Northern California's well-kept secret: Lassen Volcanic National Park
I have a thing for hydrothermal areas. They are just so cool. And you can find plenty at probably the least visited National Park in California, Lassen Volcanic National Park. Located in northeastern California, just east of Redding, the park is amazing. Clean, clear natural lakes. Bubbling mud pots. And the Park seems to be a well-kept secret. Not even Northern Californians seem to know much about it, and even fewer have visited. It may be because the park and its roads are covered by snow for much of the year. So, aim to visit during the mid-summer months such as August.
Camp at Manzanita Lake Campground
As you enter the park from Highway 44 you will pass Manzanita Lake on your right and Reflection Lake on your left, you can hike to and around both of them. Just beautiful. We stayed at Manzanita Lake Campground (site #A41). Typical for National Parks, there are no hookups for RVs (no electricity, water, or sewer); but, the campground has an on-site dump and potable water fill up location. We were plenty happy with the campground and the large majestic trees that surrounded our campsite.
Find the geothermal pools
The park has a curvy half-circle road called Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway that allows you to see much of the highlights of the park without strenuous hiking. Note that at one point the road reaches an elevation of over 8,500 feet. If you do decide to venture a little, be sure to hike the 1.3 mile trail to Bumpass Hell for some spectacular geothermal sights.
We have recommended this National Park to a few of our friends and family who have been looking for somewhere a bit off the beaten trail and none have been disappointed. I recommend it to you too.
Location: Northeastern California, just east of Redding.
Road closures: All winter and into the spring and early summer due to snow.
Time to visit: Late-summer months such as August.
Find out more at: https://www.nps.gov/lavo/index.htm