Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

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With all the activity and worldwide interest in what’s happening at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, what adventurer wouldn’t want to camp on a volcano? That’s exactly what Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping in California is all about—volcano camping. Lassen Peak is the largest of a group of more than 300 volcanic plug domes in the Cascade Mountain Range that have erupted over the past 300,000 years in Lassen Volcanic National Park. A plug dome volcano is a volcano like Mt. Saint Helens as opposed to Hawaii’s Kileaua volcano—which is a shield volcano. Plug dome volcanoes explode, sending ash, lava, and gases skyward in a sudden, impressive event.

Shield volcanos are composed primarily of lava flows. Don’t worry. Lassen is only expected to erupt every 10,000 years or so and there is still another 9,500 years or so left on its timetable. However, there are active areas in the park that do produce lava that doesn’t pose a threat to visitors. For more information visit the states site:

Located in northeastern California, it’s no surprise the dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak, the largest active plug dome volcano in the world and the southern-most volcano in the Cascade Range. Just as the famous plug dome volcano Mt. St. Helens exploded and rained down ash on Washington State in 1980, Lassen Peak exploded on May 22, 1915. The eruption devastated nearby areas and rained volcanic ash as far away as 200 miles to the east. This explosion was the most powerful in a series of eruptions over three years (1915 to 1917) that were the last to occur in the Cascades before the most recent Mt. St. Helens explosion.

While many people are very familiar with Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park’s hydrothermal features, few realize that Lassen Volcanic National Park also includes roaring fumaroles (steam and volcanic-gas vents), thumping mud pots, boiling pools, and steaming ground so familiar to Yellowstone visitors.

Water from rain and snow that falls on the highlands of the park feed the volcano’s hydrothermal system. Once the water is deep underground it is heated by a body of hot or molten rock and the rising hot water boils to form the boiling pools and mud pots. Super-heated steam reaches the surface through fractures in the earth to form fumaroles such as those found at Bumpass Hell and Sulphur Works. These features are related to active volcanism and are indications of the ongoing potential in the next 10,000 years for further eruptions from the Lassen Volcanic Center.

What are the warning signs of an eruption?

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Credit to Google

While Lassen volcano is considered an active volcano, it’s not expected to erupt in our lifetime, or the lifetimes of even our great-great-great-great-great grandchildren, so it’s safe to send your kids to Volcano camp, or visit and camp out in the park yourself. The most important sign of an impending volcanic eruption is seismic activity beneath the volcanic area—something that happens over weeks or months before an eruption—in plenty of time to break camp and head east to other camping areas. Earthquakes and tremors, often a sign of a pending eruption, may be felt at the park from time-to-time, but Seismologists can interpret subtle differences between earthquakes related to the rise of magma and the more familiar quakes caused by tectonic faulting.

Other warning signs of magma rising into the shallow subsurface prior to an eruption might include increased release of volcanic gases from small openings called fumaroles, and changes in the gas composition from those fumaroles—both of which signs are closely monitored at Lassen. Deformation of the ground surface in the vicinity of a volcano may also indicate that magma is approaching the surface. Typically, these warning signs appear a few weeks to months before an eruption but can last for decades or even centuries without leading to an eruption. After Mt. St. Helens blew, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) intensified its monitoring of active and potentially active volcanoes in the Cascade Range—including Lassen.

Monitoring includes periodic measurements of ground deformation and volcanic gas emissions and continuous transmission of data from a local network of nine seismometers to USGS offices in Menlo Park, California. If the USGS does detect a significant increase in volcanic activity they will immediately deploy scientists and specially designed portable monitoring instruments to evaluate the threat. In addition, the National Park Service (NPS) has developed an emergency response plan that would be activated to protect the public in the event of an impending eruption. In the meantime, kick back and relax. Lassen volcano is safe and camping in the National Park is an educational adventure.

Lassen National Park FeesLassen Volcanic National Park Camping

More info here

A vehicle pass is required for all vehicles entering park. And if you weren’t already aware, an increase for selected entrance fees went into effect on January 1, 2018.

Vehicle Pass $25

Valid for 1-7 days at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Winter Pass $10

Valid for 1-7 days at Lassen Volcanic National Park between December 1 and April 15.

