Lassen Volcanic National Park

High Points and Highlights
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Highest elevation in park: Lassen Peak, at 10,457 feet.

  • Lassen's claim to fame: It's the largest plug-dome volcano on earth; there are much bigger shield volcanoes, and other types.
  • Most common tourist error: People who would never say Rainier Peak or Mount Pikes persist in calling the peak"Mount Lassen"; even the supposedly error-free New Yorker magazine once made this mistake.
  • Most accessible whitebark pines: At the highway pass lies a small grove of these hardy timberline trees; it's the only spot in California where you can touch them from a car.
  • Most short-lived lookout station: In 1914 Lassen's summit sported a brand-new little building; less than a year later it had vanished in the eruptions.
  • Worst luck: Kendall Bumpass, discoverer of the thermal area that bears his name, broke through a thin crust and boiled his leg, which later had to be amputated.
  • Best park viewpoint: the upper slopes of Diamond Peak, reached in a 15-minute trailless stroll; leave the main highway about three and a half miles above the South Entrance Station and walk up the gentle ridge toward the pinnacles above.

For general information about Lassen, call park headquarters at (530) 595-4444. The village of Mineral, nine miles south of the South Entrance Station, offers a gas station, motels, private campgrounds, and a general store. On the north side of the park, you'll have to drive to distant hamlets for supplies; consult a highway map. Inside the park you'll find seven excellent campgrounds, all available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reading list: The best guidebook to Lassen is Jeffrey Schaffer's Lassen Volcanic National Park & Vicinity (Wilderness Press, 1986). An excellent account of Ishi and his times is Theodora Kroeber's Ishi in Two Worlds (University of California Press, 1962). Earthwalk Press (2239 Union Street, Eureka, CA 95501) covers the entire park in their Hiking Map & Guide, Lassen Volcanic National Park, which reproduces U.S.G.S. topography at a scale of 1:48,000. Its back side contains much useful information.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 8 Nov 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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