It has been said that Lassen Volcanic National Park is the Yellowstone of California because of its world-stopping hydrothermal sites. We interviewed Shanda Ochs, a Lassen park guide, to get an insider’s perspective on how to make the most of your time spent in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
The park was established in 1916 (the same year the National Park Service was established) after the eruption of Lassen Peak in 1915- though, there were already efforts being made prior to establishing the land as a National Park in hopes of preserving and protecting its natural resources long before the bill was passed.
In 1907, two national monuments were established to preserve areas with scientific interest; thus Lassen Peak and Cinder Cone National Monuments were established by proclamation by President Roosevelt. After the eruption of Lassen Peak in 1915, the bill finally passed in both the House and Senate and was signed by President Woodrow Wilson on August 9, 1916.
There are a wide variety of activities, at any level, for visitors of the park. Some of the hottest options include hiking, fishing, picnicking, wildlife watching, birding, swimming, and boating. Guests can also attend ranger-led programs and join our expert guides on leisurely hikes through the park.
There are 8 separate hydrothermal areas in the park and most can be hiked to. Shanda recommends visiting their website to get a better understanding of the thermal features in the park. Thermal features include mud pots, hot or boiling pools, and fumaroles- but don’t get too close! Lassen hydrothermal features are not suitable for touching or soaking. The water is not only piping hot or boiling, but also as acidic as battery acid!
Lassen is home to a cornucopia of animal and plant species. Due to the confluence of three separate ecoregions meeting in the park, Lassen has a rich biodiversity. In fact, according to Shanda, Lassen is home to about 40 adult Black Bears.
Doing your part
The park has around 550,000 visitors per year, with most of the visitors coming through between May and October. Guests can help to preserve the park by becoming familiar with park regulations and planning ahead. The park newspaper, park website, and Lassen’s social media pages have a wealth of information that helps with planning- and you can always call our office with any questions about the region. The park rules are in place to preserve and protect the park for us, and future generations to enjoy.
“People forget that they are owners of this land as US citizens. If they witness illegal activity, they [should] feel empowered to help protect their park by informing a ranger or talking with the person themselves. Most of the time, illegal actions are due to ignorance and are not intentional. It’s [our] job to help educate others.” explained Shanda.
Experience Park Tours visits Lassen in May, when it will be an average temperature of 70 degrees, and in September when the weather will be a perfect 78 degrees. Our research guarantees the most optimal weather in order to complement the activities and attractions that are included in our Northern California Wilderness tour.
To see the full itinerary, visit us at https://experienceparktours.com/northern-california-wilderness/northern-california-wilderness-itinerary/
Photos provided by the National Park Service