Lassen Completes Road Clearing to Devastation Area, Starts South West Entrance today

Lassen Volcanic National Park , March 29. 2021 – The 30-mile Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway traverses avalanche-prone slopes with up to 2,000 foot drops and can hold a snowpack up to 40 feet deep. Snow clearing operations usually begin in March or April and continues for about two months before the highway is entirely open.

On Tuesday last week the Lassen team along with Cal Trans completed clearing he highway into the North west Corner to Devastation Area. This area is still closed to motor Vehicles, but marks an early milestone for clearing the parks main highway for the spring crowds.

lassen volcanic snow plow
A snow plow clears snow near the Devastated Area. – NPS

Crews are transferring the equipment now to the South West entrance where they will begin Starting March 3oth to traverse the steepest slope in Lassen. currently the snow pack is approx. 8 feet deep still in the southwest region and depths at Lake Helen are still to be determined.

The March 3rd start date for clearing the roads was the earliest start date in 40 years at the park. So when will the park open the road through Lassen? That is always tricky to answer as spring weather in unpredictable and the plowing from here goes much slower. However is data from the last 40 years is any type of predictor, it is easy to assume a mid May opening might be possible.

Snow clearing operations occur in the following order:

  1. Manzanita Lake Area between Loomis Plaza and Devastated Area (10 miles).
  2. Southwest Area between Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center and Lassen Peak (8 miles).
  3. Devastated Area to Lassen Peak (12 miles).

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