Bumpass Hell Trail

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Start: Bumpass Hell parking lot
Round Trip Distance: 3 miles
Round Trip Time: 2 hours
Terrain: easy 300 foot descent
Elevation: 8000 feet

The Bumpass Hell trail closes during the spring season due to severe winter hazards. Park trail crews strive to open the trail by Fourth of July weekend each summer, however actual opening dates vary with each year’s snow pack.

Bumpass Hell is the largest hydrothermal area in the park, and marks the principal area of upflow of steam and discharge from the Lassen hydrothermal system (see illustration in photo gallery below). The temperature of high-velocity steam jetting from Big Boiler, the largest fumarole in the park, has been measured as high as 322°F (161°C), making it one of the hottest fumaroles in the world. The steam heated waters are typically acidic and are not safe, even for bathing. Please stay on the trail and boardwalks for your safety.

Bumpass Hell is the largest concentration of hydrothermal features in the park. Bumpass Hell was named after an early settler who severly burned a leg after falling into a boiling pool. The hydrothermal features can be reached today from a well-marked 1.5 mile trail that starts from a parking area opposite Lake Helen. A visit to Lassen is not complete without a stop at Bumpass Hell.

The Trail: The trail is quite easy, though the altitude (8,000 feet) can make the trail seem moderately difficult. Hiking boots are recommended as the trail crosses generally rocky land with some tree cover, and without much change in elevation until the 100 foot drop into the thermally active basin. The active area can be seen (and smelt!) from far away – a wide basin filled with various steaming pools and unusual multi-colored soils, stained orange, brown, yellow and green by sulphur and other minerals. Together with the occasional white snow patches, the (usually) deep blue sky and the aquamarine waters, the spectacle is extremely beautiful and colourful.

Directions to Trailhead

The trailhead is located in the Bumpass Hell parking area approximately six miles from the southwest entrance. Due to the popularity of this trail, the parking area is often full on weekends and holidays. You may park your vehicle outside of the white line in the Lake Helen area, in the Lake Helen picnic area, or the Lake Helen turnout. Vehicles obstructing traffi c will be ticketed.


  • Trail Measurement: 3 Miles Round Trip
  • Compass Latitude: 40°27'29.4"N
  • Compass Longitude: 121°30'11.7"W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.4581519
  • Numeric Longitude: -121.5032479
  • Elevation in Meters:
  • Elevation in Feet:

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References and More Info

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