Lake Almanor Lassen Volcanic National Park National Parks Recreation Route 89

What To Do At Lassen Volcanic National Park in April And May

Written by Charlie Pankey

Snow removal in Lassen is a variable timeline. Each season depending on Snow packs, on coming storm weather etc. As snow removal operations begin in Lassen yearly, visitors look forward to accessing their favorite national park highway, but still will deal with snow and limited access. Here is a list of activities to consider in early spring visit to the park.

Lassen Volcanic National Park always receives a good amount of snow each year. But in 2019, the heavy snow-pack has left the park with 133% of average in the early weeks of April. This will cause many areas of the park to be under snow until July. For this reason Lassen has published a great list of activities to consider if you are planning a trip in April or May.

What to do: April – May

Snow is quickly melting in the Northwest Area of the park (Manzanita Lake) and some trails may become snow-free. In the Southwest Area, the snowpack remains very deep (14′ on April 10) and is best for winter recreation. View current snow depths here.

  • Walk/ride/bike the cleared highway. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy sections of the park highway that are plowed, but not yet open to vehicles. Leashed pets are welcome on pavement. Please clean-up after your pet. The park highway will likely be plowed to Devastated Area (10 miles) by early April and will open to vehicles once conditions allow. Plowing will begin in the Southwest Area in mid-April. View a map of road clearing progress/status.
  • Hike lower elevation trails. The Manzanita Lake and Lily Pond Trails and Reflection Lake route are usually the first trails in the park to be snow-free.
  • Snowshoe/Ski in the Northwest Area. Rent snowshoes in Mineral, Chester, Redding, or Chico before heading into the park. Explore the snow-covered Chaos Jumbles or Devastated Area. View a guide to Manzanita Lake winter routes.
Manzanita Lake and Lassen Peak
  • Enjoy a scenic drive around the park. There are two routes around the park that connect the Northwest and Southwest Entrances. The western route (Lanes Valley Road) passes through lower elevation meadows and rangelands, which are often bright green and filled with wildflowers in the spring. On clear days, the drive offers excellent views of Chaos Crags, Lassen Peak, and Brokeoff Mountain from afar. The eastern route (A21) has a similar feel to driving through the park as it passes through dense forest dotted with volcanoes, lakes, and meadows.
  • Walk to Sulphur Works hydrothermal area. The highway will likely be plowed between the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center and Sulphur Works (two miles round-trip) by late April. Sulphur Works is the only hydrothermal area that is accessible in the spring until the road to Warner Valley opens, usually in mid-June.
  • Snowshoe/Ski in the Southwest Area. Rent snowshoes in Mineral, Chester, Redding, or Chico before heading into the park. The steep terrain in this area creates some phenomenal views. Ridge Lakes, Diamond Peak, and Forest Lake (off the Brokeoff Mountain Trail) are good options for skiing or snowshoeing. Visitors traveling off the highway in this area should be avalanche aware. Watch a video about winter/snowy spring in the Southwest Area or view a guide to Southwest Area winter routes.
  • Explore the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. The visitor center at the Southwest Entrance is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm through April. The visitor center is open daily beginning May 1.
  • Snow camp at the Southwest Campground. The only park campground open at this time is the Southwest Walk-in Campground, which is either camping on the snow or in a vehicle in the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center parking area.

Spend A Weekend in the Lassen Region

Lake ALmanor
Lake Almanor in the Spring
Burney Falls
  • Visit the Subway Tunnel North of the Park: Take a journey through 1/3 mile of a winding lava tube.  You will need to furnish your own flashlight in order to find your way and to read the reflective interpretive signs (rentals available nearby).The floor is rough and jagged so wear sturdy shoes. A light jacket will ward off the chill as the cave remains a cool 46 degrees F.  Neither hardhats nor crawling is required!
  • Fishing In Lake Almanor And Surrounding Areas-
  • Great fishing abounds in the Lake Almanor Basin whether you are a lake or stream fisherman. There are many guide services available that will help show you how to hook ’em and cook ’em! Fishing boat rentals are also available at many of the Lake Almanor marinas for hourly, half and full day fishing excursions. There are some trophy size fish being taken from local lakes including the world renown Eagle Lake which sports it’s own unique species of trout, aptly named “Eagle Lake Trout”.
  • Travel South on HWY 89 to Indian Valley for the Quilt Barn Tour as well as seeing many of the old train tracks along the Feather River Area. plus a stop at Indian Falls
Indian Falls
  • After the Waterfall, I enjoyed the remainder of my drive into Quincy where the must stop location was a little candy store in downtown. I love small town candy stores that make their own treats. Carey Candy Store is an excellent stop if going to or through Quincy. Freshly made pastries, great coffee, and homemade chocolates await your visit.

About the author

Charlie Pankey

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