Scenic USA - California

Mount Lassen National Park

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Mount Lassen National Park - California

Photos by Gary O'Toole

   Beginning in the early 20th century, northern California's Mount Lassen began a series of eruptions. In 1915, a major blast blew open a huge crater near the peak, sending hot ash and lava over a three mile radius. Similar to a more recent occurrence at Mount Saint Helens, hot avalanches (fluid lahars), propelled by melted snow, streamed down the slopes wiping out everything in its path. Boiling Mud Pots - Mount Laasen
   One of 16 major volcanoes of the immense Pacific Circle of Fire, Mount Lassen lies at the southern most extreme of the Cascade Range. Just 10 years after Lassen Peak erupted, the National Parks Service began construction on the main park road. Reaching an elevation of 9500 feet, the park road is the highest road in the Cascades. At this elevation, snowfall of 40 feet is not uncommon. During the summer months, visitors enjoy its clear mountain lakes, alpine meadows, area wildlife, boiling mud pots (inset) and smoking fumaroles.
   A well graded trail climbs about 2000 feet to the top of Mount Lassen. Allowing about four hours for the round trip hike, this moderate climb offers an exceptional viewpoint of a distant Mount Shasta (75 miles), Chaos Crags, Prospect Peak and the Warner Valley below. One of the highlights on the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, Lassen County boasts of its four-seasons recreation and something for everyone in its outdoor paradise.

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