As I said in Shasta’s post that Crater Lake National Park and Lassen Volcanic Naitonal Park are some of the great National parks of USA. So here I am with an unplanned itinerary of these parks , where I felt completely immersed in nature’s lap. Sometimes , spontaneous trips yield more excitement and pleasure than the tried and tested.
That doesn’t mean ,that we overlooked the weather and alert conditions of these parks. Never do that. We had done that earlier and failed to see even a bit of Crater lake in our last visit. So always heed to the warnings and alerts that the park rangers publish on their sites. 🙂 .
US being the birthplace of National Parks, the organization and maintenance of these natural beauties is phenomenal.
So we started on Friday evening from Bay Area around 4 pm and reached Weed, where we book our hotel- Quality Inn & Suites,(on the way to Weed) at 10 pm. I carried home-made Palak-poori with dry potato curry and Spinach hummus for the dinner (Will share their recipes soon). To our surprise, we woke up to see that our hotel was in the footsteps of snow-capped Mt.Shasta.
We checked out at 9 am and started for the “Deep Blue Lake” from there. ???????????? ????????Puzzled 😀 .
It is none other than the deepest lake of US – Crater Lake 😛 . We went through a Volcanic Byway scenic route and it was surely scenic with Mt. Shasta on one side and grasslands on the other. The Amtrak rail passing on one side , the farms on the other. Klamath National Forest on the way with Lower Klamath lake on the way are other gifts of nature.
Never knew the might of nature until we reach the Crater lake. You would be amazed to know that Crater Lake was born out of violence. A massive volcanic eruption 7,700 years ago left a deep basin in the place where Mt.Mazama once stood. Centuries of rain and snow filled the basin, forming a deep blue lake whose waters are of unmatched color and clarity. The water is so clear and blue that you could see up-to 143 feet below the lake while boating or swimming (1,943 feet depth).
The Wizard Island, which emerged after the water filled in the Caldera has a cinder cone at the top. The Phantom ship, which appears like a small moving island, finally got anchored in these waters. The Pinnacles which are eerie spires of volcanic ash sculpted by erosion. Pumice Castle is again a naturally carved castle in the caldera walls, made of pumice . Now the trees, animals have adapted themselves to the weather and the atmosphere there with lopsided stems such that their roots turn away from the cold speedy gushes of winds that they face at the Cloud-cap Overlook.
An Old folk-lore of Mt.Llao(the underworld god) and his love for the daughter of Mt.Shasta is famous too. 😀 . For knowing more about that tale, do visit this place. Since tales and words won’t do full justice to this breath-taking serene place.
We had our home-made lunch just outside visitor center in our car. There are two visitor centers – Rim Visitor Center and the Steel Visitor Center . Just behind the Rim visitor center in Rim village, you will see a Sinnott Overlook. It has been made in a mysterious way that it couldn’t be spotted from above the rim.
If you are fond of hiking, you can climb up the trail of Mt.Scott, the highest point in Crater Lake National Park. Also there is only one trail that leads to the lake’s shore – Cleetwood Cove trail near the northern entrance. Cloud-cap overlook offers spectacular views of clouds, trees , snow-laden caldera walls and their reflections in the lake. We were fortunate to see the snow-capped trees and the falling snow off the roofs everywhere.
Moving all around the rim can take anywhere between two to four hours. In our case we took 3 hours to go on the east rim. [:( West rim was closed due to construction]. Also there are Vidae Falls and Plakini Falls on the East rim if you want to stop by. We reached Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine in Redding by 8:00 for dinner, headed for the Hotel-Travelodge (again booked on the way) and were happy to found the neat beds after a long day.
On the way back to Hotel, we caught a glimpse of the Majestic Mt. Shasta again. Here are some of its pics, at different times of the day !!
For more pics click here : Crater Lake Album
We started early at 7 in the morning with to-go-breakfast from our hotel for Lassen Volcanic National Park. Instead of taking the usual route of Manzanita lake entrance, we took the south entrance at Kohm-Yah-Mah-Nee visitor center this time. This was our second visit to the park. It is famous for all four types of volcanic mountains viz. Cinder cone, Shield Volcanoes,Plug Dome and Composite Volcanoes. It is sometimes also called as the mini-Yellowstone .
After seeing the Vulcan’s eye of Lassen, we saw the amazing Sulphur works, mudpots and fumeroles. The red earth there is a proof that earth was no better than Mars once. Next we saw the small Emerald Lake, which is indeed green in color.
The most popular trail here is : Bumpass Hell’s trail. We as a family did our first hike here. It was enjoyable and least stressful because of the pleasant weather. We reached the highest point of trail after 0.9 mile hike and all the peaks Mt.Conrad, Mt Diller, Mt Broke-off, Diamond Peak and Pilot Pinnacles were visible from here. And Lassen Peak didn’t stop following us all the way in the trail. 😉
Bumpass Hell is the home of largest boiling lake in California ,sulphur works, mudpots and sulphite gases. It is a lot smelly like rotten eggs, so beware of that before you start. But the view it offers on the boardwalk with high rising steam is unbelievable. The total trail roundtrip is 2.6 miles and we covered it with few rest stops in 3 hours. On reaching the base parking, we had our snacks like energy bars, chips, juices, doughnuts and hotel-made maggie 😀 .
Next we stopped by the beautiful Helen Lake with Mt. Lassen in the backdrop. You may also plan a trail at Lassen peak which is just after the Helen lake .Along the way you will see a trail going upto Kings Creek falls , but we decided to skip that. Then we did some unique photography at the Kings creek in the Upper Meadows by the road. Also have a small stop at Summit Lake with Hat Mountain in the background on the Highway 89. Then you will see a beautiful Hat creek pullout ,where you get close-up shots of Lassen’s peak. I think one day is not enough for exploring this park. So have two days in hand while visiting this park. There is a cinder cone trail (a strenuous one) at the North-east entrance and Subway cave for spooky visits.
Exhausted but spirited we reached Manzanita lake at the north entrance. I wanted to see the reflection of Mt Lassen in this lake, so for this viewpoint, we did a trail of 1.8 miles again 😀 and believe me it was worth it. We found blue jays , ducks, woodpeckers, America’s Pika, squirrels, stick-insects,wolf-like-dogs along our way. The lake was desolated in most of the areas ,devoid of boats and humans at that time. So it was quiet, scenic and the birds were moving freely.
Just opposite to Manzanita lake is Reflection lake on Highway 89. It creates a perfect reflection of the encircling trees and mountains.
Though not so renowned, this park is a must visit for any nature-lover. For the first time in life, I got to see the fascinating boiling lakes and mudpots like we see in movies. It would be an unforgettable experience for you . Hope to see you soon with more such stories and itineraries… 🙂
Till then keep roaming …..
For more pics Please click here : Lassen Park Album