About the Site
Lassen Volcanic National Park (6)  


Park History

Lassen Peak

Lassen Peak Summit

Chaos Crags

Manzanita Lake



Park Mountains

Sulphur Works

Volcanic Remnants

Southwest Area

Park Road


Plants & Animals



Reflection Lake Lying at an elevation of 5890 feet, Reflection Lake is located north of Lassen Peak near Manzanita Lake. It is named for its smooth waters which provide excellent reflections of Lassen Peak and the surrounding area. It has been known through history as Little Manzanita Lake, Mud Lake, and Stockton Lake. As with other land in the area it was once owned by Benjamin Loomis. At one time visitors used to ice skate on the lake when conditions allowed.

Hat Lake One of the most beautiful lakes in the park is Hat Lake. Like some other lakes in the park, Hat Lake is the result of vulcanism. The mudflow which followed the May 19, 1915 eruption created a dam of Hat Creek which backed up and formed the lake.

Formed by the effects of the eruption and mudflow, Hat Lake has been slowly filling with sediment flowing into it from Hat Creek. The picture below shows the eastern shore of the lake. It is now nearly filled with these sediments.

Summit Lake This lake, located at 6,675 feet, is among the most popular tourist destinations in the park. It is easily accessible from the main park highway. Once called "Dutch Lake", its current name is derived from its location on a convex plateau due east of Lassen Peak.

Some wetlands can be found on the perimeter of Summit Lake.

Summit Lake is visited by a large number of migratory waterfowl.

The marshy area known as Glass Lake can be found along the trail to Summit Lake.

Lake Helen One of the most beautiful lakes in the park is located at the foot of Lassen Peak on its south flank. This is Helen Lake, pictured below. This is a very deep lake, reaching a depth of 110 feet. The peculiar blue color of the lake is the result of the mineral content of the water. The lake has no surface outlet, with water escaping from the lake by seeping through the porous ground and emerging in springs at a lower elevation.

The picture below, taken at the beginning of August, shows the persistence of snow on and around Lake Helen, which is located at an elevation of 8162 feet. The basin occupied by the lake accumulates a particularly large amount of snow in the winter. The lake is typically covered by a snowpack of 10 to 20 feet, with snowdrifts of 30 feet at times. The waters of the lake are quite cold as well, with temperatures of 35 to 40 degrees year around at the bottom.

The summit of Lassen Peak provides a spectacular view of Lake Helen. The basins of Lake Helen and nearby Emerald Lake are glacial cirques, carved in dacite rock by the action of the enormous glaciers which worked on the area. The lake itself lies on the rim of the ancient Mt. Tehama. It was named for Helen T. Brodt, who on August 28, 1864 became the first white woman to ascend to the summit of Lassen Peak. Brodt's party, which included her husband Aurelius W. Brodt and was led by Major Pierson B. Reading, who named the lake, was the third party known to have reached the summit of the mountain. Helen may well have look down at the lake which would later bear her name from this very position.

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  • All photographs ©Patrick Holleran, Shannon Digital Imaging, 1994-2012

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