Welcome to the audio-described version of Lassen Volcanic National Park's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that visitors receive at Lassen Volcanic. The brochure explores the park's contrasting seasons, dramatic geology, robust ecosystems and wilderness, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 35 minutes, which we have divided into 15 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections two through eight cover the front side of the brochure, which consists of an introduction to the park and its geology, ecology, and wilderness. Sections nine through 14 cover the back side of the brochure, which provides trip planning information including the park map.
Lassen Volcanic National Park, located in northeastern California, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The over 100,000- acre park is situated 130 miles north of Sacramento at the southern end of the Cascade Mountain Range. Established in 1916, Lassen Volcanic is the fifteenth national park established by Congress, making it one of the oldest in the nation. In 2016, Lassen Volcanic marked its 100th anniversary with over 500,000 visitors coming to see the steaming fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Lassen Volcanic offers opportunities to discover the wonder and mysteries of volcanoes and hot water for visitors willing to explore the undiscovered.
Imagine walking on a boardwalk alongside bubbling pits of mud and hissing cracks in the earth. Steam rises from boiling pools and moistens your skin, and the smell of sulfur fills the air. A quiet squeak makes you look up and see a golden mantled squirrel perched on the handrail. Can you imagine this scene? Would you like to join this journey?
For those seeking more information about the park during their visit, a tactile volcano exhibit and a relief map of the park can be found at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, where audio description for exhibits is also available. To find out more about additional resources that might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.
In this photograph by Mike Dresden captioned, "Lassen Peak at sunset", the snow-covered dome of Lassen Peak, at 10,457 feet elevation, rises majestically above a tree-lined lake. The volcano is backed by a clouded sky, illuminated a pink-peach color by the setting sun. The edges of two other volcanic peaks slope downward in front of the shoulders of Lassen Peak. The tips of bundled pine tree needles frame the upper-left hand corner of the image. A thick stand of mixed conifer trees covers the north-facing slopes of the volcanoes, ending at a lake filling the bottom of the frame. The lake's surface is slightly choppy and glistening with a pink sheen.
At Lassen snow arrives early and stays late. Jagged features are made smooth by deep blankets of snow, yet far below the surface, a fire still burns. Eroded volcanic remnants, U-shaped valleys, and roaring steam vents illustrate Earth’s endless cycle of creation and destruction. Woven into this dramatic landscape are timeless stories of survival, renewal, and discovery.
Here, summer is a time of awakening—lakes thaw, wildflowers bloom in emerald meadows, and the bustle of life returns as forests shed their winter mantle. Once a summer home and hunting ground for the Atsugwei, Yana, Yahi, and Maidu, Kohm Yah-mah-nee or snow mountain (Lassen Peak) is still sacred land.
Explore this volcanic landscape—take a hike; listen to gurgling mudpots and hissing steam vents; smell the sulfur springs; watch the Milky Way shimmer across the night sky; or perhaps throw a snowball in summer. Create your own story in this rugged wilderness.
Quote: Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing . . . out of one beautiful form into another. John Muir, 1899
Lassen Volcanic National Park illustrates Earth’s powerful forces. Every rock originated from volcanoes, and all four types—shield, composite, cinder cone, and plug dome—can be found here.
Lassen Peak is one of the largest plug dome volcanoes in the world. Its last eruptions were between 1914 and 1921, with the largest explosion on May 22, 1915. The eruptions, photographed by local businessman Benjamin F. Loomis, paved the way for the creation of Lassen Volcanic National Park on August 9, 1916.
Scientists continue to monitor the landscape. No one can say when or where the next eruption will occur, only that it will.
Eruption of Lassen Peak, June 14, 1914
Copyright by B.F. Loomis
A black and white photo captures a plume of ash blasting upward from the top of a snow-covered volcano. A stand of tall, straight conifers stretches along the base of the peak, fronted by a large field of low shrubs. An open-top Ford Model T vehicle is parked in the foreground to the right. At the front of the vehicle is a 12-foot telephone pole, the purpose for its inclusion in the photo is not apparent. A number two has been scratched into the photo on the door of the vehicle to denote its order in a series of eruption photographs. In the bottom-right corner of the photo is a left front fender of another Model T. On the fender, a copyright symbol followed by 1914 and B.F. Loomis have been scratched into the photo.
