Excellent Adventures: Lassen Park with Jack Rosenthal
Excellent Adventures can seem synonymous with elaborately planned vacations, full of fun activities, exploring and discovering new cultures, and eating the best food. But it's all relative. For some, an Excellent Adventure can be disconnecting from the world for a weekend and just enjoying nature. And that's exactly what our friend Jack Rosenthal did in Lassen Park, California. For a night, he and his friends camped in the famous volcanic national park to show that even a simple adventure is an excellent one.
Officially named Lassen Volcanic National Park, it is located in northeastern California near Sacramento Valley and is famous for Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world. The surrounding area of the Peak still has active boiling mud pots, fumaroles, and hot springs. The western part of the park has mountains formed by lava flows and is cut by canyons, lakes, and clear streams, making it sounds like the perfect natural eutopia.
For all his tips and suggestions, read Jack's interview below!
Bather: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jack: I started messing around taking photos about four years ago. With several friends doing it as well, it encouraged us to get outdoors and find nearby spots for taking photos. Eventually, we started to really search for amazing places that weren’t photographed all that often. This has led to my passion for the outdoors and taking photos of what inspires me.
B: Where did you go?
J: We went up to Lassen Park, a series of volcanic mountains in northeastern California where the Sierra, and Cascade mountains meet. Living in Redding, just 45 minutes away, Lassen has become commonplace for me when it comes to the outdoors.
B: How easy or hard is it to get to?
J: Luckily, the park is easily accessible thanks to the well-maintained highway through it. Despite this, many of the hikes and backpacking trails still feel fairly secluded.
B: What are some of Lassen Park’s standout features?
J: Lassen offers hundreds of lakes, as well as several summit trails with amazing views of the surrounding peaks. A few of my favorite hikes would probably be Lassen Peak, Brokeoff Mountain, Paradise Meadows, and of course Terrace lake.
B: What’s the hike like? Is it for everyone?
J: In the park, we hiked to Terrace Lake, a relatively small alpine lake at the base of Lassen peak with great camping spots. It's a short and easy downhill hike that most people could easily get to.
B: Are there any specific attractions you can recommend (trails, caves, etc)?
J: My favorite lake in the Park is Lake Helen, because of its positioning along the road right below Lassen peak, and because of its saturated blue color due to being fed by the melting glaciers on the peak. A few of my favorite hikes would probably be Lassen Peak, Brokeoff Mountain, Paradise Meadows, and of course Terrace lake, all beautiful trails with amazing views as the payoff.
B: When’s the best time to go? When is the weather the best?
J: During the summer, the park stays at just the right temperature for swimming and doesn't get too hot for the hikes. When the days are longest, it allows for multiple hikes in one day, making for great adventures.
B: How’s the camping in Lassen Park?
J: Camping is great in Lassen because of the access to almost all of the trails for backpacking, and the variety of established campsites near the major trailheads.
B: Do you have any tips for people wanting to hike or camp there?
J: For people visiting the park for the first time, I would definitely recommend driving all the way through the Park highway, as it offers all kinds of views of the park and lets you get a feel for the park. Also, the Lassen Peak trail is super easy, yet it takes you up to the summit at 10,457 feet giving views of the r
B: Where can people take the best Instagram photo?
J: My single favorite photo opportunity in the park is, again, Lake Helen because of how perfectly Lassen peak is framed above the lake, giving a feel for what Lassen is.
B: Overall, how was your experience/trip?
J: I would say that this was one of my favorite trips up to Lassen yet, not because of how perfect weather was, but because of how we braved the rain and snow and went the cold route of backpacking anyway. somewhere throughout the night, the rain stopped and it cleared up for a perfect sunrise with Lassen peak showing alpenglow right above our campsite. After camping and breakfast, we got to send some bouldering routes around Lake Helen, a first for me. All in all, it was a super fun and badass trip.
Want to see more from Jack?
Follow him on Instagram @jackerosenthal and visit his website at jackerosenthal.com.