Lassen: Bumpass Hell

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Visited: September 3, 2016

Description: Largest hydrothermal area in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Here you’ll find boiling pools and bubbling mud pots and delicious smells all around. 😛

Length: 2.9 miles

Elevation: 510 feet

Duration: 1-2 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Terrain: Rocky, dirt

Pets: No dogs allowed

Parking: Lot

Best time to go: Summertime trail (Open from mid July – mid September; varies depending on snow)

Bring: Camera, water

Bumpass Hell… its got a hell of a name. Even before we arrived in Lassen National Park, we already had our assumptions about how this name came to fruition.

Alice:  Bump-Ass Hell: Bumpy ass roads through hell to get there…

Linda: Bum-Pass Hell: Area where local bums pass through?

So it turns out we were both wrong (a very rare occasion btw 💅🏼). Bumpass Hell got its name from Kendall Vanhook Bumpass, an explorer and mountaineer, who discovered the hydrothermal areas in 1864. Bumpass and his partner, Major Pierson, had plans to mine the minerals and develop the area into a tourist attraction. Those dreams soon dissipated when Bumpass stepped into a boiling mud pot at nearly 240°F and lost his leg. Despite Bumpass’ accident, visitors can still get a safe up-close interaction with over 16 acres of boiling pools, bubbling mud pots and roaring fumaroles.

We drove through the night and got to Lassen bright and early. We intentionally made Bumpass Hell our first stop due to its popularity. Luckily for us we arrived early enough and didn’t encounter a single soul on the trail.

From the parking lot, follow the signs to find the trail. It was very easy to follow and is well-maintained.

You can catch stunning views of the surrounding scenery as you hike on the edge of the mountainside.

The trail takes you downhill for the last 0.5 mile of the hike. You’ll be able to catch amazing views of steam and sulfur gases pouring out of the geysers below. It is also accompanied with the pungent smell of sulfur. The smell gets stronger the closer you get to the site. We didn’t mind the smell; it actually reminded us of chicken stock… 🐔😅

The sun was beginning to rise higher into the sky as we reached the base of Bumpass Hell. With the steam rising from the sulfur vents, it resembled an unworldly scene that most hikers have not experienced.


The extraterrestrial multi-hued terrain looks insane in this setting! Lost in the abyss of winding steam vents, we found ourselves infatuated with every bubbling mudpot and boiling pool we encountered.  We spent our time running up and down the boardwalks taking it all in. Even managed to do a few burpees. 😏

We love starting our trips with a bang to give us that energy and motivation to continue through the adventure. Bumpass was no exception 😍🙌🏼 Off to our next destination in Lassen National Park!

@HikeSnobs Tips:

  • Bumpass Hell is technically open year round. During non summer season, the trail we took is closed but there is another way around. It is 3X as long, through snow and can be very dangerous. Call the visitor center for more details (530) 595-4480
  • Be careful around hydrothermal area
  • Stay on trail and walkways

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Leave us a message below!

4 thoughts on “Lassen: Bumpass Hell

  1. Pingback: Subway Lava Cave

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