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Bumpass Hell

When to go:

An incredibly interesting place.  Picture walking through a forest of bright green Ponderosa Pine, turning the corner, and observing a valley with several small lakes.  Looking again you see that the valley is covered in white ash with sulpher steam streaming from the ground and the lakes boiling furiously.  Everything on the valley walls are alive, and everything on the valley floor is dead.  Welcome to Bumpass Hell.  The site was named after a Mr. Bumpass who rode into the valley for the first time in the 1800's. He later described the site as hell on earth.   Upon stepping on the thin white ash, his leg went through the crust and into a pool of super-heated water and had to have his leg amputated.

Today, a boardwalk guides visitors through the valley floor on safe footing so as not to repeat Mr. Bumpass' missteps.


Route Selection:

The 1.5 mile (3 mile round-trip) trail is located next to the Bumpass Hell parking area in Lassen Volcano National Park, less than a mile from the southern entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park along state route 89. The trail is easy with minimal elevation gain.

Hotel and Climb Reservation:

No guide, permit, or trail reservations are required.  There are almost no hotels in the immediate area.  The Drakesbad area of the park offers a few cabins (with no electricity or running water).  There are also one or two bed and breakfast facilities in the nearby area.  Numerous hotels are located in Reading, about 90 minutes to the west.


Packing List:

Standard light hiking gear and water.  Cold weather gear as required.

Trailhead sign

A view from the trail when entering the thermal zone

Walkway over the safe areas to traverse

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