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The Best Time to Visit Lassen Volcanic National Park in 2024

The Best Time to Visit Lassen Volcanic National Park in 2024

What's the best time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park?

The best time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park is in the summer, offering warm days, cool nights, and full access to trails and park facilities. Check for snowpack if visiting early summer, but enjoy blooming wildflowers and operational campgrounds, making it ideal for exploring all the park has to offer.

The centerpiece of California’s Lassen Volcanic National Park is an active volcano, the last in the Cascade Range, Lassen Peak. The volcano erupted spectacularly and was well-documented in 1915.

Lassen Peak is the park’s namesake, but it isn’t the only volcano. Hydrothermal features are also prevalent throughout the area. Forests and meadows provide a beautiful contrast for more dramatic aspects of the landscape.

Explore the stunning area through activities like hiking and boating, or plan a visit in the winter to sled down hills and snowshoes around the park. While spending several days at the park is recommended to soak in all its beauties, it’s also possible to see several highlights during a short trip.

In this guide, we’ll cover the best time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park, though the answer differs depending on what you want to do and see during your vacation. Regardless of what you want to do, this is valuable information to know before heading out.

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Overall Best Time to Visit Lassen Volcanic National Park

The Lassen Peak trail pictured during the best time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park

Stephen Moehle/Shutterstock

The overall best time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park is during the summer. Visitors in the fall season deal with declining accessibility and services as the park prepares for winter.

Spring visitors face the same problems, and summer is the best time to experience the whole park. Summer travelers experience warm days and cool nights in the park with mostly sunny days, though exact temperature ranges with elevation.

Even if you plan on visiting during early summer, you should check the conditions before you go since snowpack can last until July. Visitors may reach all parts of the park for most of the summer and find their way through beautiful trails.

Wildflowers bloom throughout May to September in different elevations. One of the most significant advantages of planning a summer trip is the options for lodging and facilities in the park.

Campgrounds and small stores operate inside the park, offering services like showers and laundry. Horseback riding and watercraft rentals are also available in summer.

Cheapest Time to Visit Lassen Volcanic National Park

Image of a snow covered crater pictured during the cheapest time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park, the winter


The cheapest time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park is during the winter season (from November until mid-April), when it lowers the entry fee.

Other costs of travel also remain low, except around holidays. Before planning a budget winter trip, consider whether or not you already have the equipment you need or if you must make an additional purchase.

Traveling with chains is required in some areas, and carrying extra gas is recommended. At this time of year, folks head to the park for fun in the snow.

The park offers winter recreation like snowboarding and skiing in addition to ranger-led snowshoe walks. One campground remains open for those ready to camp in the snow.

The downside of the snowy weather is that not all areas of the park are open for visitors during this time. Still, with proper planning, a winter visit to Lassen can be a cost-effective trip full of invigorating activities!

Least Busy Time to Visit Lassen Volcanic National Park

Bumpass hell as seen from a fisheye lens during the least busy time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park,


Winter is the least busy time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park. However, more areas of the park are inaccessible to visitors during the season. Spending time in the snow can be fun, but you won’t see everything the park offers.

Consider a visit during the fall for a quiet yet thorough visit to the park. Hikers roam the trails with fewer other people than during the busy summer season but still can see the majority of the park. Some facilities do begin to close, while others remain open year-round.

Remember to check conditions first, as winter weather requiring chains may be in the forecast even in fall. Higher elevations experience snow closures before other areas of the park.

Early fall is a good bet to enjoy the cooling temperatures while avoiding more of the wintery conditions. The Loomis Museum also remains open through mid-October, offering a historic venue to learn more about the region.

Worst Time to Visit Lassen Volcanic National Park

Aerial view of Lassen Volcanic National park during spring, the worst time to visit

Joshua Hawley/Shutterstock

Spring is the worst time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park for visitors unprepared for the conditions.

Arriving early in the season means experiencing lingering winter conditions as well as road closures but also some opportunities for spending time in the park. For the prepared traveler, a trip during the spring makes for an excellent biking vacation.

While winter weather persists, roads are slowly cleared as conditions improve. The main route on the highway remains closed to vehicles but open to hikers and bicyclists.

To participate in Hike and Bike the Highway, you’ll have to monitor current road conditions carefully. Checking these conditions before any spring getaway to the park is crucial since snow lasts longer during different years.

