This northern California mountain hasn’t rumbled since 1921, five years after it gained National Park status, but it has centuries of tumultuous activity to thank for its signature features: fuming vents, hot springs and the red-tinged painted dunes dotted with snow algae, pine trees and other soaring conifers.
Geologists have discovered each of the four main types of volcanoes within Lassen Volcanic National Park's 106,372 acres: Prospect Peak typifies the shield style; Lassen Peak itself is a plug dome; Cinder Cone is named for its category; and Mount Tehama represents the composite form.
But enough geological talk. Lassen Volcanic National Park is simply stunning. Located in California, the dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak, which happens to be the largest plug dome volcano in the world. Aside from its great peaks, the park is home to wide meadows freckled with wildflowers and crystal-clear mountain lakes.
Each summer, hundreds of people take part in the Reach Higher Trail Challenge. To take home a free commemorative bandana, all you have to do is choose one the various trails in the park to hike, of which there are plenty of all levels. You then visit the park ranger to collect your memento and sign the register of hikers who have completed the challenge!
If you like your walks with a side of sulphur, take the Bumpass Hell trail – a 4.8-kilometre route though the park's largest hydrothermal area. In the winter, why not try snowshoeing? It's a great way to explore the park in the snow and you can easily rent a pair of snowshoes to get snowshoeing on an independent or ranger-lead walk.
There’s so much to do at Lassen, even including a stargazing and astronomy program set-up. As they say 'half the park is after dark'. attend a Starry Night ranger-led walk through the park, or pick up a night sky viewing guide from the Lassen Association book store.