Well...while still on our quest to check off all of the U.S. National Parks from my "Bucket List"; our next stop is here at Lassen Volcanic National Park. It is in Shasta County, California. The park's border itself is about 45 miles from the closest city of much size, which is Redding, California. And... in case you wondered, Redding is just about 210 miles north and a little east of the San Francisco Bay area. It is also about 150 miles south of the Oregon border with California.
The source of heat for this National Park is actually volcanism in the Lassen area is totally attributed to subduction off the Northern California coast of the Gorda Plate diving below the North American Plate. The area surrounding Lassen Peak is still active with things like; boiling mud pots, stinking fumaroles, and churning hot springs. Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found (plug dome, shield, cinder cone, and strato).
Lassen Peak's May 1914 eruption launched three years worth of volcanic outburst. In its largest eruption on May, 22, 1915, the peak blew a huge mushroom shaped cloud of ash in excess of 30,000 feet in the air.
The park is accessible via State Routes SR 89 and SR 44. SR 89 passes north-south through the park, beginning at SR 36 to the south and ending at SR 44 to the north. SR 89 passes immediately adjacent the base of Lassen Peak.
Lassen Peak was formed 27,000 years ago (who knows this stuff?) as a volcanic vent on the northern side of Broke-off Volcano and it is one of the world's largest plug dome volcanoes, rising 2,000 feet to an elevation of 10,457 feet.
There are a total of five vehicle entrances to the park: the north and south entrances of SR 89, and unpaved roads entering at Drakesbad and Juniper Lake in the south, and Butte Lake in the northeast. The Park can also be accessed by trails leading in from Caribou Wilderness to the east, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail, and two smaller trails leading in from Willow Lake and Little Willow Lake to the south.
A large lodge (the Lassen Chalet) with concession facilities formerly was located near the south-west entrance, but was demolished in 2005. A new, full-service visitor center was constructed in the same location, and opened to the public in 2008. Near the old lodge location was also located Lassen Ski Area, which ceased operation in 1992; all infrastructure has been removed.
The drive here seemed somewhat long without seeing a whole lot of anything but trees and very old lava flows, but it was still very picturesque in many areas. In some ways it reminded me of some of the areas in Yellowstone. At least the smell of sulfur and the steam that could be noticed in many areas in the park that still seemed to be somewhat active (at least volcanically speaking that is). But I am sure that you will get more of an idea of exactly what I am talking about from the pictures that I took while we were there and which I have posted here."Kilometers are shorter than miles. Save gas, take your next trip in kilometers."
– George Carlin