Is There Good Camping at Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Situated at the Southern end of the Cascade Mountain Range in Northern California is the picturesque and often underrated Lassen Volcanic National Park. The park is also home to a vast collection of spectacular campsites. 

There are a total of seven excellent campsites inside Lassen Volcanic National Park. A few of these campsites can also accommodate RVs and trailers. 

This spectacular national park is one of the nation’s lesser visited national parks but has no shortage of natural wonders. The land here is volcanically active full of steaming fumaroles, boiling pools and mud pots, and an active volcano known as Lassen Peak. 

Additionally, plenty of life and thriving ecosystems exist here, such as mixed conifer forests, red fir forests, subalpine regions, wildflower meadows, and pristine mountain lakes and streams. 

In addition to discussing several of the campsites inside Lassen Volcanic, we’ll also discuss answers to the following questions:

  • Are camping reservations required at Lassen Volcanic National Park?
  • What is the best campground at Lassen Volcanic National Park?
  • How many days should I stay in Lassen Volcanic National Park?
  • What is the best time of year to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park?
Bumpass Hell Trail Lassen Volcanic National Park
Visitors hike along the boardwalk through the Bumpass Hell Trail. This hydrothermal area is full of active boiling springs, mud pots, fumaroles, and stunning mountain views.

Camping at Lassen Volcanic National Park

As previously mentioned, there is no shortage of superb camping opportunities at Lassen Volcanic NP. Seven outstanding campsites are inside the park’s boundaries. Among these campgrounds are:

  • Butte Lake Campground
  • Juniper Lake Campground
  • Manzanita Lake Campground
  • Summit Lake Campground
  • Warner Valley Campground
  • Southwest Campground
  • Lost Creek Group Campground

Butte Lake Campground – This campground is located in the Northeast corner of the park. It’s a 45-minute drive from the Northwest Entrance and Manzanita Lake Area and is reached through the 6-mile-long Butte Lake Road south of highway 44. 

This campground is remote and doesn’t offer many amenities. But what it lacks in amenities, it makes up for in scenery. There are amazing hikes near the Cinder Cone volcano and Bathtub Lake. The beautiful blue waters of Butte Lake are excellent for swimming, kayaking, fishing, and paddle boarding. 

Juniper Lake Campground – This campground is located on the east shore of Juniper Lake and is accessed by a 13-mile paved/gravel road. Some of the campsites here are situated right alongside the lake and offer magnificent views of Lassen Peak. The lake is also great for swimming, kayaking, fishing, and paddleboarding. 

Manzanita Lake Campground – This is the largest campground in the park and is situated one mile east of the Manzanita Lake Entrance. Manzanita Lake is a very popular campground in the park and is perfect for large families. It’s also an excellent spot for RVs and trailers. 

There are rustic camping cabins and group campsites here that you can stay at by reservation only. You’ll also find plenty of swimming, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and hiking opportunities here. What’s more, there are showers, flush toilets, and a laundromat in this campground. 

Summit Lake Campground – This campground is situated 12 miles south of Manzanita Lake and 17.5 miles north of the Southwest Entrance. The campground is comprised of a north section and a south section. Both sections provide access to Summit Lake and are connected through a short trail along the lake’s eastern shore. 

It’s better to swim on the lake’s northern shore as the southern is more grassy. South Summit Lake Campground can’t accommodate RVs or trailers. 

Warner Valley Campground – This campground is situated one mile north of Warner Valley Ranger Station via a gravel road. There are a number of activities and natural wonders nearby this campsite, including Terminal Geyser, Boiling Springs Lake, and Devil’s Kitchen. The Drakesbad Guest Ranch is just a few minutes away from the campground. It offers horseback riding, thermal pool swimming, and some dining opportunities. 

Southwest Campground – This campground is located on the eastern side of the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center parking area. Many trails near the campground lead to sights such as Ridge Lakes, Sulphur Works, and Brokeoff Mountain. 

Lost Creek Campground – This campground consists of only group campsites. It is located five miles south of Manzanita Lake on the park highway. You’ll find easy access here to such areas as Summit Lake, Manzanita Lake, and Devastated.

Lassen Volcanic National Park Camping
Manzanita Lake Campground. NPS photo

Lassen National Park camping reservations: are they required?

The majority of the campsites inside Lassen Volcanic National Park require reservations between the months of June through September. 

With the exception of the Juniper Lake Group Campground, the Juniper Lake, Warner Valley, and Southwest Walk-in Campgrounds do not accept reservations.

Once the water systems are shut off for the winter snow season, the campsites are normally obtainable on a first-come, first-served basis. When this happens, the campgrounds are open to “dry” camping until their closure date. 

The park highly recommends making reservations for campsites if and when possible. Reservations for all reservable campsites in the park can be made at Recreation.gov

What is the best campground in Lassen National Park?

Suppose you’re looking for the perfect mix of comfort plus scenery. In that case, Manzanita Lake is the best campground in Lassen National Park. This campground is full of convenient amenities like showers, flush toilets, and a laundromat. 

This campground is ideal for RVs and trailers and is perfect for large families. On top of that, the campground is located right next to beautiful Manzanita Lake, which is ideal for swimming, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and hiking. The campsite also provides stunning views of the majestic Mount Lassen. 

Lassen Volcanic National Park Manzanita Lake
Stunning shot of a sunset at Manzanita Lake with Mount Lassen in the background.

How many days should I stay in Lassen Volcanic National Park?

To see all Lassen Volcanic National Park has to offer, you should plan on spending at least 2-3 days in the park. This will allow you time to see the park’s main attractions, such as Lassen Peak, Bumpass Hell, Summit Lake, Lake Helen, Kings Creek Falls, the Lassen Park Highway, Manzanita Lake, and the Devil’s Kitchen Trail. 

What is the best time of year to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park?

The best time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park would be during the summer, particularly in July and August. The weather is more favorable during this time, with warm sunny days and cool nights. 

During the Fall, although the park is still open, accessibility into and around Lassen begins to decline. The weather gets snowier, and the park begins to make preparations for winter. Spring also has limited accessibility as there is still snow pack left over from winter. The snowy season at Lassen Volcanic National park lasts from November through May. 

The park is open during the winter. However, accessibility through the park is minimal, as many major roads throughout the park are closed for the season. 

Final Thoughts

Lassen Volcanic National Park is an extraordinary place full of incredible camping opportunities. 

The park has seven campgrounds: Butte Lake Campground, Juniper Lake Campground, Manzanita Lake Campground, Summit Lake Campground, Warner Valley Campground, Southwest Campground, and Lost Creek Group Campground. 

Throughout the summer season, most of the campsites require reservations. However, the Juniper Lake, Warner Valley, and Southwest Walk-in Campgrounds do not require reservations. 

The Manzanita Lake Campground takes the cake when it comes to the best campground in the park. It’s packed with comforting amenities, plus easy access to some spectacular scenery and outdoor activities right alongside Manzanita Lake. 

To truly appreciate all the park offers, plan on staying here for at least 2-3 days. 

The ideal time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park is during the summer months. More specifically, July and August are the best months to visit. 

Lassen Volcanic National Park truly has no shortage of superb campgrounds. So don’t delay! Plan your next camping trip to this underrated National Park today!

Want a complete list and recap of all our US National Parks as well as free downloadable maps and other great resources? Check out our US National Parks List and Map guide!

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About Me

My husband and I have three precious daughters and live in the Kansas City, KS area. One of our favorite things to do is travel across the country visiting our extraordinary US National Parks!

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Happy Travels! Sandy

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