Bumpass Hell

Bumpass Hell, Lassen Volcanic National Park: Address, Phone Number, Bumpass Hell Reviews: 4.5/5

Bumpass Hell
Geologic Formations • Hot Springs & Geysers
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A 1.3-mile walk from the main road will bring you to this geothermal area with boiling mud and hissing blowholes.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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312 reviews
Very good

Los Angeles, CA147 contributions
Sep 2020
The trail to Bumpass Hell is a little lengthy, but is fairly easy for almost all skill levels.

The entirety of the trail is beautifully scenic, with panoramic mountain views, including a perfect view of Mt Lassen across a lake at one point.

Bumpass Hell is an interesting place with bubbling mud pots and plenty of educational material about the geothermal action going on in the area... It is a little stinky though.

The story behind how Bumpass Hell got its name is interesting too...

A cowboy named Kendall Van Hook Bumpass went stumbled on the area while looking for lost cattle.

I think if my name was “Bumpass,” I’d consider changing my name... But maybe that wasn’t such a funny name back in the 1800s.

Anyway, the “stumbled” part is quite literally—poor guy fell in one of the steaming mud pots and ended up losing his leg. That’s where the “Hell” part of the name comes from.

Anyway, it’s a fun and interesting place now! One of the best parts of Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Written October 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jeremiah Z
Roseville, MN2,307 contributions
Jul 2020
Bumpass Hell is a fabulous otherworldly place in Lassen Volcanic NP. We took the longer more scenic route to Bumpass Hell via Cold Boiling Lake. This route, while more strenuous, really wasn't that terribly difficult for us moderate hikers. There were a few small waterfalls and muddy spots to cross, but nothing crazy.

Cold Boiling Lake is a unique little spot in its own right, though from a distance away you wouldn't know it. The bubbles coming up from vents underground are in the marshy areas just south/west of the lake itself.

The views of Crumbaugh Lake below you along the trail are some of the best in the park, IMO. It's a pretty steady climb from Cold Boiling Lake and I would think even school-age children could hike this pretty easily. Another perk is this route is not nearly as busy as the main route into Bumpass Hell.

On our return to the Kings Creek Picnic Area trailhead, we did the short spur trail to Crumbaugh Lake from Cold Boiling Lake. While it was quiet and nice at the lake, the views of the lake were much better from above and the lake itself is a bit marshy and buggy.

In the end, having now hiked to Bumpass Hell both ways, this is the way I would recommend doing it every time if I had the chance, unless I was short on time.
Written July 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mindi B
Scotts Valley, CA180 contributions
Oct 2020
Never have I seen mud pots and boiling springs of water in person and so close. Our easy mid-October morning hike was brisk, but beautiful. We had blue skies and saw very few people (which is extremely nice during the pandemic). The colors and sulfur smell of the hydrothermal area are etched in my memory. I loved the pool of turquoise water along with the smaller mud puts bubbling up and the puffs of steam rising into the bright blue sky. Seeing the gray water run down the stream was also intriguing. Loved it!
Written November 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Fort Atkinson1,016 contributions
Jul 2021
We have visited Yellowstone twice so, while I don't want to sound blasé, it was interesting but lesser. You hike a bit before coming to the volcanic valley and the trail s popular. The valley, actual Bumpass Hell, is scenic and signage helps inform. Moderate hike, but places to rest on rocks along the way and at the site. Plenty of parking at trailhead which is along main road in the park.
Written July 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

daisy s
Moraga, CA1 contribution
Jul 2021 • Family
This was a moderate level hike. The way in/up was strenuous because you are slowly ascending for a mile and then descending for another half mile on sandy pavement as you get near. Next time, I will bring hiking sticks. Both my kids under 10 slipped and fell going down in the last half mile. The sight was rewarding when you get there but the smell was not enjoyable. The way back to the car was much easier. I do not recommend this one for young kids under 5. I saw many parents carry them through this trail.
Written July 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ohio, USA8,779 contributions
Aug 2016 • Friends
While planning out trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park, there were two trails that I really wanted to hike, Bumpass Hell and Mount Lassen. We (my wife, her sister and me; all in our early 50s and in good shape) completed both hikes and this combination really provided a wonderful overview of the park. We had two full days to explore the park so we did Bumpass Hell on the first day so that we could acclimate a bit to the elevation before trying the hike up Mount Lassen.

