Lassen Volcanic Highway, CA, Closes to Through Traffic for the Winter Season

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lassen volcanic national park highway
Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway, CA, is temporarily closed due to snow accumulation.

Lassen National Park Highway is closed to traffic for the winter/spring snow season. Recent autumn storms brought heavy snow and ice to the high-elevation roadway.

Lassen Volcanic National Park remains open throughout the winter/spring snow season and can be a wonderful time to visit for well-prepared visitors. While the park remains open, vehicle access is limited to one mile from the northwest entrance to the Loomis Plaza and one mile from the southwest entrance to the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. The majority of Lassen National Park Highway and the other park roads into Juniper Lake, Warner Valley, and Butte Lake are closed to vehicles for the winter.

“We are happy to welcome another early start to the winter season at Lassen Volcanic. Winter is a special time to visit the park with friends and family. Sledding, skiing, and snowshoeing are wonderful ways to enjoy Lassen Volcanic’s snowy splendor.”

– Acting Superintendent Kevin Sweeney

Camping in self-contained vehicles, such as motorhomes and trailers, is permitted in the Southwest Area parking lot. Oversnow tent camping is not permitted in the Southwest Area, nor in the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center (KYVC) parking area. Oversnow tent camping is allowed in the Lassen Volcanic backcountry (1/2 mile from any park road open to vehicle traffic) with a permit, as well as in the adjacent Lassen National Forest. Fires and fire pans are not permitted; self-contained barbecues and gas stoves are allowed. Drinking water and restrooms are available inside the visitor center.

Visitors are reminded to be cautious of camping anywhere near trees that may have been impacted during the 2021 Dixie Fire. Weakened trees and branches can fall without warning.

The Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center is open from 9 am to 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesday) through the winter/spring snow season. The park entrance fee for a vehicle is $30. The winter entrance fee is $10 between December 1 and April 15.

Enjoy your visit to Lassen Volcanic in the winter season by being prepared. Check the weather forecast, dress in layers, and carry food and water. Stow a shovel, blankets, and tire chains in your vehicle, and expect winter road conditions. Fill up your gas tank before entering the park; there is no gas available until May.

lassen highway, closed,
Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway got some snow this week (9/19/22). Credit: Facebook

The 30-mile Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway traverses avalanche-prone slopes with up to 2,000-foot drops and can hold a snowpack up to 40 feet deep. Last season the highway closed for the winter season on October 24th, 2021.

Road crews begin clearing snow from the park highway in March or April, depending on snow depth and weather forecasts. It is impossible to predict when the highway will be open to traffic because weather and other delays can significantly affect the clearing process. The chart below provides the opening and closing dates of the park highway since 1980. The park does not clear snow from Butte Lake, Warner Valley, or Juniper Lake Roads. The paved sections of Warner Valley and Juniper Lake Roads are maintained by Plumas County and are usually not plowed.

Snow-clearing operations occur in the following order:

  1. Manzanita Lake Area between Loomis Plaza and Devastated Area (10 miles).
  2. Southwest Area between Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center and Lassen Peak (8 miles).
  3. Devastated Area to Lassen Peak (12 miles).
lassen volcanic national park highway
Credit: NPS

Lassen Volcanic National Park is in northeastern California. The dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world and the southernmost volcano in the Cascade Range. Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcanoes can be found—plug dome, shield, cinder cone, and stratovolcano.

lassen volcanic national park, California
Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA

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