~ Lassen Volcanic National Park ~

Lassen National Park is like a miniature Yellowstone without the bison. Lassen is a valuable natural laboratory of volcanic events and associated hydrothermal features. Congress created Lassen National Park in 1916 because of the eruption of Lassen Peak in 1915 and the active volcanic landscape. The park lies at the southern end of the Cascade Range, which is a chain of active volcanoes that stretches north to Mount Garibaldi near Squamish, British Columbia. (some will remember that I visited Squamish during my tour of Canada in 2007. Mount Garibaldi is behind me in the photo where I am standing on Peak Two of Stawamus Chief here.)

On May 22, 1915, an explosive eruption at Lassen Peak, the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range, devastated nearby areas and rained volcanic ash as far away as 200 miles to the east. This explosion was the most powerful in a 1914-17 series of eruptions that were the most recent to occur in the Cascades prior to the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Lassen Peak is the largest of a group of more than 30 volcanic domes erupted over the past 300,000 years in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

The photo above was taken from Red Bluff, California, about 40 miles
from Lassen. When I saw those mountains in the distance, I thought
it had to be part of Lassen. It turned out that they were.

From the Visitor Center

Just outside the park entrance I saw this double waterfall. It doesn't show in the photos, but the waters join again near the road.


South Visitor Center

The area in lights (upper left) in the three-demensional model of the park shows the area of Brokeoff Mountain. It is the caldera of the original Mount Tehama. The park road and the Visitor Center is within the caldera of this ancient volcano. North is to the right.

Much like Mount Mazama of Crater Lake fame and Mount St. Helens, the eruption that created Brokeoff Mountain really did a job on Mount Tehama, taking over 2200 feet off the top. North is to the left.

Lassen was yet one more place on my itinerary with more snow than I wanted

No one using these benches today

But there were tent campers

Waters raced down the mountains

The heated water undercuts the snow cover

On the Park Road

Brokeoff Mountain is the highest peak remaining of Mount Tehama

That horizontal line in the right photo is part of the Park Road

In the righthand photo you can see the road zig-zigging back and forth on the mountainside. These cutbacks are necessary, because a straight road would be too steep for vehicles.

The scenery was marvelous

Nearing the end of my journey up the mountains

A balanced boulder with some children playing

Well, the road really was closed, so I headed back down to the hot springs area

Hot Spots

Hydrothermal (hot water) features at Lassen Volcanic fascinate visitors to this region of northeastern California. Boiling mud pots, steaming ground, roaring fumaroles, and sulfurous gases are linked to active volcanism and are all reminders of the ongoing potential for eruptions in the Lassen area. Nowhere else in the Cascade Range of volcanoes can such an array of hydrothermal features be seen.

Hot running water

Bubbling mud pot

Click Start to watch video

All of the water you see in these photos was boiling hot. The bubbling sulfur pot above stank. The sign said for those with asthma and other respiratory ailments not to breathe in the fumes in the area.

Little Hot Springs Valley

That would be another self-portrait

I was trying to capture the steam coming from these vents

In the photo on the right you can see it. The area where the green trees look grey is caused by the steam rising up.

This water was racing down the mountainside.

One last look at Lassen Volcanic National Park

Music is "Pilgrim"

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