Updated: Jul 8, 2019
Our first National Park was Lassen Volcanic National Park. We had just made our trip official by leaving Oregon’s borders. In doing so, we felt like adventurers, setting off on what we had been planning for over a year. This became even more apparent when taking the roads to Lassen. As we were nervous about driving on freeways, we took back roads the entire way. Many of these roads are up and down mountain ranges, without guard rails. Having driven only a couple hundred miles on these back roads, I was terrified. Every edge felt like we were inches from going over.
One of the worst entrances into a park was the one to Lassen Volcanic National Park. I didn’t think anyone would visit the place with such a windy, narrow road. We went extremely slow, doing our best to avoid looking at the sheer cliffs to the right of us, without any guard rails for support. When we arrived at the park proper, we saw why it was visited. The scenery changed into a large open place with visible volcanoes. The lot is huge, with plenty of parking for RVs and buses. The scenery was spectacular and there were lots of people visiting. The numbers only grew as the day went on, which completely surprised us. Remember, this was our first experience at a National Park outside of Oregon. As time went on in our journey, we found every single National Park and National Monument, regardless of location, to be extremely busy.
The number of volcanoes at the park is impressive, but the most exciting thing is when you drive up to stop two. There you can see bubbling mud, steam vents all over the area, and the various metals being deposited into the sand. It’s quite impressive to see visibly active volcanoes. You can only drive up to stop two with a trailer. After that, it’s a bit narrow and you’ll need to unhook prior or come back with just a vehicle. Seeing how we were newly on the road, we didn’t have plans to stay anywhere and we were quite far from the nearest camping area, so we ended up leaving after a few hours. In the future, we might just camp in the lot, or go up the various roads and camp off the forest roads. We were noobs here and learning from our experiences, we’d do it differently. Spend time doing the long drive through the park. It was still an exciting and marvelous first National Park experience.
Has anyone done the hikes here? They seem like they'd be quite beautiful.