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What Is Lassen Volcanic National Park?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Lassen Volcanic National Park is a US national park located in the western state of California. Managed by the National Park Service (NPS), it contains Lassen Peak, which was declared a national monument in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt. From 1914 to 1915, a volcano in this park erupted, creating a great deal of public interest in preserving the area around the eruption site. As a result, it was declared a national park in 1916, containing over 100,000 acres that encompasses more than 150 square miles near the California-Oregon border.

One of the biggest attractions of Lassen Volcanic National Park includes Lassen Peak and the volcanic activity associated with it. When weather is permitting, guests can hike to various locations in and around this summit, where they can view mud pots and steam vents among other things. There is also a steam vent in the park, which has water running over it, giving it the appearance of a continuous geyser.

This California park contains mostly mountainous terrain, much of which can only be accessed during the summer months. Part of the Sierra-Nevada mountain range is located within the borders of Lassen Volcanic National Park. The park also contains several lakes, and one of them, Hat Lake, is disappearing due to a buildup of volcanic debris. Much of the area surrounding the lakes and mountain ranges are heavily forested, but there are a few open meadows found within this national park as well.

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Lassen Volcanic National Park can receive up to 40 feet of snowfall annually according to the park's website. This means portions of the park are inaccessible during much of the year. Peak season in this California park is normally from May through September, although some roads may be closed through parts of June or July if there is a heavy snowfall in late spring. A few mountain summits that are at very high elevations may be covered with snow year-round even though the trails winding through them are accessible for foot travel.

Visitors to Lassen Volcanic National Park can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including biking, camping, hiking, and fishing. Hiking trails range from moderate trails to very difficult ones, but even moderate trails can be difficult for some people to hike due to their elevation. Most contain very rocky terrain, so hiking boots and a walking stick are generally recommended. During the winter months, parts of this US park can be used for snowmobiling along trails as well as snowboarding and skiing. A visitor's center is open year-round with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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