The Weston's Western Wanderings travel blog

Our campsite at Mt Lassen KOA

"Premium" campsite since we have the paved patio


The moutain is there somewhere...




Lunch at King's Creek

Lunch and a little snow time

King's Creek


Heidi LOVING the snow!






Lake Helen




Boiling mud pots!


Smells like rotten eggs!

Subway Cave






Flash used

Looks like giant ice!



Lunch at Hat Creek


McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park


The Falls!




Lake Britton

The Hike!


Parkway Sculptures











The Westons!

Last month marked the 100 year anniversary of Lassen mountain's last eruption. In Mid-May of 1915 Lassen's peak erupted in a lava dome. On May 19th, 1915 a huge explosion caused an avalanche and volcanic mud-flow on the northeast flank of Lassen Peak. Three days later the eruption sequence climaxed with a vertically directed explosion which cause a pyroclastic flood of ash and mud. Over the next two years, intermittent steam explosions slowly released the pressure and wound down the volcanic activity. Remarkably, Mount St. Helen's eruption in 1980, was at least 20 times greater than Lassen's!

Lassen is spectacular this time of year. The park doesn't completely open until the first weekend of June – leaving most of the trails, campgrounds and picnic areas still closed for the season...and a wonderful lack of crowds. Snow was abundant in the higher elevations and Lake Helen was still partially frozen and strikingly picturesque. We drove the 30 mile Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway, stopping for a picnic lunch at King's Creek Meadow and explored the stinking, boiling mud-pots at the Sulfur Works. Put Lassen Volcanic NP on your Bucket is a treasure worth visiting!

About 15 miles from the north entrance to Lassen (off Highway 89) is Subway Cave. Subway Cave was formed about 20,000 years ago when a river of lava cooled and hardened. The top crust cooled and hardened first while the interior lava drained away leaving tube-like caves. Subway Cave is the largest (1,300 feet) accessible tube in the flow. It was exciting to walk through, pitch dark and a cool 46 degrees year round. Bring a reliable flashlight and be aware that the ground is very rough and uneven. I took a few pictures using my flash to see the inside of the cave. Amazing! We loved it!

Drive about 40 miles down Highway 89 from Lassen NP and you will reach McArthur – Burney Falls Memorial State Park. Established in 1926, the land was donated to the State of CA by the McArthur Family - who were working to save the falls that were being threatened through development and river damming by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). The falls are stunning and we could see why the effort was made to save them! We picnicked at Lake Britton (also part of the park) and hiked to the Pioneer Cemetery, where many of the early settlers are buried. Along with the falls, there is a large campground (no hookups) and the lake is open to boating and swimming.

On our way back from the State Park we detoured to visit Packway Sculptures. Built by two brothers who own a materials yard - these giant, whimsical sculptures will bring a smile to your face. The roadside sculptures are free to tour and a quick stop, if you are in the area.

We've been roughing it this past week. Cell signal is very weak (if at all) around Lassen and it greatly curbed our Internet use and evening Amazon video streaming. Some people say, “So what, you're camping!” Seriously, we are NOT camping. As my brother, Russ said.... “It is a lifestyle!” Yes, we have......a very good life!

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