Manzanita Lake Lassen Volcanic National Park

Although most of the trails at Lassen Volcanic National Park remained closed to hiking due to an abundance of snow, that doesn’t mean that you should avoid visiting the park. The short 2 mile hike around Manzanita Lake in itself makes a trip worth it. It would be a beautiful hike any time of year, but it’s especially so now with snow capped peaks in the distance.

Upon entering the park from the Manzanita Lake park entrance, you immediately see Manzanita Lake on your right. There is parking on the right side of the road so that you can begin the hike immediately if you are so inclined. I would recommend driving to the visitors center about a quarter mile past the entrance so you can ask the park volunteers any questions you may have first. Then you can hop on the trail by taking a path directly behind the visitors center which leads to the Manzanita Lake loop trail.

Manzanita Lake at Lassen Volcanic National Park

One of the assets of this hike is that the view of the lake change quite dramatically as you circle it. There are definitely some gorgeous views with Mount Lassen and Chaos Crags in the background:

A Snowy Mount Lassen is mirrored in Manzanita Lake at Lassen volcanic National Park

There were quite a few people on the lake fishing (you can rent boats on the side of the lake). For those who enjoy photography, there are plenty of interesting shape and light opportunities around each bend:

A tree trunk on the shore of Manzanita Lake at Lassen Volcanic National Park

Even after the trails in other areas of the park open up, this short hike is well worth making time to do. For those interested, here are more photos from the hike.

Lassen Volcanic National Park Struggling With Snow

Like many of the mountain national parks, Lassen Volcanic National Park is struggling with the large amount of snow it received this year. I visited the park yesterday and most of it is still closed due to snow. From the Southwest entrance, the road is only open for about half a mile to the Sulphur Works area and all hiking paths on that side of the mountain are still covered in snow pack (you need snowshoes or cross country skis). The road is clear up to the Bumpass Hell parking area, but the park isn’t allowing cars up there yet because snow removal crews are still working and they are having some issue with rock slides as the snow melts:

rocks fall onto the road at Lassen Volcanic national Park

Even though the road was closed to cars, I decided to hike up to where they were clearing snow. It was about a 2.5 mile hike along the road without anyone else around (Protip: If you enjoy biking, it would be the perfect time to bike the closed road). As the road wound its way upward, the snowbanks on the side of the road increased, reaching as high as 20 feet in some spots:

Snow wall on side of road at Lassen Volcanic National Park

Truck next to snowbank at Lassen Volcanic National Park

When I reached the area where they were removing snow, there were 6 snowplows working feverishly, yet making extremely slow headway due to the amount of snow on the road.

Clearing snow on the road at Lassen Volcanic National Park

I talked with a ranger who said the goal is to have the road open by July 1, but I’m not sure they are going to make it. They still have about 10 miles of road to clear that is buried under 15 feet of snow. Caltrans has stepped in and is now helping Lassen Volcanic National Park try to open the road (the snowplows that were working while I was there were Caltrans plows), but even with the additional help they still have a lot of work to do up there.

For those wanting to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park, there is a bit more open at the Manzanita Lake entrance. Hiking trails around Manzanita Lake (there were a lot of people on the lake fishing today) and Reflection Lake / Lily Pond are clear and the road is open for 10 miles to Devastated Area (although the Devastated Area loop hike was still covered in snow)

For those interested, more photos from the hike