fun to do kids park road lassen volcanic national park california   Travel for Kids
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Lassen - Park Road

Lassen Volcanic National Park
From the northwest entrance off Highway 44, the park road goes by Manzanita Lake, winds around Chaos Crags to Summit Lake, passes through green alpine meadows, and around the next corner is the dramatic scenery of Lassen Peak and access to the boiling springs at Bumpass Hell.
    Manzanita Lake –
      Loomis Visitor Center – Stop at the visitor center to pick up maps and nature guides for the park, and check out exhibits about the different kinds of volcanic formations and wildlife in the park.
      At the campground are junior rangers games and activities (kids 7 -12). The camp store has ice cream and cold drinks, and down by the lake are picnic tables. Near by the picnic tables, pick up the trail (1.8 miles) that goes in a loop around the lake.
      Lily Pond Nature Trail – On the other side of the park road, follow the self-guided nature trail around the lake. (Lily Pond Nature Trail brochure is also available in the visitor center). One mile loop.
   

Hot Rock – Make a quick stop to see a huge rock that fell off of Lassen Peak in the 1915 eruption.  When Lassen Peak erupted, hot lava flowed down the mountain - this big chunk is about 60,000 lbs.

   

Summit Lake North – Even if you're not camping here, this is a lovely spot for a picnic and swim on a warm day.

   

Kings Creek picnic area – Kings Creek flows through a lovely alpine meadow, filled with wildflowers in summer. This is our favorite place to relax, kick off our shoes, and let the kids play in the stream. Plenty of picnic tables here, so bring your lunch.

      Cold Boiling Lake – For a short hike (.8 mile), take the trail to Cold Boiling Lake.  It's a small little lake with bubbles coming up - it looks like it's boiling, but it's really just gas bubbles coming to the surface.
Bumpass Hell
 

Bumpass Hell – Bumpass Hell with its mud pots, fumaroles and boiling springs is a "must see." It's named for Mr. Bumpass, an early explorer who was accidentally severely burned when he stepped through the fragile crust (not recommended).  The largely level trail goes around the side of the mountain, then drops down.  You can smell and hear the hydrothermals even before you get there - loud hissing sounds and stinky egg smells.

     

At Bumpass Hell, a boardwalk goes all around the hydrothermals.  Fumaroles steam like dragons breathing out of the earth, boiling springs ooze with sulfuric acid and iron pyrite, mud pots slurp and burp. The trail to Bumpass Hell is 3.0 miles round trip, and even little kids can manage the trail.  Stay on the trail and boardwalk, don't let the kids wander off!

     

Play in the snow – On the way to or from Bumpass Hell, even in August, there's usually snow banks where kids can play in the snow, toss a snowball or two.

     

Tip: The trail is dusty and rocky, so wear closed-toed shoes (don't hike in flip-flops) and bring drinking water.

   

Kohm Yah-mah-nee (Southwest) Visitor Center – At the southwest entrance to the park is a visitor center and snack bar.  It's a great place to have an ice cream after your hike to Bumpass Hell.  At the visitor center, watch a 20 min. movie and check out exhibits about the four different kinds of volcanoes in the park – plug dome, cinder cone, composite cone, and shield cone. Plenty of picnic tables are outside the visitor center.

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