What to Know
- The Northern California park is home to a host of sublimely steamy features, including the unearthly Sulphur Works
- The Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway, which wends for 30 miles through the park, reopened on May 17, 2021
- Sights along the highway include Summit Lake and Lassen Peak
THE SIGNS OF SPRINGTIME? They can include bursting blossoms, fields of grass, powerful waterfalls, and the awakening of the wilder world, a verdant place rife with buzzing, chirping, and burbling. But one spring sign that many people keep an eye out for? Asphalt, as in the roadway, as in a highway that is newly free of frost and snow. A few of the Golden State's famous national parks include famous roads that become epically icy in the wintertime, and removing that ice, little by little, takes several weeks. The hard-working crews who are out in the passes, like Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park, know that locals and adventurers alike are awaiting the thrilling news: The road is once again open and summer trips may commence (Tioga's 2021 opening, by the by, hasn't quite happened yet, but stay tuned). And in Lassen Volcanic National Park, the steam-amazing spread that takes up a good chunk of picturesque wilderness in the northern part of the state? That much-anticipated moment arrived on...
MONDAY, MAY 17, 2021: "Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway is open to through traffic!" was the excited word on the national park's Facebook page, but there were some not-so-surprising caveats to keep in mind. While "spring-like conditions" are flowering at the lower elevations, snow is keeping things wintry up, up, up around the higher reaches of the area. And, true, some park routes remain closed, and Manzanita Lake Campground will open in a few days more. Your best bet? Get to know the 30-mile route, its almost surreal sights (Sulphur Works, with its hydrothermal show, is an unforgettable stop), and what to expect while visiting. You can read more about the road clearing, and see a map (along with must-sees along the way), on the NPS site.
EAGER TO VENTURE... to a different planet while keeping close to the Golden State? The fumaroles, vents, and magnificent volcanic features of this magnificent park make for a cosmically cool road trip into outer space. Just be sure to study up on safety protocols in and around the park before you go.