Bumpass Hell Lassen Volcanic National Park

The reward for hiking the Bumpass Hell trail at Lassen Volcanic National Park is reaching Bumpass Hell. If you enjoy hydrothermal activity, you will definitely enjoy the mudpots and fumaroles that Bumpass Hell has to offer. As you come off the Bumpass Hell trail, you round a corner and get a grand view of the hydrothermal activity and a beautuful turqoise pool as your first glimpse of what is to come:

Bumpass Hell at Lassen National Park

Turquoise blue pond at Bumpass Hell Lassen National Park

You also get the first whiffs of the sulfur “rotten-egg” smell that is so familiar with hydrothermal activity:

The lava rock that once filled this area has been eaten away and altered into clay by sulfuric acid. The acid can be linked to a high temperature form of sulfur (sulfur dioxide) released from the magma body that fires Bumpass Hell. The rotten-egg smell that fills the air can also be linked to sulfur. It is hydrogen sulfide gas, a forerunner to the formation of sulfur — yellow, pyramid-shaped crystals that form on the ground here.

From the first look at Bumpass Hell, it is a short walk down to the Bumpass Hell boardwalk which allows you to see all the different types of hydrothermal activity taking place at Bumpass Hell.

Lake Helen Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lake Helen at Lassen Volcanic National Park, much like Emerald Lake (which is just below it), is still covered with a thin sheet of ice even though it’s the middle of August. In fact, it has quite a bit more ice than Emerald Lake:

Lake Helen at Lassen Volcanic national Park

ice covered Lake Helen at Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lake Helen can be seen both from the Main Park Road and while on Bumpass Pass trail, but with all the snow it was a bit too dangerous for me to go down to the lake edge (there are a lot of “thin ice” hazard warning signs all around) since in many areas it’s difficult to tell where the snow on the ground ends and the thin lake ice begins. I’m sure this is another beautiful lake with crystal clear water that delivers a magnificent reflective photo opportunity when all the snow is gone and the sky is blue and I hope I get a chance to get back in the near future to see it this way as well.