The drive time from the entrance gate at Manzanita Lake to the Bumpass Hell trailhead parking lot was about 35 minutes, maybe a little longer. Wonderful drive. Very scenic. The drive was basically uphill from Manzanita Lake to the Bumpass Hell trailhead, along a winding park road. We arrived at the trailhead parking about 8:45. It was a large parking area, and it was staring to fill up, but there was still plenty of room at present. I took a few minutes and enjoyed the views of the surrounding ridges from the edge of the parking lot before getting my gear in order and hitting the trail.

We were on the trail just a couple minutes past 0900. This was a great hike from the moment we left the parking lot. I thought it might be sort of a ho-hum walk to the thermal area, but the views along every yard of the trail are magnificent. We immediately spotted a few critters along the initial section of the trail. First a Clark’s Nutcracker perched in the top of an evergreen tree. These guys are all over the place as we saw several along this trail as well as our other hikes in the park. Next was a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel in the rocks right above the trail, putting on his best cuteness act, hoping for a handout. Sorry, buddy, we don’t feed the wildlife. Shortly after leaving the parking lot we were treated to views of Lake Helen, its dark blue water was nearly mirror smooth and provided reflections of the trees around its shore as well as Mount Lassen towering nearby.

We turned south away from the lake and the big mountain and as we did our view changed as well. The trail was clinging to the side of the hill on our right (east) and opened up with grand views of the Mount Tehama caldera. From the trail we could see down a couple hundred feet to the meadows and stands of pine below us, but the depths of the valley were not really visible from the trail due to the contours of the land around us (we were hiking along at roughly 8300 feet above sea level and the valley floor is at 7000 feet). The valley looked to be very green and lush with several creeks running down the slopes into the valley. We were in the forest at this point but there were plenty of openings in the trees along this section of the trail to provide an almost continuous panoramic view out over the valley and the peaks of the old caldera rim. Those big vistas were amazing and the colors were just so vibrant in the morning light. There was a range of greens, from the lighter colored grasses to deep forest green on the pines, coming up from the valley, the darker green trees climbing into the grey rocks of the surrounding peaks then the brilliant blue of the sky with an assortment of fluffy white clouds to top it all off. And at many points along the trail these big views were augmented with splashes of purple, dark pink and yellow wildflowers. Yeah, not exactly what I was expecting, but so pleased with the wonderful surprise!

After about 0.7 miles, we came to an overlook that was just a few paces of the trail, which provided a very nice view of the remains of Mount Tehama and had a large educational panel showing what the massive volcano might have looked like in its prime. There were also two Sooty Grouse walking along the rocks at the edge of the view point, just taking their time and apparently not concerned with us at all. After leaving the overlook there was still a quarter mile or so of trail to climb to get to the high point of the hike (so a mile from leaving the trailhead). This is where we crossed the ridge line and got our first glimpse of steaming thermal features of Bumpass Hell down in a little naked bowl at the base of the ridge. At this point we started about a half-mile descent into Bumpass Hell. That sounds sort of ominous, but trust me it was a pleasant walk downhill through more clumps of wildflowers and surrounded by rocky ridges. The big vistas are behind us now, blocked by the ridgeline we just crossed but the featured attraction for this hike is now coming into view as we zig-zagged down the switchbacks to the boardwalk access for the thermal area. The sulphur smell got stronger as we approached. It was not an overbearing odor but it was definitely there! Sure, it is not a pleasant smell, but I don’t think it is as bad folks make it out to be. We heard so many people complain about the “rotten egg” smell in the thermal areas of Yellowstone, but I never thought it was that bad. In fact, the smell here was a little stronger, I thought.

The trail split just before we reached the boardwalk. We took the left-hand branch first which took us up on top of a little rocky mound that provided a nice view out over the thermal area and gave us a good overview of the entire layout of the boardwalks. The views of the western end of the area were excellent from this elevated perch as it let us see the colors of the mineral deposits on the rocks as well as nice looks into a couple of the murky blue pools. This end of the thermal area is on a slope running down into the main basin. Yellow was the dominant color on the rocks, but it seemed that the entire spectrum was covered. The more I studied the area the more colors I saw. There were subtle patches of red, pink, orange and purple scattered about this end, plus green mixed in the little streams that crossed the area. At the base of the slope a pool or turquoise water lends itself to the collage of colors. The bonus to the geologic wonders was another critter sighting as we spotted a mule deer doe on the opposite hillside working her way through the boulders.