Text: A shield volcano is a broad, rounded volcano built up by successive outpourings of very fluid lava that can spread over great distances. Mount Harkness began forming approximately 600,000 years ago.
Mount Harkness / Shield
This photograph of a shield volcano in the park is the first in a set of images illustrating the four types of volcanoes in the world. A broad peak rises from long, gradual slopes of approximately 10 degrees. Its shape resembles a round shield laid flat on the landscape with its convex side up. With the exception of a few brown spots of exposed lava rock, conifer trees cover the mountain, suggesting it last erupted long ago. Below the peak a meadow of golden grass fronts a stand of conifer trees that extend downward from the peak. Above is a light blue sky, streaked with clouds.
Text: A cinder cone volcano is made up of loose volcanic rock, cinders, and ash that accumulate around a single vent. Cinder Cone volcano in the park formed during eruptions around 1650.
Cinder Cone / Cinder Cone
This example of a cinder cone volcano in the park is the second in a set of photographs illustrating the four types of volcanoes in the world. This aerial photograph captures a bare cone-shaped volcano composed of small pieces of tan cinders piled high in what looks like a giant mound of sand. A handful of conifer trees at its base provide the only reference to its 700-foot height. At its top are two nested circular depressions or craters, the largest being a quarter of the width of the volcano. A trail appears as a diagonal line running upward from the base of the peak to center of the larger crater. On the far side of the volcano, dunes of tan sand flow outward before transitioning to a black lava flow. A small strip of blue beyond the lava flow hints at a lake just outside the frame.
Text: A plug dome volcano forms when lava is too thick to flow great distances. A steam blast shattered Lassen’s plug, creating an avalanche of melted snow and rock down the east side.
Lassen Peak / Plug Dome
This photograph of a plug dome volcano in the park is the third in a set of images illustrating the four types of volcanoes in the world. A wide, jagged peak juts into a clear blue sky. Its steep slopes are mostly covered by large streaks of snow and rise some 4,000 feet above the highway in the foreground. A smaller peak, nearly 2,000 feet shorter sits at front and to the right. A few small conifer trees in the foreground subtly illustrates the unusually short height of the conifer forest that was decimated by one of Lassen Peak's eruptions in 1915.
A composite volcano has layers of volcanic rock, lava, cinders, and ash that erupted from a central vent or group of vents. Brokeoff Mountain is a remnant of the park’s only composite volcano, the much larger Brokeoff Volcano.
Brokeoff Mountain / Composite
This photograph of a remnant of a composite volcano in the park is the fourth in a set of images illustrating the four types of volcanoes in the world. A wall of rock shaped like a shark fin cuts across a blue, cloud-streaked sky. Taken from a distance below, the photograph captures only the top 1,000 feet of this massive remnant. The pictured summit is composed of layers of varying hues of red and tan rock, much like a layered cake. Small pinnacles of darker rock hint at the erosion that continues to tear down the mountain. Between steep, barren slopes strips of green conifer trees run diagonally across the peak, lining the tops of two distinct ridgelines.
Boiling mudpots, steaming ground, roaring fumaroles, sulfurous gases...
Rain and snow feed the hydrothermal (hot water) system that lies deep underground. Heated by molten rock, this water rises to the surface creating the remarkable features found in the park. These features are evidence of active volcanism and indicate the potential for future eruptions.
Steaming fumarole at Sulphur Works.
This close-up photograph captures steam rising from a snow-covered mound in the Sulphur Works hydrothermal area. The narrow plume of white steam rises from a gray pool of boiling mud. The barren earth surrounding the pool hints at its warmth. A layer of snow rests on the very top of the mound, extending down in two small sections, like melted frosting. In the background, conifer trees cover a steep, snow covered slope. Above, a clear blue sky peeks through the tree tops.
Bumpass Hell boardwalk and basin.