There might not be as many things open in the park through the early spring, but the things you can do are extraordinary! Another option to take advantage of this variable season is to visit the park in June for sights of wildflowers as the park slowly reopens.

Lassen Volcanic National Park by Month

Photo of a marsh pictured during the best time to visit Lassen Valley National Park, as seen from the tops of the grass

Dori Dumrong/Shutterstock

Still unsure about the best time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:


Winter temperatures in Lassen Volcanic National Park range from -13 to 4°C (8-39°F). January is ideal for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the park’s winter trails, exploring the geothermal features in the snow, and enjoying the serene winter beauty.


Similar to January, February maintains cold temperatures. It’s an excellent time for winter photography, as the landscape is covered in snow. Consider joining a ranger-led snowshoe walk to learn about the park’s winter ecology.


As spring begins, temperatures range from -7 to 8°C (19-46°F). March is perfect for witnessing the transition from winter to spring. Explore the snowy landscapes before the thaw, and as the snow melts, start hiking the lower-elevation trails like Bumpass Hell.


Spring temperatures in April range from -3 to 12°C (27-54°F). April offers opportunities for hiking and birdwatching as the park begins to come alive with wildflowers. The Visitor Center opens, providing valuable information about the park’s features.


May sees temperatures ranging from 0 to 16°C (32-61°F). It’s a great month for hiking the popular Lassen Peak Trail, exploring the geothermal features in Bumpass Hell, and witnessing the vibrant wildflower blooms.


Summer arrives with temperatures between 4 to 20°C (39-68°F). June offers opportunities for more extensive hiking, including the Cinder Cone Trail and the Lassen Peak Trail. The scenic drive through the park is open, providing access to various points of interest.


July maintains warm temperatures from 9 to 25°C (48-77°F). It’s a popular month for camping, hiking to the beautiful Kings Creek Falls, and exploring the fantastic hydrothermal areas such as Devil’s Kitchen and Boiling Springs Lake.


Temperatures in August range from 7 to 24°C (45-75°F). Enjoy the peak of summer with activities like fishing in Manzanita Lake, camping under the starry skies, and attending ranger-led programs to learn more about the park’s geology and history.


As fall begins, temperatures range from 3 to 18°C (37-64°F). September offers a pleasant transition, with opportunities for hiking the park’s trails, birdwatching, and enjoying the changing colors of the foliage.


October sees temperatures ranging from -1 to 12°C (30-54°F). It’s a great month for fall foliage, hiking the Lassen Peak Trail before winter closures, and exploring the park’s less crowded trails.


Fall temperatures range from -7 to 4°C (19-39°F). November is ideal for early winter activities, such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, as the park starts to receive snowfall


Winter returns with temperatures ranging from -11 to 3°C (12-37°F). December brings opportunities for winter sports like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, and the park takes on a serene and peaceful winter ambiance. Winter wildlife viewing is also a highlight.

Frequently Asked Questions

King Creek Valley in Lassen Valley National Park

Vesna Kriznar/Shutterstock

These are some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Lassen and our answers.

How many days do you need in Lassen National Park?

How long you stay in the park depends on what activities and features you want to check out. A two to three visit allows ample time to explore this beautiful area, while a one-day trip might be more appropriate during winter when less of the park is accessible.

Does Lassen have hot springs?

Yes, Lassen National Park hosts many hydrothermal features. You can view mud pots, steam vents, and boiling pools in different areas. However, if you’re looking to soak in any of these hot springs, you’ll be out of luck.

Ongoing volcanic activity causes high temperatures along with acidic waters, so getting into any of these pools is prohibited. Remember to stay on designated paths to avoid potential injuries.

What town is closest to Lassen National Park?

The largest town of a substantial size is Chester, located south of the park. Other communities exist closer to the park’s entrances but lack the amenities of Chester, like multiple lodging options and eateries.

How long does it take to drive through Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Driving through Lassen on the Park Highway takes about an hour and spans 30 miles from the northwest entrance to the southwest entrance of the park.

Why is Lassen Peak famous?

The volcanic activity is part of what makes this peak so famous! Another factor that boosted the notoriety of this still-active volcano is the many photographs taken of its last eruption in 1915.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Lassen Volcanic National Park?

While the best time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park is during its summer season, there are also great experiences at any time of year. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!