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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Bumpass Hell, CA

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Guide 12 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Northern
4.2 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 1.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,192 feet
Elevation Gain 300 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 2.5
Interest Seasonal Waterfall, Perennial Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
3  2019-07-27 lojones5
8  2017-09-03 lojones5
8  2016-09-10 Lucyan
15  2015-09-01 zukerrach
22  2014-07-06 JimmyLyding
7  2013-09-08 PatrickL
6  2013-08-02 southpawaz
32  2012-09-19 CannondaleKid
Page 1,  2
Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 247
Photos 7,293
Trips 1,818 map ( 15,596 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Sep, Jun → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:52am - 6:05pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Pathway To The Darkside
by AZLOT69

Likely In-Season!
All four types of volcanos can be located within Lassen National Park. These are plug dome, shield, cinder cone and strato. There is one furnace that generates all the features within the park which include steam vents, mud pots and boiling springs. Bumpass Hell is the largest escape valve for this active but resting volcanic area.

Discovered in 1864, Mr. Kendall Vanhook Bumpass filed a mining claim and intended to develop the area into a tourist attraction. One day while walking in the area Bumpass fell thru the thin crust of earth into a mud pot severely burning his leg and eventually loosing it. His dream never materialized.

The hike is three miles out and back gaining about five hundred feet early, then loosing 250 feet descending into Bumpass Basin. The sixteen acre basin features seventy five fumaroles, hot springs, and mud pots in the shadow of Bumpass Mountain, a dome volcano. What sounds like a jet engine is the Big Boiler, the hottest fumarole in a non erupting volcano in the world. The steam coming out of this fumarole is measured at 322 degrees Fahrenheit. Hydrogen sulfide gas released from the earth gives the area a rotten egg smell.

The hike starts off very rough and begins its climb of five hundred feet to some nice panoramic views of Lake Helen, Brokeoff Mountain, Lassen Peak, and Diamond Peak. The trail smoothes out going through some forested areas with vast views of valleys to the south and east. Most of the summer water can be heard in the creeks below as area melting snow pack lasts well into August. After a short time along a ridgeline, the trail starts down the other side to a viewpoint of Bumpass Basin. The trail descends steeply from here into the basin. At the bottom of the descent flows a creek away from the geothermal features. The creek bed is lined with colorful minerals. The danger associated with the thin crust of the basin is managed by a series of boardwalks to prevent injury. Think of the area as under construction. The area is constantly changing and there is potential for danger if you leave the boardwalk. After taking in the many viewpoints return the way you came or you can continue on connecting trails.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2009-08-29 AZLOT69

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Bumpass Hell
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    It's very smoky in Redding right now from the surrounding fires, but we were able to escape to Lassen where it was much more clear. We got out a little late and decided to hike the Bumpass Hell trail. Temperatures were about 10-15 degrees cooler than Redding which was fantastic, and we hiked slightly past the geothermal springs at Bumpass Hell to escape the crowd and get a nice view from a higher vantage point. We noticed some dark clouds appearing from the North before we began our hike back. I was not expecting any rain, but we ended up in an awesome sun shower and soon we were getting pelted by small hail. It made for an exciting route back, occasionally hiding under trees to avoid the sting from the hail--while it was somehow still sunny in the late afternoon. The weather let up in about 10 minutes and we finished the hike back to the car. Hoping to hike up Lassen Peak next time we're up there and it's clear.
    Bumpass Hell
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We were undecided on what sights to see here until we stopped at the Manzanita Visitor's Center and saw a bit about Mr. Bumpass's Hell and decided we had time for the walk, especially since cindyl had never seen geothermal features before other than hot springs. With the Lassen Summit Trail closed for renovations, it seemed like everyone was hiking this one (we got the only spot open in the large parking lot when we arrived). There are some great views of the surrounding areas along the trail, as well as a few meadows of solid Lupine which was in full bloom. At this elevation and location, Manzanita was growing as a shrubby ground cover, which was odd to see. We arrived at Hell in good time, and wandered around the boardwalk looking at the pools, vents, and mud pots before heading back out the way we came.
    Bumpass Hell
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Thankfully a group of 2 dozen kids (on a field trip?) finished this hike just as we pulled up to the TH parking lot. Just listening to them for the few minutes it took to gear up and head out was enough... most were whining about how boring the hike was. :-({|=

    One comment that really got me fired up was "I'd rather be playing Hunger Games than hiking!" :x
    I was so close to walking over and knocking the kid down, taking everything he had, blindfolding and dragging him out off the trail someplace and finally asking him are we having fun yet!?
    Good thing Tracey wouldn't let go of my hand. [-X

    Whatever any of the kids said, boring wasn't even in the dictionary on this hike. The views were awesome and it was wonderful to experience them first-hand, because photos simply can't do justice to the Bumpass Hell area... Tracey would say that's a good thing, because if photos could convey the smell nobody would want to view them. Ok, it smelled :yuck: but c'mon, this is sulphur we're talking about, so suck it up... or more accurately, hold your breath. Tracey was having none of that and turned back while I continued to the end of the boardwalk taking photos and videos along the way.

    Other than the group of kids, almost everyone else was speaking either what I would guess was an Eastern European language (not Russian) or German, which both Tracey and I could understand bits and pieces of. This seemed to be a continuing theme on this trip, because we heard much the same both back in Death Valley and our next few days in Northern CA.

    Permit $$

    Lassen Volcanic National Park
    Lassen Park Fees

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    SR 36, 20 miles west of Chester, Ca. Proceed north on Hwy 89, 6 miles to to south entrance of Lassen National Park. The trailhead is 4.25 miles north of the south entrance on the east side of the street Hwy 89.
    page created by AZLOT69 on Aug 29 2009 1:19 pm
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