Motorcycle Entry Pass $20

Valid for one motorcycle regardless of the amount of passengers. Valid for 7 days at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Individual Entry Pass $12

Per person entrance fee for a visitor traveling on foot, bicycle, or for individuals traveling together in a vehicle as a non-commercial, organized group. Valid for 7 days at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Annual Pass $50

Valid for one year from month of purchase at Lassen Volcanic National Park and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Passes may be purchased as park entrance stations mid-May through October. During other times, passes may purchase at park entrance stations on weekends only, or at park headquarters in Mineral midweek. You may also purchase an Annual Pass online or by mail. To order by mail, call (530) 595-6120 or write to Lassen Volcanic National Park, Fee Program, and PO Box 100, Mineral, CA 96063. Please include a phone number or email address, shipping address, and the number of passes requested with a check or money order made payable to the National Park Service.

Fee Free Entrance Days

On four days in 2018, all National Park Service sites that normally charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone. Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2018:

  • January 15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • April 21: First Day of National Park Week
  • September 22: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

Volcano Adventure Camp – Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Volcanoes ranger-led program
Credit to nps.gov

More info here

Mailing Address:

PO Box 100

Mineral, CA 96063

Phone: (530) 595-4480

Sorry, mom and dad. Volcano Adventure Camp is just for the kiddos – unless you’re a teacher or chaperone with a group attending the camp. Don’t worry though, with or without kids anyone can camp on the volcano because Lassen Volcanic Park has eight campgrounds around the volcano that range from developed to primitive. And, approximately half of the park’s campsites are reservable. Four campgrounds are only first-come, first-served. However, all group sites and stock corrals do require reservations.

Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring equipped with a grill, and a metal bear box for food storage. There are no hookups in the park. A dump station is located near Manzanita Lake. Don’t worry about beating the crowd to any of the campgrounds. They’re rarely full. And don’t let the fact you’re on an active volcano worry you. The volcano is not expected to erupt any time soon.

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping 

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Butte Lake Campground
NPS Photo

Butte Lake Campground

More info here

Butte Lake Campground is located six miles south of highway 44 at the end of the Butte Lake road. This remote campground only offers a few amenities, but who cares. It has more than enough recreation opportunities to make it a destination campground. Enjoy a hike up Cinder Cone, a dip in Bathtub Lake or a paddle along Butte Lake’s lava rock shores. Contrary to what you might think, Bathtub Lake is freezing cold, not warm.

Crags Campground (Is now Volcano Adventure Camp) – Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Credit to Lassen Volcanic NP

More info here

Mailing Address:

PO Box 100

Mineral, CA 96063

Phone: (530) 595-4480

Volcano Adventure Camp (VAC) is a youth camping facility located inside Lassen Volcanic National Park. The Volcano Adventure Camp is Lassen Volcanic’s first and only Youth Campground. It is eligible for youth group use only. The campground was created to provide opportunities for a wide range of youth organizations including school groups, other educational groups, and scouting organizations to introduce young campers to this unique national park. The facility was completed in 2016–just in time to celebrate the park and National Park Service centennial.

For your youth group to be considered eligible to stay at the Volcano Adventure Camp 2018 you must meet the following guidelines:

  • Group trip must be scheduled between 6/18/18 – 9/23/18, and reservation requests must be submitted online a minimum of 30 days prior to desired trip dates.
  • The group size must be a minimum of 15 people, a maximum of 80 people, and be comprised primarily of youth between the ages of 6 – 18 years old.
  • Group camping trips must be a minimum of three days (two nights) and not exceed five days (four nights).

What was formerly Crags Campground is now the new home of the new Volcano Adventure Camp. This camp offers a chance for youth to camp during the “shoulder” season (a travel season between peak and off-peak seasons, especially spring and fall seasons, when fares tend to be relatively low.).  For more information on the Volcano Adventure camp, please visit the LAVO website:

Juniper Lake – Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Juniper Lake campsite
NPS Photo

More info here

Mailing Address:

PO Box 100

Mineral, CA 96063

Phone: (530) 595-4480

The Juniper Lake Campground is located on the east Shore of Juniper Lake via a rough, rutted, 13-mile paved/gravel road. Expect washboard gravel and very slow driving. From the town of Chester on Highway 36 East, look for signs to Drakesbad and Juniper Lake. At the Chester Fire Station, turn onto Feather River Drive. After about a half mile, bear right and follow signs to Juniper Lake. The last 6-7 miles is rough dirt road not suitable for buses, motor homes, or trailers.

The lake is beautiful. It’s also the biggest lake in the park. The vistas are spectacular, especially that of Lassen Peak, the largest volcano in the park, towering at 10,457 feet. Pit toilets, no potable water. This is a tent-only facility with two group sites. Drinking water is not available. It is connected to the rest of Juniper Lake Campground, which is all first-come, first-served.

