A dormant plug dome, Lassen Peak is the main focus of Lassen Volcanic National Park, but this 165-square-mile tract of dense forests and alpine meadows also abounds with memorable opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife photography. The famed peak began erupting in May 1914, sending pumice, rock, and snow thundering down the mountain, and gas and hot ash billowing into the atmosphere. Lassen's most spectacular outburst was in 1915, when it blew a cloud of ash almost 6 miles high. The resulting mudflow destroyed vegetation for miles; the evidence is still visible today, especially in Devastated Area. The volcano finally came to rest in 1921.
- Hike a volcano The 2½-mile trek up Lassen Peak rewards you with a spectacular view of far northern California.
- Spot a rare bloom The Lassen Smelowskia, a small white-to-pinkish flower, grows only in Lassen Volcanic National Park, mainly on Lassen Peak.
- View volcano varieties All four types of volcanoes found in the world—shield, plug dome, cinder cone, and composite—are represented here.
- Listen to the Earth The park's thumping mud pots and venting fumaroles roil, gurgle, and belch a raucous symphony from beneath the Earth's crust.
- Escape the crowds Lassen, in sparsely populated far northern California, is one of the lesser-known national parks.