Taken from an overlook near the access trail, this elevated view captures the colorful, contrasting scene of Bumpass Hell hydrothermal basin. Large patches of white, yellow, and brown hydrothermally-altered rocks fill most of the barren landscape. A boardwalk crosses the basin as a large zig-zag and is topped by ant-sized people. Near one end of the boardwalk about ten people stand on a lollipop-shaped section. To their left are four pools of water in varying shades of turquoise. Above the pools, a small plume of steam rises adjacent to the other end of the boardwalk. At the far side of the basin, stands of dark green conifer trees rise into a blue sky.
Boiling cauldron at Devils Kitchen in Warner Valley
Steam rises from a gray, rock-filled depression in Devils Kitchen hydrothermal area in this close-up photograph. A narrow, dusty path climbs around the left side. The chalk-like dirt and faded gray coloring highlight different stages of rock decomposition by the hot water system. The right edge of the image slices through a red sign on a wooden post, cautioning hikers to stay on the trail.
Lassen lies at the crossroads of three biological provinces: the Cascade Range to the north, the Sierra Nevada mountains to the south, and the Great Basin desert to the east. This convergence contributes to the diversity of ecosystems and the abundance of flora and fauna found in the park. Over 745 distinct species have been identified.
One particular species, the American pika, is heat intolerant. Studies show there may be a loss of pika habitat at lower elevations due to increased warming.
Scientists are studying ecosystem shifts influenced by climate change. Concerns include species and habitat management, changes in precipitation, snow pack, and wildfires.
Image: American pika
This portrait photograph by Rudolf Friederich, captioned "American pika", shows a hamster-like animal, crouched and facing left on the tip of a rock. This baseball-sized relative of the rabbit has rounded ears, black beady eyes, long white whiskers, and no visible tail. Its body is covered in light to medium brown fur. A dark spot near its chest hints at the thickness and density of its insulating coat. Four narrow, hair-covered toes are visible on both of its front feet.
Wilderness . . . is a necessity of the human spirit. Edward Abbey
Wilderness is the heartbeat of Lassen. It can be heard in the rush of spring-fed streams, the hoot of a great horned owl, the gurgling of mudpots, and in the silence of winter snow.
Life in this rugged landscape is intrinsically untamable and dependent on the balance of natural systems, which, in turn, affect those living beyond the wilderness. Melting snow replenishes four watersheds, providing clean water downstream, while forested mountain slopes help clean the air. Lassen’s fragile ecosystems and their diversity of life provide opportunities for education and scientific research, while the night sky, nearly unaffected by light pollution, glows with constellations, meteor showers, and the Milky Way.
The majority of Lassen is managed as designated wilderness, a retreat from civilization. It is a place to embrace solitude, reconnect with nature, and find healing, significance, and meaning.
Hikers hit the trail.
Two young women wearing large backpacks smile for this close-up photo. The girls are standing on a log at the edge of a grassy lake. The young woman at left is wearing hiking boots, shorts, and a shirt with her sleeves rolled up. A large water bottle rests in the right side pocket of her backpack. The young woman at the right is wearing hiking boots, track pants, and a long-sleeved shirt.
The Milky Way lights up the night sky over Chaos Crags
Alison Taggart Barone
A blue-gray, night sky speckled with white stars rises over a lightly-illuminated rock landscape. The hazy, whitish-pink cloud of stars known as the Milky Way rises diagonally from the bottom right-hand corner of the image. Below, a seamless cluster of five volcanic domes forms a long, jagged peak. The mountain, the silhouettes of a handful of singular conifer trees, and the large rocky field in the foreground appear almost miniature under the expansive star-filled sky.
Ranger-led snowshoe programs are offered in the winter season.
Four snowshoers traverse a small snowfield. A female ranger packs a trail in the snow for a line of visitors, bundled in snowpants and long-sleeved tops or jackets. She is followed by two teenage boys and a woman holding a camera by her chest. At the rear of line, the steep slope of a roof rises up and out of the frame. The snowpack on which the group is walking sits just a few feet below the roofline, providing a reference to its impressive depth. Tall, snow-covered conifer trees rise behind them, followed more distantly by snow and tree-covered peaks backed by a clear, blue sky.