Manzanita Lake – Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Credit to TripAdvisor

More info here

Mailing Address:

PO Box 100

Mineral, CA 96063

Phone: (530) 595-4480

Manzanita Lake Campground is located one mile east of the Manzanita Lake Entrance. This popular campground is ideal for families, RVs, tents, and trailers. Manzanita is also the largest campground in the park. Located adjacent to Manzanita Lake, campers can enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking, and hiking. Manzanita Lake is a four-loop campground with a fifth loop for cabins. Loops A and C are reservable but loops B and D are first come, first serve system.

There is a camper store, gift shop, coin-operated showers, coin-operated laundromat, and kayak rentals at the campground. There are Ranger-led programs and hiking, backpacking, swimming, non-motorized boating, fishing, and a picnic ground to ensure all campers have a variety of activities to choose from.

Summit Lake North and Summit Lake South – Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

NPS Photo

More info here

Mailing Address:

PO Box 100

Mineral, CA 96063

Phone: (530) 595-4480

The Summit Lake Campground is located 12 miles south of Manzanita Lake, 17.5 miles north of Southwest Entrance. The campground is comprised of a North and South section, each with access to the lake.

There are five loops, A, B, C, D, and E. Loops B, C, and D are reservable; Loops A and E are first-come, first-served. There are no RV sites in the south campground, although small tent trailers, popups, teardrops etc. are fine. The North campground can host RVs up to 35 feet. There are flush toilets in the North campground and vault/pit toilets in the South.

Hikers and backpackers should begin the Cluster Lake loop trail from the Summit Lake Ranger Station trailhead parking lot. The nearest amenities, including a dump station, are at Manzanita Lake, but there are evening programs offered at the Summit Lake amphitheater. Additional programs are offered at Manzanita Lake. Hiking, backpacking, stock use, swimming, non-motorized boating, and fishing are the primary activities at these sites.

Southwest Walk-in

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

NPS Photo

More info here

Southwest Entrance Lassen National Park Hwy

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California 96063

Phone: (530) 595-4480

The Southwest campground is located on the east side of the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center parking area. There are 21 tent only sites for dry camping. RVs may park overnight in the campground parking lot. A fee applies for RV parking. A short walk along a paved walkway provides easy access to each site. The Mill Creek trail begins from the north side of the campground. Additional trailhead areas nearby include the Brokeoff Mountain trailhead, Ridge Lakes trailhead and Sulphur Works hydrothermal area. Flush toilets available mid-October (Flush toilets available year-round in the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center 24-hour vestibule).

Scheduled Ranger programs are offered at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, including evening programs at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee amphitheater adjacent to the campground. Potable water is available at the campground until mid-October (Water is available year-round in the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center 24-hour vestibule).

Warner Valley

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Credit to TripAdvisor

More info here

Warner Valley Campground is located 17 miles north of Chester, and one mile north of Warner Valley Ranger Station down a pretty, but rough gravel entry road. The road is not recommended for trailers or RVs. Numerous trailheads are located nearby including: Terminal Geyser, Boiling Springs Lake, Drake Lake, and Devils Kitchen. The campground is in the south-central part of the park. It’s a very pretty campground, but there aren’t any features, such as a lake or particular views, that make it a destination site. It’s just a really nice place to camp.  There are picnic tables, fire pits, and bear boxes available. There is additional lodging, restaurants, grocery, showers, laundry in Chester.

Camping In Lassen National Forest

Lassen National Forest is a United States national forest of 1,700 square miles in northeastern California.

Domingo Springs Campground – Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Credit to heartofalmanor.com

More info here

Chester, VA

Phone: (530) 258-2141

The local Maidu Indians referred to this spot as the “center of the universe” and while it may or may not be that, it’s certainly a wonderful campground to stay at. The Domingo Springs Campground is in the Lassen National Forest, 8½ miles north of Chester and Lake Almanor. The North Fork Feather River is less than a mile from the campground. The campground has two loops, one on either side of Domingo Springs.  The first loop is a small four-site section of open campsites.  The second section is a large loop that meanders through a stand of Douglas fir.  The campsites in this loop are tucked in among the fir trees and knolls of ancient porous larva rock. Tiny grassy meadows are scattered throughout the campground, but they can’t compare with the beautiful open expanse of Domingo Springs.

