Boiling mud, steam rising from the ground, the smell of rotten eggs in the air, a morbid history, and stunning views; all under the shadow of the Mt. Lassen volcano. This hike and the surrounding area are guaranteed to leave you wanting more of Lassen Volcanic National Park and the Cascade Mountain Range. 

Millions of people flock to Yellowstone National Park every year to see the famous volcanic activity (among other things) and gain more perspective on what goes on beneath the earth's beautiful surface. What many people haven't discovered is that Lassen Volcanic National Park, one of the earth's best kept secrets, displays some of these same volcanic features while hosting a significantly smaller audience.

Bumpass Hell, Lassen's most active area, is arguably one of the most representative hikes of the unique area, and a trip to Lassen would not be complete without visiting these sulfur pots. 

What's up with the name? The area is named after guide Kendall Bumpass after he discovered it in 1864. While exploring, the unstable land crumbled beneath him and he partially fell into one of the boiling sulfur pots below, suffering severe burns on his leg. Don't let that stop you from making the trip out, however. The trail down to Bumpass Hell the well-marked trail is 2.6 miles out-and-back, and there is a structurally-sound boardwalk that leads you safely across the precarious areas.

Directions: There is only one road that leads you through Lassen NP, so getting there should be relatively straight forward. The trailhead is about 6 miles from the southern park entrance, and the parking lot will have a sign signifying the start of the hike. The parking lot generally has enough space for the amount of visitors that come throughout the day, but summer and weekends tend to be a bit more crowded so plan to get there at in the late morning, at least, to ensure parking. If you cannot find parking there, you can sometimes park on the side of the road around the Lake Helen area, but make sure you are outside of the white line and not obstructing traffic.

As stated before, the trail is fairly well-marked. The parking lot where the trailhead is located offers a wonderful views of the eastern section of Lassen NP. There is also a beautiful vista point about 0.9 miles into the trail. After the vista point, the trail starts to descent into the volcanic area. Once you reach the sulfur pots, you will reach a boardwalk where you will be able to peruse the intriguing landscape at your own leisure. 

Pack List

  • Hiking boots (or shoes with decent traction)
  • Camera
  • Extra layers, depending on the time of year you hike (check the weather forecast before you go)
  • Water
  • Food
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat/sunglasses (the trail is pretty exposed)
  • Binoculars (optional)
Show More
RT Distance 2.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 300 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Hot Springs


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