By Melissa Wynn
From the golf course at Lake Almanor Mount Lassen makes a spectacular snow capped backdrop but up close and personal our friendly neighborhood volcano is a mysterious mountain indeed. A multicolored lake that boils and bubbling cauldron like mud pits are just two of the natural wonders to witness within Lassen Volcanic National Park. There are over 150 miles of hiking trails within the park which range in difficulty from a strenuous 5 mile round-trip hike up Lassen Peak to a gentle 1.85 mile stroll around Manzanita Lake. The Main Park Road provides incredible views of the Cascades and High Sierras, as well as access to crystalline mountain lakes and amazing steaming hydrothermal areas.
There are eight campgrounds containing over 450 sites within Lassen Volcanic National Park, and a large part of Lassen’s wilderness is available for camping in the wilderness with a free permit.
Staying over but not quite the tent type? Manzanita Lake Camping Cabins near the northwest park entrance twenty new camping cabins in three models. Each cabin includes beds, heater, lantern, bear proof box, fire ring and picnic table. ADA accessible cabins are also available. These simple digs also offer a camper package that is yours to use for the length of your stay. This thoughtful convenience includes a cook stove, cookware, untinsels, a cooler, firewood, ice, sleeping bags and even a smores kit for dessert. You can make reservations online at lassenrecreation.com or by telephone at (877) 444-6777. Camper package reservation requests can be made by Winter Phone (Nov-Apr): 530-200-4578, Summer Phone (May-Oct): 530-335-7557 or by email to [email protected].
Majestic Mount Lassen can also be enjoyed in greater comfort at the famous resort known as Drakesbad Guest Ranch. Open only during summer, you can make a reservation online for your step back in time to a land of beautiful meadows, forest, lakes and streams. On your adventure, you can take part in a variety of activities. Take a horseback ride. Get a massage. Enjoy the steaming, natural hot spring pool. Take a hike or go fly fishing. Stay in one of their rustic cabins or in the lodge. Everyone loves Drakesbad. Both guests staying at the ranch and those lucky enough to get meal reservations have the privilege of treating their taste buds in the dining hall. Indoors, knotty pine paneling and picturesque window views set the scene. A bouquet of fresh flowers grace each table. Gas lanterns hang high on wooden walls. Pine green, ruffled curtains sit below shelves lined with mementos of life here since the 1860’s. Outdoors, a patio is set with more tables. Saddles are mounted nearby for restless children. Menus are planned in advance and sack lunches are available for the trail. Accommodations at Drakesbad include all of your meals. Reservations can be made by calling 530-258-9702. When we visited, the phones were not yet up, in which case you can contact the office at 530-529-1512 (Ext. 120). Find them online at www.drakesbad.com.
See first hand where earth’s melted center boils the mud while the barren top remains draped in snow, Mount Lassen year round wonder.