This Easy California Trail Will Take You To An Actual Volcano & Turquoise Mountain Lakes

Bonus: Some lakes are frozen year-round.
Lassen Volcanic National Park Is A Hidden California Gem With Turquoise Mountain Lakes

California has so many secrets up its sleeve. While visitors might think of it as just a land of pretty beaches and Hollywood starlets, there's so much more to see here. If you're in the mood for a unique adventure, you'll never believe what you'll find upstate at Lassen Volcanic National Park

Located in the northern part of the state, this geothermal wonder is something you'll truly have to see to believe. It's plentiful in weird bubbling mud pots and has even more turquoise mountain lakes than you could ever dream of seeing IRL. Wondering where to start?

Editor's Choice: This Gig In California Pays $1800 For Simply Having Perfect Teeth

The park is huge and it's easy to get lost. When you enter, make sure to swing by the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center and ask around to get a good feel of the area.

From there, you can choose your own adventure.

The park offers more than 150 miles of trails to explore, ranging from easy to difficult. 

While the hydrothermal pools are beautiful to look at, don't try and touch them. It's important to note that they have dangerously hot temperatures. So, make sure to keep your distance and stay on the designated pathways and areas.

Just nearby, a place literally named "Devastated Area" is covered in super-cool, scattered volcanic rocks from the volcano's last eruption in 1915

If you want to get to the top of the volcano, it's a five-mile strenuous roundtrip trek. The views make it all worthwhile, though.

There are several easier trails running through the forest that offer drool-worthy mountain lakes with water so blue, you'd swear it was actually Gatorade. Lake Helen is one of them.

One of the most famous parts of the park to explore is Bumpass Hell Trail. This 3-mile roundtrip hike will take you down to a wide-open valley.

It's a pretty easy trail, so any level hiker can walk it with ease. You'll climb a gradual elevation until you get to Bumpass Hell. From there, you'll descend until you reach a series of boardwalks over the pools.

Here's the best part. Due to the high elevation, some of the lakes are frozen year-round! So no matter what time you visit, the water always looks like a winter wonderland.

The ground all around them is stained with various orange, green, and yellow colors from minerals in the soil.

If you'd like to camp there, you'll need to plan ahead. Cabins and campsites at Manzanita Lake are often booked out up to six months in advance.

Stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking are also popular activities you can do nearby. So no matter what type of trip you'd like to plan, the options are endless. 

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Price: $30 park entrance fee per vehicle

Location: Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA

Why You Should Go: You can explore frozen turquoise lakes year-round in this massive park.


Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.