Lassen is now my favorite place to camp! The drive from our home was very smooth, no traffic and no inkling of feeling lost. There is really a bit of everything here. Whether you like trees, lakes or waterfall; there are wildflowers, mountains, and yes volcanoes! Lassen offers some unique hikes. One of Lassen most popular places to visit is their hydrothermal sites. Once we arrived, we decided to do the Bumpass Hell hike. This is like entering a steamy cauldron of smelly sulfur. A nice boardwalk takes you along to see mudpots, boiling pools, and steaming ground. Such a different side of nature, but still beautiful in its own way.
The next day was quite an adventure to the Cinder Cone. I was excited to see this, but also nervous about the hike to the top. Firstly to get to the area, you’ll drive on an unpaved road. (It is a nice dirt road, drive slowly if you are concern.) At the start of the hike, there is a mile long sandy trail. You’ll see the Fantastic Lava Beds along the way to the volcano. Once the trees clear, the sight of the Cinder Cone stands alone and is just impressive and perfectly sculpted. Now the daunting part is to hike 700 ft up a steep angle path with no resting stop and nothing to grab on to. A few small children pass us and went up like it’s nothing. Two elderly women headed up as well. So me, healthy 20-something should stop being chicken and work it like everyone else. Sigh! It was so tough. Every two steps forward is a step back due to the loose gravel. Good thing, I found a walking stick on my way to the Cinder Cone because without it, I don’t know how I can manage to reach the top. I just look down at my feet and gave myself pep talks. I simply kept going and tried not to stop. This way I won’t get scare and freeze up.
At the top, you’ll see a magnificent landscape of wonderfully animated Painted Dunes, lava beds, and the devastation area — all created by the eruption of the volcano. You can even hike down inside the crater of the volcano too. We meet the elderly group from Washington and the East Coast who visits a different National Park every year! We enjoy a small packed lunch and walk around the rim before calling it a day. You’ll be glad to know that the going down the Cinder Cone is much faster and easier. Some people even have fun sliding down. For me, I like to take it slow and steady. This is definitely the most unique hikes I’ve ever done.