Lassen Volcanic National Park
Top Winter Activities
Sledding, skiing, snowshoeing
Just because the Lassen Volcanic Highway leading through this northern California park is closed in winter doesn’t mean you can’t explore. As soon as the highway closes to vehicles, it opens to cross-country skiers and snowshoers. So grab your gear and head out into miles of wilderness completely unfettered by auto traffic from around mid-November to late March each year.
The Manzanita Lake area in the northwest corner of the park offers several options for winter sports. Beginners can try snowshoeing the 1.6-mile Manzanita Lake Snowshoe Loop and skiing the 1.5-mile Manzanita Campground Loop, while more experienced skiers can head up Manzanita Creek or Nobles Emigrant Trail, and snowshoers can try Chaos Crags Trail. Rocky terrain and elevation gain earned these trails their more advanced status, so be prepared and don’t overdo it.
Looking for less strenuous activity? Bring a sled and simply spend some time playing in the snow, or learn how to snowshoe from a park ranger during a guided walk. Check the park’s event calendar from January to March to find such ranger-led jaunts where snowshoes and expert advice on snowshoeing, winter survival, and ecology are provided free of charge.
Access Manzanita Lake from the northwest park entrance, 50 miles east of Redding, California, and 180 miles west of Reno, Nevada. Reach the southwest entrance, 45 miles east of Red Bluff, California, or 160 miles west of Reno. Remember that once you reach either entrance in winter, the main road will be closed but the park remains open.