This Fascinating Northern California Lake Sits at 125 Degrees Year-Round

Boiling Springs Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Photo: National Park Service

The outdoor destinations in Lassen Volcanic National Park beautifully illustrate the fascinating hydrothermal activity that makes the park so special. Steam vents and boiling mudpots are prominent throughout the area, giving visitors an up-close look at the park’s volcanic activity at areas like Sulphur Works, Bumpass Hell and Devils Kitchen.

Maybe the the most fascinating hydrothermal feature in Lassen is Boiling Springs Lake, which has steaming vents at the bottom causing it to sit around 125 degrees year round. Let’s just say, it’s not a place you’ll want to go swimming.

An overlook of the steaming green waters of Boiling Springs Lake surrounded by red soil with Lassen Peak in the distance and trees and stumps in the foreground. Photo: National Park Service

Mudpots and steam vents line parts of the shore and drainage creeks in this oddly colored, sometimes steaming lake located on the south side of the National Park. And with most people opting for the popular areas of Lassen like Manzanita Lake, Bumpass Hell, Kings Creek and Lassen Peak, the hike to Boiling Springs Lake may be one of the more remote in the park.

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Volcanic colors from Lassen National Park in June.

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The Boiling Springs Lake Trail can be found by the parking area west of Warner Valley Campground near the south entrance of the park. The easy hike is about 3 miles round trip where you’ll pass the Drakesbad Guest Ranch and even hike on parts of the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s the perfect hike for anyone looking for an easy, educational stroll in the NorCal wilderness.

The remarkable hydrothermal features in Lassen Volcanic National Park include roaring fumaroles (steam and volcanic-gas vents), thumping mud pots, boiling pools, and steaming ground. Water from rain and snow that falls on the highlands of the park feed the hydrothermal system. Once deep underground, the water is heated by a body of hot or molten rock beneath Lassen Peak. Rising hot water boils to form boiling pools and mud pots. Super-heated steam reaches the surface through fractures in the earth to form fumaroles such as those found at Bumpass Hell and Sulphur Works. These features are related to active volcanism and are indications of the ongoing potential for further eruptions from the Lassen “volcanic center.”

Learn more about the hydrothermal areas of Lassen Volcanic National Park

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