MINERAL, Calif. – Backcountry campers visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park will be able to plan trips and obtain backcountry permits online via Recreation.gov beginning January 17, 2023.
The new online permit system replaces the paper-based system that required in-person registration and is currently in place at many national parks throughout the country. The new system will improve the effectiveness and timeliness of communicating important safety information from wildlife concerns to weather and fire hazards. It will also provide park managers with better data to preserve and protect these special places.
“We are excited to make the process of getting a backcountry permit more convenient for our visitors,” said Lassen Volcanic Superintendent Jim Richardson. “Replacing the outdated paper-based permit system improves safety, communication, and is a step forward in managing Lassen Volcanic for future generations. Visitors will be able to obtain a backcountry permit from their home, or even from their cell phone while on their way to the park,” he added.
The non-refundable reservation fee for acquiring an online backcountry permit is $6 per permit. An additional $5 per person, per trip, recreation fee will directly benefit Lassen Volcanic in managing and improving trails, providing wilderness patrols, and monitoring natural and cultural resources. There are no fees for visitors 15 years old and younger. Visitors planning their overnight backcountry trips at Lassen Volcanic should know that there are unlimited permits available. Permits are only required for overnight stays and not for day hikes.
For more information about backcountry camping at Lassen Volcanic, please visit: www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/wilderness-permit-information.htm.
Backpacking Trailheads Lassen Volcanic National Park
The largest network of trails is located in the eastern half of the park. These trails are accessed via four primary backpacking trailheads: Warner Valley, Butte Lake, Juniper Lake, and Summit Lake.
- Short Route Trailheads
Ridge Lakes, Hat Lake, Brokeoff Mountain, and Manzanita Creek trailheads provide access to shorter routes that may be good for quick trips or first-time backpackers.
- Kings Creek Picnic Area TH
Located one mile from the Kings Creek Trailhead, this trailhead provides access to limited destinations including Twin, Spencer, and Conard Meadows.
- Warner Valley TH
Backpacking routes are fairly limited from Warner Valley due to the numerous hydrothermal areas where camping is prohibited. You can travel north or south on the Pacific Crest Trail from here or climb Flatiron Ridge to access trails near Kings Creek. Black bears are sighted frequently in the Warner Valley Area.
- Butte Lake TH
The parking area is open to day use and overnight users. The trail past Cinder Cone to Snag Lake is composed of sand-like cinders. The shore of Snag Lake offers numerous places to camp. The area also provides a good base camp for day trips to Juniper Lake or Rainbow Lake. Bears have obtained improperly stored food in this area.
- Juniper Lake TH
The parking area is open to day use and overnight users and is located at the end of the Juniper Lake Road. There is no drinking water at Juniper Lake, you can treat lake/stream water or bring your own.
- Summit Lake TH
The is the most popular and congested trailhead for backcountry camping. We highly recommend beginning your trip at another trailhead to help reduce impact and to make the most of your Wilderness experience.
- Kings Creek TH
Parking at this trailhead is extremely limited. Please consider parking at a pullout near the meadow and hiking a short distance to the trailhead. Smaller loops from this trailhead provide good options for short trips or first-time backpackers. Black bears are frequently sighted in the Kings Creek area.
Bear-Resistant Container Required
Backcountry campers must use an approved bear-resistant container to store food and scented items. This regulation is in response to increased negative bear and human interactions in the park. Bear canisters are not required December 1 through April 15.
Stay with or Store Your Food
Bears obtaining improperly stored food has and may again result in park closures. At least one bear obtained food and/or scented items that hikers had not stored in bear-resistant containers in 2020. After multiple incidents, the bear learned to associate humans and their equipment with a food reward.
The area east of the park highway was temporarily closed to backcountry camping to protect visitors and bears. The closure has since been lifted, however there is still a potential for negative human-bear interactions. Learn about bear safety.
Bear Canister Rental
Bear-resistant food canisters are available for rent in limited quantities at park stores in the Loomis Museum and Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center during business hours. Rental is $10 for 7 days with a $95 deposit for either size canister. Canisters must be returned to the location rented. There will be a $15 charge for canisters returned dirty (not including wear/dirt from normal use).