Bumpass Hell

Bumpass Hell Trail, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
We got a National Park Pass last year for our Southwest road trip and decided to get the most out of it and visit a number of National Parks in California. At $80 the pass is a deal if you plan on visiting several National Parks in one year.  Lassen Volcanic National Park had been on my list for some time.  Last year I did the driving tour of the park but this year I really wanted to come back to hike Bumpass Hell, the area with the largest number of hydrothermal features in the park. 

Hydrothermal Features
The hike is a moderate hike mainly because it’s situated at 8000 ft.  The beginning of the trail was easy, although I will say I was not prepared for how rough the small descent into the most active hydrothermal area would be.  The descent is not very long (about 100 feet) but because of the large amount of snowfall in the spring, there was still a significant amount of snow/ice on the trail.  Now, I’ll admit I’m not an avid hiker…I enjoy it but I am definitely an easy – moderate hiker, so take that into consideration.  The descent was very slow and daunting for me.  With my standard hiking shoes on each step was a slippery slope where I had to work to maintain balance and not fall 100 feet down the icy hill.  I admittedly was afraid although there were families around me with toddlers handling the trail just fine (crazy right?).  Depending on your hiking experience level be prepared with the proper shoes to hike in snow and ice if needed. 

Once I made it, it was worth it.  There are trails built to keep you on the path, the hydrothermal features can cause severe burns.  With the picturesque snow covered hills in the background, the white, blue and orange colors, and puffs of steam flowing into the sky, it felt like a different planet.  It was pretty amazing.  

Lassen Volcanic National Park has many other trails to consider depending on how skilled you are at hiking.  The park is gorgeous and well worth the trip.  It promises a fascinating volcanic history, pristine lakes, snow capped mountains and steaming hydrothermal features.  Bottom line, Bumpass Hell is a fascinating site to see.  Do it. 

Mt. Lassen National Park
*Details accessed from www.NPS.gov

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