There are 18 RV or tent sites, no big rigs allowed, and no hookups. All sites are available on a first-come, first served basis. The maximum RV Length is 38 ft., and the maximum RV Width with or without sliders, is 12 ft. All ages of campers and pets are welcome. The Pacific Crest Trail passes only 0.3 miles from the campground. Thru-hikers on the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) sometimes stop for the night at Domingo Spring Campground.

High Bridge Campground

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Credit to californiasbestcamping.com

More info here

Chester, CA

Phone: (530) 258-2141

High Bridge Campground is only 6 miles northwest of Lake Almanor on Warner Valley Road. The campground has 12 campsites for RVs or tents, trailer campers. The sites are spaced out among mature trees at the confluence of Warner Creek and the North Fork of the Feather River, offering shade and some privacy and river views. The maximum RV length is 20-feet and many popups, and tent trailers can easily fit in some of the campsites. There is a picnic table, food locker, fire ring with grill at each site, but there are no hook-ups. All sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Pets are welcome.

Feather River offers good fishing and boating. An interesting day trip is a drive up into the Warner Valley, part of the Lassen Volcanic National Park. The road dead-ends at Drakesbad Guest Ranch and does not continue on into the rest of the park. Lake Almanor, with fishing, boating, and other attractions, is only a ten-minute drive away.

Last Chance Creek Campground

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Credit to Mac M.
via Yelp

More info here

State Highway 36

Chester, California 96020

Phone: (530) 284-1785

Email: RecInfo@pge.com

Last Chance Creek Campground sits on the banks of Last Chance Creek, not far from where the creek empties into Lake Almanor. There are 12 RV sites with no hookups, 12 tent sites, and 3 group sites. There are vault toilets, but no showers. A narrow, bumpy road leads into the campground. The rough road in is worth the trip as this is a true gem of a campground and makes a great basecamp for exploring Lake Almanor, or Lassen Volcanic National Park.

A 2-night minimum stay is required for those making reservations. There is a maximum length of 30 feet for all RVs. There are no hookups or other services for RVs although there are picnic tables, a fire ring with grill, and potable water at the campground. In order to prevent the spread of invasive insects, firewood from outside the area is not permitted.

The main body of the lake and the town of Chester are about 3½ miles south of the campground. In the spring white pelicans breed in the nearby lake waters and provide an extraordinary display of birding beauty.

Last Chance Creek Group Campground has 3 sites which can accommodate up to 30, 40, or 60 people each. Each site has a fire ring, BBQs, wooden storage cabinets, and picnic tables. The spacious campground has piped water and vault toilets. A 2-night minimum stay is also required for group campers. The campground has a horseshoe pit and a volleyball area. Horses are welcome in the group campground in sites #13-25.

Camping Outside Lassen Volcanic Park or Forest

If you chose not to stay in either the national park or the state forest, prefer more amenities, or have a larger RV, there are campgrounds outside the parks that can accommodate you. One of the most popular is:

North Shore Campground

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping

Credit to recreation.gov

541 Catfish Beach Rd.

Chester, CA  96020

Phone: (530) 258-3376

E-mail: info@northshorecampground.com

North Shore campground, located next to Almanor Lake, has 70 different RV sites over two sections—the North and South sections, which are separated by Almanor Rd.  The South section has three overlapping loops with sites tucked in among a variety of conifers including Sugar pine and Douglas fir.  Nicely wooded with ample shade, the South section also has numerous small grassy meadows dotted by wildflowers which also attract deer. The North section is much like the South except it has the boat ramp and swim beach. The campsites in this section are a little closer together and offer less privacy.  Neither section has a view of the lake.  Trailer Life Magazine consistently awards this site a 9 out of 10 for bathhouse cleanliness.

  • RV Sites with Hook-Ups
  • Tent Sites with Water
  • Guest House Rentals
  • Pull-Thrus with Room for Slide-Outs
  • Lakefront RV and Tent Sites
  • Clean, Modern Bathrooms
  • Coin Operated Hot Showers
  • Coin Laundry
  • General Store
  • Playground
  • WIFI Hot Spot
  • Dump Station
  • Picnic Table and Fire-Ring at Every Site
  • Canoe and Kayak Rentals
  • Stand Up Paddle Board Rentals
  • Boat dock with slips
  • Boat Ramp
  • Fish-Cleaning Station
  • Propane Sales
  • Security Gate
  • Horse-Shoe Pit
  • Book-Lending Library