U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Lassen National Forest


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Forest Information

The Lassen National Forest is located in northern California, east of Redding, CA and is comprised of 1,059,596 acres. There are 36 developed campgrounds of which 24 meet the selection criteria.

There is more to the Lassen National Forest than two lakes and a volcano. Okay, the volcano is actually in the Lassen Volcanic National Park but the forces that produced Lassen Peak, the National Park's center-piece, also shaped and continue to influence Lassen National Forest. Its history of volcanic activity has given the Forest interesting geology to explore, an assortment of unique recreational opportunities, and a beauty rarely seen elsewhere.

No where in the Lassen National Forests are fierce volcanic forces more apparent than around campgrounds near Old Station, California. In the shadow of Lassen Peak, lava tubes, fault lines, dormant volcanoes, and massive lava flows reveal a violent and fascinating volcanic past. Explore, on your own or with a volunteer, the 20,000 year old lava tube next to Cave campground, or stand on Hat Creek fault, 1,000 feet above the valley floor, at the Rim Overlook. One can also camp beside a bright blue lake that formed in a collapsed volcano at Crater Lake campground or walk the Spattercone trail near Hat Creek campground and see where rivers of red-hot lava flowed nearby covering some 16 miles of the valley floor. And then there is the tranquil Bridge campground, a nice base camp for visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park. Each of these campgrounds is also convenient to McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park (fee required), the Radio Astronomy Observatory (they listen to the stars and do other things there), and, of course, the Hat Creek Visitor Center (meet some of the local fish face-to-face).

Although the Forest's geology around Old Station is interesting, fishing is the draw for many visitors. Hat Creek winds pass the campgrounds and contains some fierce fighting, great leaping Rainbow trout and the big and tough Brown trout. These fish prefer the Creek's clear flowing water while Brook trout favor the slower deep sections. However, for a unique and special angling experience, many anglers head south to Eagle Lake, the second largest natural lake in California, and the home of the Eagle Lake trout.

Eagle Lake trout are found only in the high alkaline waters of Eagle Lake and are considered a "trophy trout," averaging three to five pounds each. Best caught during the cooler times of day, Eagle Lake has four campgrounds surrounding the lake where anglers can relax the rest of the day away. Furthest from the lakeshore but closest to a boat ramp is Eagle campground. Christie campground has some camp sites near the water and more sun. Aspen is a walk-in tent campground with sites tucked in among the pine and Eagle Lake swim beach a short walk away. And, Merrill campground offers campsites at the Lake's edge and some sites further away with or without hook-ups and a RV dump station. Linking all these campgrounds to the Eagle Lake marina is the rolling, paved Eagle Lake Recreation trail - perfect for bicyclist and hikers alike.

While anglers are attracted to Eagle Lake, folks looking for a variety of water sports head for Lake Almanor, the largest man-made lake in California. Here, visitors find water skiing, boating, swimming, and a long list of other water related activities. The only Forest Service campground on the Lake is Almanor, near several lakeside resorts. However, it is the other campgrounds in this area that illustrate why Lassen National Forest is more than just a couple of lakes and a volcano.

There are campgrounds that feature wilderness solitude and quiet such as Soldier Meadows, Cherry Hill, and Hole-in-the-Ground campgrounds. Battle Creek and Gurnsey campgrounds are good base camps for visiting nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park while enjoying the beauty of the forest. Rustic High Bridge campground is perfect for tent campers looking for solitude and an occasional osprey or bald eagle sighting. And, Elam and Potato Patch campgrounds, adjacent to Deer Creek, attract anglers of all ages.

Roxie Peconom and Domingo Springs campgrounds may be two of the least known and most attractive camping areas in the Lassen National Forest. Roxie Peconom campground is a tent-only campground in a dense stand of Douglas firs. Home of the Mountain Maidu's Spring Rite "Bear Dance," the campground is crowded one week in June and nearly empty the rest of the year. The facilities provided for the Mountain Maidu's gathering make this campground ideal for large groups but its quiet, sheltered atmosphere provide individual campers a nice experience. For simple beauty and tranquility, a better place then Domingo Springs campground would be hard to find. The water in Domingo Spring starts in Lassen Volcanic National Park with the snow melt and emerges just outside the campground's boundary. Magnificent grand old Douglas firs shade the spring and this quiet campground. Not far from a Pacific Crest Trail trailhead and Lassen Volcanic National Park's "backdoor" in Warner Valley, Domingo Springs campground may contain all the best of Lassen National Forest.

Lassen National Forest is more than huge lakes and an interesting National Park. It is tranquil moments of quiet solitude surrounded by the magnificent beauty of a healthy forest. It is challenges met and overcome, such as landing a fierce fighting trout, adding to your life-time bird list, or the completion of another stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail. And there is the excitement of making your very own discovery of some hidden Lassen National Forest treasure. It is all waiting for you.

SUPERVISOR OFFICE 2550 Riverside Drive Susanville, California 96130 530-257-2151 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Almanor P.O.B. 767 900 E. Hwy 36 Chester, California 96020 530-258-2141 Eagle Lake 477-050 Eagle Lake Road Susanville, California 96130 530-257-4188 Hat Creek P.O.B. 220 43225 E. Hwy. 299 Fall River Mills, California 96028 530-336-5521

Fred and Suzi Dow