Sitting right outside Redding, California is one of the most underrated National Parks in the United States – Lassen Volcanic National Park. In Lassen, you can experience a top-notch outdoor experience without the crowds you see at Yosemite or Yellowstone. And even with it’s lack of tourists, for our money, you won’t find more outdoor beauty in one wilderness area than in Lassen.
One of the most popular places for recreation in Lassen is at Manzanita Lake, which sits right at the north entrance of the park. In fact, it’s the closest destination in Lassen if you’re driving from Redding. At the lake, you’ll discover an area that’s chock full of wildlife and probably the best way to spend a relaxing day in the park.
Near the Manzanita Lake parking lot, you’ll find a small boat dock that launches kayaks and paddleboards into the lake that doesn’t allow motorized boats. You’ll most likely see fly fishermen on float tubes trying to catch one of the many brown and rainbow trout in the lake. You’ll also see wildlife – A LOT of it. When we recently took the short, flat hike around the lake, we were met with sightings of bluejays, Canadian geese, otters and multiple encounters with deer.
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Manzanita Lake also gives hikers some of the best views of Lassen Peak in the park. Photographers flock to the lake to get the coveted photo of the volcano reflecting on to water, which is best seen during sunrise or sunset.
Watch the video at the top of the article to see what it’s like to take the relaxing hike around Manzanita Lake!