Lassen Volcanic Park
Boiling springs and bubbling mud pots, whiffy sulphur vents, pretty waterfalls, sparkling lakes and miles of lush green forest can all be enjoyed in this wild north-eastern corner of California. Lassen Peak last blew in May 1914, with continued outbursts for a further three years. These days, you will find families hiking the many trails, including the Bumpass Hell Trail and Devils Kitchen Trail which are both situated within the largest hydrothermal areas of the park. For astronomy fans Lassen is a perfect destination, as the near complete lack of light pollution allows the sky to teem with stars at night. In summer, the rangers lead astronomy programs and during August’s ‘Dark Sky Festival’, professional astronomers guide fascinating constellation tours. Getting here is easy too, as Lassen Park is less than an hours’ drive east from Redding, a small town which makes for a great base to explore the area.
Mount Shasta is approximately an hours’ drive north of Redding. A soaring single peak in the Shasta Cascade and at a dizzying height of 14,179 feet, it dominates the landscape of northern California. The last eruption was in 1786 and is famous with mountaineers and hardened climbers, although you don’t need a head for heights to enjoy this amazing spectacle of nature. There are plenty of easily walkable paths that loop through flower-filled meadows, passing beautiful waterfalls and cool forests for breath taking views of this magnificent volcano.