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Home : Travel Stories   : Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
"To reach the official peak, some real climbing is called for."
- Heather Jackson

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USA

Wanna hike a volcano?
by Heather Jackson, 29, Vacaville, California, USA
Feb 25, 2000

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The trail is stony and loose underfoot, the rocky sides of the volcano changing in hue from light gray to an orange-red color in some places. Even at 8,512 feet, there are huge slabs of packed snow, still solid despite the 80' temperatures in early September. As we climb, the dusty trail continually turns back on itself as we wind our way up, becoming quite narrow in places with steep drops on either side. The vegetation begins to thin out and the trees become more sparse and rangy looking with some extraordinary twisted, weathered stumps along the way, which provide needed shade and seating for the weary hiker.

You'll find other hikers friendly and full of encouragement, especially those hiking downhill! You'll find hikers of all ages and many families with young children enjoying the day.

Volcano

It took us 1 hour 45 minutes, including several rest breaks to reach the top. There is a spectacular view of Mt. Shasta visible through a melon sliced cut out of the mountain. To reach the official peak, some real climbing is called for. First you have to wade through a 20-foot wide glacier and then climb the last few feet to reach the summit. It's worth it! Behind me there was a large devastated area of stone and sand, denuded by volcanic activity. Before me, ridge after ridge of alpine covered peaks and slopes, inter spaced with natural lakes. This beautiful wilderness environment is definitely worth a weekend stay.

Getting There

From San Francisco, take 5 north, continue to Redding, then turn onto highway 44, the trip, takes about 4 hours one way.

For more information contact Superintendent, Lassen Volcanic National Park, P.O. Box 100, Mineral, CA 96063. Tel; 530-595-4444 or log on to www.nps.gov/lavo.

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