I spent last weekend camping at Lassen Volcanic National Park. I hiked to the top of Mount Lassen while there. It is not easy by any standards, but I was rewarded with simply stunning views.
If you ever have the chance to hike Mount Lassen, I highly recommend it. The hike is intense, but the feeling of accomplishment you get at the top as well as the incomparable views are so worth it.
manzanita lake camping
I arrived at Manzanita Lake on Friday in the late afternoon. I set up camp and started exploring. The Lake is predictably gorgeous.
getting there (to the hike)
The next morning, after cooking myself breakfast, I drove up to the Lassen Peak trailhead. It was about a half hour drive, which is an experience in itself.
The trailhead is in the parking lot. You can't miss it. It looks like it would be a pretty gentle slope if you didn't know any better. It's only about 5 miles round trip, but it's fairly grueling and takes between 3 and 5 hours for most people.
The elevation gain is 2,000 feet.
While I was hiking, a butterfly landed on the hand of this little girl hiking with her family. She reminded me of my daughters at that age.
Keep an eye out for "mud pots" which are exactly what they sound like. They smell strongly of sulfur, and are part of the affectionately named "Fart Gulch".
When rain and snow fall on the Highlands of the park, water is absorbed deep into the ground, which is then heated by molten lava and pushed back out- it's how we know the volcano is still live and could potentially erupt.
I made it to the very top! I met this nice couple and we took each other's picture.
I decided to stay to catch the sunset. If you decide to do the same, please bring a head lamp- I did and it was STILL scary. I was able to get some really cool photos though.
Seeing the sizable shadow of the mountain cast over the valley reminded me of just how massive Lassen is.