Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Having reserved two nights on Saturday and Sunday over the 4th of July weekend in Lassen Volcanic NP paired perfectly with our trip to summit Mt Shasta. Following the big climb, Matt and I made the scenic two hour drive from the city of Mt Shasta to the national park that afternoon to find our campsite waiting for us in Manzanita Campground, the park's biggest and nicest place to stay in my opinion.  Each individual site had plenty of room and nice amenities, our site backed up to a trail that was less than a quarter mile from Manzanita Lake, which is where we spent a fair amount of time relaxing by the water and swimming in the "warm" waters. 

The focal point of visiting this hidden gem of the national park system was to hike Lassen Peak, a 10,457 foot dome volcano rich in recent geologic history and the center piece of the park.  Then we discovered they were holding their "Reach Higher Trail Challenge" that consisted of a to do list encouraging visitors to seek out new trails while getting exercise in order to earn the commemorative bandana.  What a great incentive, and of course I couldn't resist!

Matt and I spent the entire day Sunday mapping out how we were going to see all these areas without wasting any time, plus we had to hit Lassen Peak at some point.  I think we covered about 15 miles that day to earn the Endurance Master title by completing all seven.  

I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed my time at Lassen NP, there really is something for everyone to enjoy here and very family friendly too.  This place boasts over 150 miles of trails, all four of the world's volcanoes, hikes of varying levels of difficulty and interest, kayaking, swimming, bird watching, scenic drives, backpacking, geothermal areas, you name it and it's there.  We had the impression that most people were relaxed and the vibe was very laid back. Minus the crowds of Yellowstone and Yosemite, and you'll understand what I'm talking about.  Now it's time to plan another trip out there!

Lassen Peak from Helen Lake
Matt on the Lassen Peak Trail
Lassen Peak Summit - 10,457 ft
Manzanita Lake near our campsite
Brokeoff Mountain
Bumpass Hell
Bumpass Hell and the boiling mud pots

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