Located in north-eastern California, Lassen Volcanic National Park is a centre of dramatic geology and breathtaking wilderness. The park covers an area of 430 km2 (166 sq mi) and the incredible force of nature can be witnessed within its boundaries.
The park is a hotbed of volcanic activity; smoking fumaroles, mud pots, hot springs, steam vents, painted dunes and four volcanoes lattice the landscape. From one extreme to another – the park is also home to glorious lakes, tranquil forests and wildflower meadows creating the perfect habitat for over 250 animal species.
Lassen Volcano is at the heart of Lassen Volcanic National Park. Once believed to be dormant, in 1914 the volcano began to rumble again. Over 150 minor eruptions occurred between 1914 and early 1915, precursors to the main event. On May 19, 1915 lava exploded from the mountain top, forcing a 6 m (20 ft) high wall of lava, mud and ash down the mountain, devastating everything in its path. Lassen is considered an active volcano today, but it has been quiet since 1921.
The landscape of Lassen Volcanic National Park still bears the scars of the 1915 eruption. Visitors can discover the effects of such a disaster, and the ability of nature to recover, on the Devastated Area trail.
A 240 km (~150 mi) network of trails and scenic routes offers ample opportunity for exploration. Numerous trails lead to volcanic marvels such as the painted dunes, so called for their vibrant colours caused by constant activity from Cinder Cone. Temperatures are generally cool in winter and warm in summer, although above 2,300 m (~7,545 ft), the climate is far harsher and colder. The park receives fewer than 400,000 visitors a year and much of the land is untouched by human activity. Lassen Volcanic National Park is authentically, ruggedly and violently natural.