The back side of the brochure includes a large map of the park and three small, landscape photographs. Text and images on the top third of the page provide information on trip planning and things to do. The park map spans the remaining bottom two thirds of the page. There is a small offset map of Manzanita Lake area in the upper left corner. In the upper right corner is a map of the area surrounding the park.
Exploring Lassen Volcanic
The park map is primarily for orientation and information, however it also highlights natural features. It is accompanied by an inset map of the Manzanita Lake area and a map of highways and cities surrounding the park. The map is oriented with north at the top and represents the park, which measures approximately 12 miles long by 17.5 miles wide. The 30-mile park highway passes north to south through the left half of the map, wending around Lassen Peak. This area contains the largest concentration of park amenities and features. Icons and labels identify eight hydrothermal areas, more than 200 lakes, dozens of meadows, and over 150 miles of trail. A shaded relief highlights the steep peaks and slopes in the western half of the park. The eastern half features larger lakes and overall flatter topography, although smaller volcanic peaks are scattered throughout the area. The right half of the map contains primarily undeveloped areas with trails and lakes and accessed by three smaller roads. Text idenities most areas outside of a one-mile radius of the park highway as Lassen Volcanic Wilderness. An audio tour is available for use with matching highway markers along the park highway and a tactile map is available in the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor at the southwest entrance of the park.
The legend has symbols for wayfinding and amenities.
Wayfinding symbols include:
Amenities symbols include:
Amenities listed by location in two groupings: along the park highway and on the east side of the park.
Amenities along park highway, on the west side of the park, are listed by location north to south. Distances are from Manzanita Lake Area.
Amenities on the east side of the park are listed separately by location north to south.
Amenities are be listed by category and ordered by park quadrants in counter-clockwise order: NE, SE, NW, SW
This map of the Manzanita Lake Area is an inset of the park map and includes facilities, amenities, trails, and creeks concentrated in this approximately 3-square-mile area. The park highway passes east to west through this area, near the northern shore of Manzanita Lake. Following the park highway from the junction with Highway 44, this area includes: Lassen Crossroads information area, the northwest entrance station, Manzanita Lake, Reflection Lake, Loomis Museum (open in the summer only), Lily Pond Interpretive Trail, Discovery Center, a ranger station, and the Manzanita Lake Campground road. This spur road extends south of the park highway and provides access to Chaos Crags Trailhead, a dump station, boat launch, amphitheater, camper store, and the Manzanita Lake Campground. The camp store offers showers and laundry. In the winter, the park highway closes at the intersection of the Manzanita Lake Campground road.
This map of the area surrounding the park includes highways, roads, lakes, and selected towns. It is oriented with north at the top. The area of the park is shaded green. A solid yellow line depicting the park highway passes north to south. Highways outside the park appear as solid red lines. A legend denotes distance of 20 miles. Interstate 5 passes along the left side of the map with Redding near the top and Red Bluff about halfway down. North of the park, Highway 44 extends east to the Highway 89 junction at the park's northwest entrance and beyond to Susanville. Two thin red lines extend south from Highway 44. A6, west of the park, and A21, east of the park, denote routes around the park when the park highway is closed. A solid gray line extends south into the northeastern corner of the park. South of the park, highway 36 extends east from Red Bluff and passes through Park Headquarters and Mineral, before crossing crossing Highway 89, which continues north to southwest entrance of the park. From there, Highway 36 continues through Chester and Westwood before joining Highway 44 just west of Susanville. Between Mineral and Chester, highways 32 and 89 extend south from Highway 36. Highway 32 connects to a route through Chico and Highway 89 passes Lake Almanor and Crescent Mills before splitting into Highways 70 and 89. Just east of Chester, a thin red line extends north and splits into a gray line and a partially gray line, which denote access roads to the southeast corner of the park.
The park newspaper and website list area accommodations, services, seasonal activities, and wheelchair-accessible facilities. Get your free newspaper at park entrance stations or on the park website. Maps and publications can be purchased at Loomis Museum (summer only) and Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. An entrance fee is charged at park entrances.
