Star Gazing and Eclipse Viewing at Lassen Volcanic Park
July 12, 2017 by: Sharon Roberts
During your stay at Lassen Volcanic National Park, you can hike to panoramic views, explore otherworldly hydrothermal areas, kayak on one of the park’s many lakes, and participate on a ranger-led tour. However, one of the park’s most incredible features is also one of its least known: its unparalleled views of the starry night sky, as shown in the above photo of Manzanita Lake (photo credit: Alison Taggart-Barone). The park is located far from major hubs of civilization, making it an unrivaled spot for clear stargazing. Lassen is one of the last remaining places in the country where you can savor a completely dark, star-studded night sky. The National Parks Service is committed to protecting all sorts of natural phenomenon, from volcanoes to animals to hot springs. That also means preserving natural lightscapes from light pollution. Whether you come to attend the Lassen Dark Sky Festival, take a ranger-led tour, or catch a glimpse of August’s historic eclipse, this summer is the perfect time to soak in Lassen’s breathtaking celestial wonders.
Attend the Lassen Dark Sky Festival
Friday, August 11, through Sunday, August 13, 2017
The Lassen Dark Sky Festival is a three-day festival dedicated entirely to celebrating the majesty of the night sky. Rangers, astronomers, astrobiologists, and novice star-lovers alike all flock to Lassen for this one-of-a-kind festival. Over the course of the weekend, there will be nightly constellation and stargazing tours as well as ranger-led hikes and hands-on educational activities. The Lassen Dark Sky Festival is also an excellent opportunity to learn from some of the best, most informed people in the business. There will be presentations and demonstrations by luminaries from NASA, the International Dark Sky Association, RECON, and the Astronomical Society of Nevada. This year, you’ll learn about Perseid meteors, interstellar ice, and the latest finders of the Curiosity Rover on Mars. While the event is popular with people of all ages, there are many special programs, like the Junior Ranger Astronomy Sessions and Night Explorer Activities, that make this a popular weekend for kids as well. Whether you are an experienced astronomer or an amateur star-lover, the annual Dark Sky Festival promises a little something for anyone who appreciates the stars, planets, and little-known wonders of outer space.
Participate in an Astronomy Program
Lassen’s regular astronomy programs allow park guests to take a guided tour with an informed and passionate Park Ranger. You’ll learn about the stars, constellations, and planets and get tips on how to locate stars and objects in the night sky. These programs take place at the Devastated Area every Wednesday and Bumpass Hell parking lot on select Saturdays. Click here for more information.
Monday, August 21, at 10:18 am
This August’s solar eclipse promises to be one of the most watched natural events in human history. Though Lassen Volcanic Park is not in the line of totality, it will still offer stellar views of the partial solar eclipse. August is always a busy month at Lassen, so be prepared for some crowds, busy roads, and packed parking areas. And don’t forget to bring your own pair of special eclipse viewing glasses, also available at the Loomis Museum and Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center Visit their National Park Service page for hours and additional information. Lassen promises to be an excellent place to experience this awe-inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime event.
Explore On your Own
Bumpass Hell Parking Lot
Bumpass Hell is a 16-acre hydrothermal area featuring Big Boiler, one of the largest fumaroles in the world. Hike through the area by day to see steaming pools, rainbow-colored soil, and wide volcanic basins. At night, come to see some of the best stargazing in the park. Park Rangers lead regular tours, but if you would like to explore independently, head to the Bumpass Hell Parking Lot and be prepared for a truly incredible sight.
Coming to Lassen National Volcanic Park for stargazing? Make Saint Bernard Lodge your homebase during your stay. Book direct now for our best rates and amenities.