Lassen's geological attractions are best viewed from the hiking trails and boardwalks. There is really nothing more to see by deviating from the designated hiking routes. And it's certainly not worth the great risk of suffering a grevious injury--especially if you're alone, and far from any help. So play it safe. ALWAYS stay on the trail. And make sure that your kids do likewise.
Yes, Lassen National Park is bear country. We saw one with our very own eyes. In fact, we were eating dinner at our picnic table at Manzanita campground, and a brown bear came sauntering into our campsite, as casual as can be.
First, we thought perhaps he (she?) wanted the chili my husband just cooked. So, we very generously left the chili on the picnic table and slowly walked away from the table. But no, this bear apparently didn't think my husband was the gourmet chef we think he is. The bear was more interested in nosing around our tent, maybe looking for a tube of toothpaste or a dirty sock or something. He (she?) got bored pretty quickly and walked away.
In the end, a rather nonevent, but it made for good fireside chatter among the campers that evening at the Ranger's Evening Nature Talk.
Beware of flying boulders in Lassen Volcanic National Park! Well, only if there is a volcanic eruption.
This boulder was thrown several miles away by an eruption at Lassen National Park. It came to rest in this position at the edge of the parking lot for the Bumpass Hell trailhead.
In case the boiling water, hissing steam vents and slurping mud pots at Bumpass Hell aren't enought to warn you not to touch, the Park very wisely posts Danger signs for those of us who need to be hit over the head with a two by four. This one says:
Mud pots and steam vents are very hot. Ground is soft. Serious burns have occurred. Stay on trails and boardwalks. WATCH YOUR CHILDREN
This sign is located at Bumpass Hell. In case you can't make out the words on your thumbnail picture, the sign says:
Small wonder Bumpass Hell is called a hydrothermal (water/heat) area. At this elevation (7500 feet) water boils at 198 F and steam is often several degrees hotter since it is heated under pressure."
Warning signs are there to protect you, your pets, and to preserve the park for future visitors. Please obey them. Pay special attention in the Hydrothermal Areas.
Please do NOT feed any animals in the park. It makes them dependent on people, and causes them to forget how to fend for themselves. Remember: There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Looks like a harmless babbling brook, right? Makes you want to sit on a boulder and dangle your fingers in cool refreshing water? Don't! All the water around Bumpass Hell is hot stuff.