Devastated Area Interpretive Trail

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Mount Lassen Volcanic Area, California

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Devastated Area Interpretive Trail


  • The parking area, with Lassen Peak (10,463') and Crescent Crater (8,645') dominating west-facing views.- Devastated Area Interpretive Trail
  • An overview of the trail.- Devastated Area Interpretive Trail
  • Lassen Peak (10,463 ft) viewed from the trail.- Devastated Area Interpretive Trail
  • Lassen Peak (10,463 ft) towering above the Devastated Area, with the "hot rock" B.F. Loomis photographed in the foreground. All of the forest here has grown since the 1915 eruption.- Devastated Area Interpretive Trail
  • A dacite rock coated with dark-colored spots called "quenched blobs," which are pieces of volcanic basalt. The basalt cooled quickly against the cooler dacite and has since remained encased inside it.- Devastated Area Interpretive Trail
  • Broken volcanic rocks such as this one cooled rapidly in an avalanche that occurred after the 1915 eruption. The snow and cold air cooled the rock so quickly it split from the outside in into separate pieces that could theoretically fit back together.- Devastated Area Interpretive Trail
  • - Devastated Area Interpretive Trail
Overview + Weather
Some wildlife viewing. Views of Lassen Peak. ADA accessible.
Very short trail
Mount Lassen Volcanic Area, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
20.00 ft (6.10 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
0.50 mi (0.80 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,470.00 ft (1,972.06 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


The Devastated Area of Lassen Volcanic National Park is the result of the 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak, which towers above this interpretive trail about 3 miles from the summit of the peak. The trail might surprise some visitors because it meanders around a forest with intermittent views of the peak rather than through mounds of volcanic rock and dead foliage. The area doesn't exactly appear "devastated" today. Nevertheless, the numerous interpretive stations on this loop trail provide a trove of information about the powerful eruption that reshaped this area in addition to identifying some of the geologically notable boulders.

One particular volcanic "hot rock" famously photographed by B.F. Loomis just a few days after the eruption is included on this trail. After the eruption the rock stood alone on barren ground, but it is now completely surrounded by forest, a testament to how the natural ecosystem has recovered from a massive volcanic eruption. Other types of volcanic rocks in the area are also found on the trail along with information about each one.

The trail itself is quite short and can be hiked around in only a few minutes by able hikers. Those who may be mobility and/or sight impaired will enjoy the numerous reader boards that are equipped with high-quality speakers that clearly broadcast what each board says at the push of a button. The trail itself is not paved, but it is a very well maintained dirt and rock surface that is essentially the next best solution, and it will not pose any issues to those in wheelchairs who wish to learn the volcanic history and catch some impressive views of Lassen Peak along the way.

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(3 within a 30 mile radius)

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(24 within a 30 mile radius)

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