Sulphur Works Lassen Volcanic National Park

While there wasn’t a lot open due to the large amount of snow still on the ground in mid June at Lassen Volcanic National Park, one area that was accessible to visitors was Sulphur Works. You could immediately tell that this part of the park was active due to the “rotten egg” sulphur smell that was apparent even all the way down at the visitors center. The main attraction was a large pool of boiling, bubbling brown water:

brown bubbling water at Sulphur Works in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Just above the brown boiling water pool was another cavity where both boiling water and steam were escaping:

steam and boiling water at Sulphur Works in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Several active steam vents could be found across the street on a hillside which was notable due to it being the only one void of any snow:

Steam rising from the ground at Sulphur Works in Lassen Volcanic National Park

While not the most picturesque example of volcanic activity, Sulphur Works was worth stopping at to get a taste of what might be found at the currently inaccessible volcanic activity areas in the park. It was a nice preview which makes me want to come back when the trails are clear of snow so I can explore the other hotbeds of volcanic activity within the park.

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