Bumpass Hell Trail Lassen Volcanic National Park

I had made a trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park in June to find that most of the park was still closed to snow. Since I was in the general area again on a trip to visit a friend, I decided to make another stop knowing that a lot more of the park would be open.

The main goal I had was to hike to Bumpass Hell since I heard good things about it. It’s never good when you go to the trailhead of the hike you are planning to take and see the following sign:

Bumpass Hell hazardous trail sign Lassen Volcanic National Park

Since starting this blog I have become much more aware of all the deaths that take place in National Parks, many of them due to people doing stupid things that they have been warned not to do. At the same time, there were quite a few people taking the trail so I was torn on what to do. I eventually stopped a couple of hikers that were coming back and asked them how the trail was. They explained that there were still areas of the trail covered in snow and ice that were slippery, but passable if you took your time. I decided to give the trail a try figuring I could turn back if it ended up being too dangerous. In the early going, the trail was clear and it didn’t seem there would be any issue:

Bumpass Hell trail August 2011

And provided some spectacular views:

view hiking along Bumpass Hell Lassen Volcanic National Park

Diamond Peak from Bumpass Hell trail Lassen Volcanic National Park

It wasn’t long, however, that the reason for the warning sign became apparent. Despite it being mid August, here were several long stretches of the path that were still completely covered with snow that would have made the path quite difficult for anyone that wasn’t very sure footed:

Bumpass Hell trail covered with snow at Lassen Volcanic National Park

While the trail was definitely passable, there were quite a few people on the trail that were struggling and having to take the trail at an extremely slow pace. This was especially true for those that were in tennis shoes rather than hiking boots and families that had younger children. While the trek would have definitely been a lot easier had all the snow been cleared, it still may be a few weeks until that happens. If you happen to be in the area, I think it is worthwhile making the trek despite the snow — just be sure that you are wearing the proper hiking equipment.