Hike to Bumpass Hell
Lake Tahoe › Bumpass Hell Parking Area
Added by Matthew Chang
Bumpass Hell is a place in Lassen Volcanic National Park where steam and water heated by magma miles below the surface rises out of the colorful volcanic landscape.
Due to hazardous snow and ice, Bumpass Hell Trail closes during the spring and may not open until July.
From the Bumpass Hell Parking Area, the trail traverses the rocky slopes of Bumpass Mountain. The trail slowly ascends 200 feet with views of the valley to the west and Lassen Peak to the north. At 0.9 miles, you reach an overlook with a view of Bumpass Hell. Then, for 0.4 miles, the trail descends 200 feet from the overlook to Bumpass Hell.
As you near Bumpass Hell, a boardwalk replaces the dirt trail. Also, you will probably notice a rotten-egg smell that fills the air. The smell is hydrogen sulfide gas being released from the Earth.
The boardwalk winds through the hydrothermal area, giving you an opportunity to experience the hydrothermal features and colorful landscape.
Miles below Bumpass Hell is a magma chamber. The magma superheats groundwater which rises to the Earth's surface and escapes through hydrothermal features as steam and sulfate water. Sulfates left behind by the sulfate-rich water give the ground at Bumpass Hell its vibrant orange and yellow colors.
Be sure to stay on the boardwalk at Bumpass Hell. Boling water could be at or just below the surface. Many visitors have suffered severely when they have fallen through the thin brittle crust covering dangerous boiling water. Even the steam heated waters are typically acidic and not safe.
- Sturdy shoes
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
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Climate Eye Candy!
This trail is another rare treat in California. We would have a few geysers here...but the remarkable thing was while watching the bubbling water, you look up and see snow! All in the middle of summer! Bring a bandana for the smell of eggs. Pretty easy trail just remember the slight incline on the way back.
Don't miss this hike if you are in the area!
Did this hike late last year with my son's school science class. A fairly easy hike for most until you get to the ascent/descent down to Bumpass Hell but plenty of room and a few benches along the trail to step to the side and catch your breath if needed or just take in the view. Regardless of your skill level, there is beautiful scenery and views that can be taken in most of the hike. There are lots of great hikes in this area and in Lassen NP but this one is must do just for the amazing change in geography once you are down at Bumpass Hell.
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