After taking in the view at the elevated vantage point we retraced our steps to the point where the trial spit and took the branch leading out to the boardwalk. The boardwalk provides excellent access to the thermal features. There is a main walk that traverses across the entire area as well as a spur that extends out into the middle of the thermal and allows for additional up-close views of some of the features as well as nice overall perspectives of the area in general. This is not a huge area, certainly not as big as the main thermal areas in Yellowstone, but it is still impressive. The moniker “Hell” that Mr. Bumpass tied to the place is appropriate with the steaming pools, bubbling mud pots, the rumbling and grumbling from the thermal features and of course the sulphurous odor. But at the same time, Bumpass Hell has a beauty to it. The colors in the pools and on the rocks are quite striking, particularly when contrasted with the green of the surrounding trees and the brilliant blue sky.

Bumpass Hell brings all the senses into play. I’ve talked about the colors and the odors, but there was also lot of noise, with the hissing, gurgling, coughing and burping of the various thermal features. It is not a loud area, but it is certainly part of the character of the place. As for feel, we get that as well when we made it to the far end of the boardwalk. Lynn and I were standing there alone, leaning on the railing and we could feel the vibrations caused by the subterranean hydrothermal activity. It really is an amazing place. It is as if it were alive, and I reckon it sort of is.

Around 10:15, give or take, we left Bumpass Hell and retraced route back to the trailhead. Returning on the same trail but facing the opposite direction gave us an opportunity to see things that we missed in the inward hike or just provides a new perspective on a view that we did take in (different lighting later in the morning or a new viewing angle). It was a pleasant return. The sky was still bright blue and still held a collection of cumulus clouds, just fluffy white cotton balls with no threat of rain.

What a great hike! Wonderful views along the trail then the other worldly spectacle of Bumpass Hell at the end of the trail. This one gets very high marks. It took us right at 2 hours to complete the 3-mile hike, so we were back at the trailhead a little after 11:00.

I recommend putting this hike at the top of your list when visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Written February 20, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Windsor, Canada783 contributions
We hiked the Bumpass Hell trail on July 31st, 2005. The temperature was around 80 degrees and piles of snow still dotted the area. The trail itself is relatively easy and very well maintained. It was quite busy but that was to be expected. If you are sensitive to strong odours then be prepared for an onslought of sulpher. Bumpass comes complete with bubbling ponds and hot running streams. The gurgeling coloured mud was also a treat. I measure some of the water at 127 degrees so take care to stay on the boardwalk or you will surely get a severe burn. A very exciting and rewarding hike!
Written November 23, 2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Fremont, CA19 contributions
Bumpass Hell is a great hike. It's just a short 1.5 mile path down to some incredible "Little Yellowstone" sites. It was already the beginning of August, but we still had to cross a patch of snow to get to our destination! The very last part of the hike is a little steep, but not too bad if you take it slowly. It gets hot there, so it's best to do this trail in the morning. It was really fun walking on the boardwalk and checking out the steam vents and boiling mud.
Written August 19, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Santa Clara, CA7 contributions
Sep 2016 • Family
Though most places rate this hike as "moderate", its pretty tough to do with kids 5 and under (and almost impossible to do with a stroller). First, the hiking trail is exposed to about 200 feet drops at several stretches. Second, the final leg of the trail is a pretty steep downhill to the sulphur vents and pools, and the trail itself is covered in smooth powdery sand. So you skid along many times and it only gets tougher climbing up on the way back.
So, if you are planning on doing this trail with young children and/ or seniors, helps to be forewarned.
But having said that, its a must do trail in Lassen, if you are fit enough for it.
Written October 16, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Marietta, GA680 contributions
Jul 2019
When we arrived at Lassen, we were disappointed to learn that the trail to Bumpass Hell is closed for renovations. But determined to find away to Bumpass Hell, we looked for an alternate trail. We found an alternate trail from the Kings Creek Picnic Area. We followed the Cold Boiling Lake Trail as far as the lake and then continued past the lake on a trail above Crumbaugh Lake and the meadows. It was a truly spectacular trail with multiple waterfall/creek crossings and alpine meadows just coming into bloom. And, best of all, no crowds. We arrived at Bumpass Hell after a 2.5 mile hike and had the whole basin to ourselves. This accidental hike turned into our favorite hike during our visit to Lassen.
Written August 26, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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