This route roughly parallels the Pacific Crest Trail along the Cascade Range and the Sierra Nevada from the Mexican border to the Canadian Border.


Lassen Volcanic National Park Location

Lassen Volcanic Park has five points of entrance. The NW entrance is off of Hwy 44, the SW entrance is on Hwy 36 East. The SW entrance is just 20 minutes from the Lodge. NE entrance of park is off of Hwy 44, north of Bogard rest area. SE entrance is a 17 mile drive from the town of Chester, the last 3 miles is on dirt road. Juniper Lake entrance is also accessed from Chester, the last 7 miles are dirt road.

Lassen is only 5+ hours from Crater Lake in Oregon, 7 hours from Yosemite, 6 hours from Redwood National and State Parks and 3 hours from Lake Tahoe. Lassen Park is a 4-5 hour drive from most of the Bay Area and about a 3 hour drive from Sacramento.


Lassen Volcanic National Park Map and Directions

Click on the following link for a map and directions from Mount Lassen Volcanic National Park in Mineral, CA to St. Bernard Lodge in Mill Creek, CA. Lassen Volcanic Park in Mineral is only a 20 minute drive from the Lodge.


Mount Lassen Volcanic National Park Address

Lassen Volcanic National Park
PO Box 100
Mineral, CA 96063-0100
Phone: 530-595-4444
Fax: 530-595-3262
TDY: 530-595-3480

Call us at 530.258.3382 to reserve a room at the St. Bernard Lodge or feel free to reserve online. Please give us a call if you need more information on St. Bernard Lodge, Lassen Park or the surrounding area, we would be glad to help.