A lake clearly reflects a fall landscape on its still waters. Only the shore on the far side of the lake is visible. Along its edge is a strip of golden, leafy bushes backed by stands of conifer trees. In the distance rise two volcanic peaks, one wide and rocky, the other tall and streaked with snow. Above, fluffy clouds float in a blue sky.
Kings Creek Falls
A 30-foot waterfall tumbles down a series of random steps carved into a blocky, rock wall. A slope of similar gray rock obscures the lower-right corner of the fall at the forefront of the image. Small conifer trees and a mix of yellow and green shrubs and grasses line the rock wall and the creek above and below.
Stay on established trails and boardwalks. In hydrothermal areas ground can look solid but it may actually be a thin crust hiding pools of acidic boiling water. Traveling off-trail in these areas is illegal and may result in severe injury. Watch children closely.
Leashed pets are welcome on paved surfaces in parking areas and campgrounds only. They are not permitted in buildings or on trails.
Cell phone coverage here is limited. Pay phones are located at the Manzanita Lake Camper Store and Loomis Museum. An emergency phone is in the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center.
The highway through the park offers access to trails, lakes, and volcanic and hydrothermal features. The road guide is sold at the Loomis Museum and Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. Speed limit is 35 mph or as posted. Do not stop on roadways; use the overlooks to view wildlife and scenery.
Campsites are available as both first-come, first-served or by reservation; reservations are required for group sites. See the park newspaper for more information. Protect natural resources: camp in designated campgrounds only • Park in designated areas only • Bears are present; store food properly • Do not feed wild animals • Build fires only in campground fire grates; do not leave any fire unattended.
The 150 miles of park trails include 17 miles of Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. • Acclimate to high elevations gradually. Wear sturdy footwear. • Avoid exposed areas in lightning storms. • Never hike alone. • Pets are not allowed on trails or boardwalks. • Stay on trails; take no shortcuts. • Bicycles, motor vehicles, and all wheeled conveyances are prohibited on trails. Ask a ranger about wheelchair use on trails. • Rock climbing is discouraged as volcanic rock is unstable. Consult a ranger before climbing.
A backcountry permit is required for any overnight backcountry stay. Permits are available at visitor and ranger stations. Contact the park about closed areas. • Wood fires and stoves are prohibited. • Pack out all trash. • Treat all backcountry water before drinking.Be avalanche aware: always get weather and avalanche information before you enter the backcountry.
National Park Service
A still lake reflects a volcanic landscape in this panoramic photo. Across the lake, rises a tree-covered ridge. It's right shoulder ends with two rounded cinder cone volcanoes, one partially obscuring the other. At the foot of the ridge, a flow of red and brown lava undulates from right to left before tapering off and disappearing under the water. So nearly perfect, the reflection makes it difficult to decipher where the lava flow ends and its reflection begins.
Pack and saddle stock may stay overnight only in the designated horse camps at Summit, Juniper, and Butte lakes—reservations required. Permits required for day use of stock.
Anglers need a California fishing license and must know park regulations and limits. Only non-power watercraft may be used on park lakes; engines of any type are not permitted. Boating is prohibited on Reflection, Emerald, Helen, and Boiling Springs lakes. Kayak rentals are offered at Manzanita Lake Camper Store in summer.
Congress has protected nearly 90 percent of Lassen Volcanic National Park as wilderness under the 1964 Wilderness Act. Lassen Volcanic Wilderness was designated in 1972, becoming one of the earliest wilderness areas in the National Wilderness Preservation System. Preserving wilderness shows restraint and humility, and benefits generations to come. Wilderness designation protects forever the land’s wilderness character, natural conditions, opportunities for solitude, and scientific, educational, and historical values.
By using principles of universal design, Lassen is committed to providing an ever-increasing level of accessibility. A free accessibility guide is available at visitor centers and on the park website and describes accessible services and facilities at Lassen Volcanic including:
For more information please ask a ranger, call (530) 595-4480, email email@example.com, or visit nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm.
National Park PO Box 100
Mineral, CA 96063-0100
Lassen Volcanic is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. Visit www.nps.gov to learn more.
National Park Foundation. Join the park community. www.nationalparks.org