This Easy California Trail Will Take You To An Actual Volcano & Turquoise Mountain Lakes
Bonus: The lakes are frozen year-round. 💙
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?
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 one hundred and fifty miles of trails to explore, ranging from easy to difficult.
While the geothermal 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 1917.
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, many 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.
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: $25 park entrance fee per vehicle
Location: Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA
Why You Should Go: You can explore frozen turquoise lakes year-round on this easy trail.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.