Following 17-Month Closure, Lassen’s Bumpass Hell Trailhead Reopens to the Public

Bumpass Hell, Lassen Volcanic National Park. Flickr/
J. Philipp Krone

On Friday, September 13th, Lassen Volcanic National Park officials brought joy to the local park enthusiasts by announcing the official reopening of the park’s famed Bumpass Hell Trailhead. The announcement follows a 17-month closure for restoration, which included significant delays due to massive snowfall in the park.

In April of 2018, Lassen Volcanic National Park officials closed the trailhead for its famed hydrothermal area known as Bumpass Hell for restoration, with hopes of finishing the project by the end of 2018. With the mounds of snow that piled up on the park beginning early this winter, officials were unable to finish the restoration, closing the trailhead for the early months of the summer season.

Now, the famed trail is once again open to the public.

“The re-opening follows completion of improvements on the 1.5-mile trail between Bumpass Hell parking area and Bumpass Hell basin,” the park said in a statement. “The resulting trail is wider, smoother, and better designed to withstand erosion. Hikers will see continuing rehabilitation efforts along the trail and within the basin. This includes restoration of an alternative 0.2-mile basin access trail and overlook enhancement. The second basin trail will remain closed until construction is complete and access to overlooks may be limited.”

Bumpass Hell is plopping mudpots, bubbling pools, and roaring steam vents that can be dangerous without the walkways to navigate hydrothermal features. The area is named after Kendall Vanhook Bumpass, who famously lost his leg in 1864 when he fell into one of the pits.

The popular Bumpass Hell Trail is located across from Lake Helen off the Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway. This short trail offers outstanding opportunities to experience hydrothermal features. In 2015, a portion of the boardwalk leading to the Turquoise Pool was removed because the boardwalk was being undermined by the Pyrite Pool. Other parts of the trail have not been comprehensively rehabilitated since the 1970s.

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