Boiling steams, mudpots, and hot springs. Sounds like a great place for hot yoga or grade A massage?
Locating in Lassen Volcanic National Park, Bumpass Hell is the largest concentration of hydrothermal area in the entire park. An early European settler fell into the water and severely burned his leg, thus giving the area such an evil name. The water temperature is hot enough to boil eggs and burn all of your hair off in minutes. But don’t worry, the trail is well maintained with wooden boardwalks and rails keeping you out of the water. This easy breezy hike is a must do hikes if you’re into volcanic features.
where: Lassen Volcanic National Park near Redding, CA. This trail is located nearest to the Southwest Entrance and Kohm Yah-Mah-Nee Visitor Center
miles: 3 miles round trip
difficulty: easy if you regularly exercise, but some may find the hike back difficult
elevation difference: 300 feet (gain on the way back)
Parking: trailhead is obvious with a large parking lot right off the main park highway
Nearby Trails: Brokeoff Mountain, Lassen Peak
Season: July to snowfall in the fall
Photo Gallery Of The Hike
Here’s an overdramatic video about Bumpass Hell
If you can only do one trail during your entire visit at Lassen, it must be bumpass hell. My personal favorite hike at Lassen is the Cinder Cone, but it’s rather remote from the main park and other attractions.
Although the boardwalk is completely accessible, getting to it is not. You will hike through rocky terrain and down a 300 feet drop to the hydrothermal area. This hike is easy enough for anyone to do, but it’s not like a walk at a mall either. You will sweat especially earlier in the summer. However, locating 8000 feet high in Northern California, you will find this hike to be pleasant anytime of the day of the year.
This was the first hike that my friend and I did when we arrived at the park. This is a great introduction trail that will get you familiar with what Lassen is all about. From the Southwest Entrace and the visitor center, it’s only about a 15-20 minutes drive before you arrive at the Bumpass Hell trailhead.
You can park at the designated parking lot or off the street at the nearby Lake Helen on a busy day. Lassen is rarely ever too crowded, so most likely, you will find a parking.
The hike to the bumpass hell is worth doing in itself. The trail is beautiful and offers you a clear view of the valley below throughout. Then the trail drops down below to the geothermal area. It’s a quarter mile loop or so, and then you will make your way back to your car the same way.
This trail is easy and is doable for most people, but still don’t underestimate it. Bring a lot of water and snacks. Getting lost here is close to impossible because the trail is so well-marked and there will be other hikers on the trail.
This trail can be appreciated on weekends between July and early fall because snowfalls is early at Lassen and lasts into the summer time.