If you are in California and looking to go camping with your pup, the Lassen Volcanic National Park is a great place to go. The main attraction of the park is Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world.
Dogs, however, are not permitted on any of the trails in the park or any wilderness areas, including up to the peak. This is because Lassen Volcanic National Park has protections in place for local wildlife. Dogs wandering through the wilderness disrupt the natural ecosystems, may harm or scare off other animals, and many areas that people explore within the park may be dangerous for your dog to walk on. Volcanic soils and hydrothermal areas, for example, can seriously injure a dog’s feet.
While there may not be pawtastic hiking opportunities in this park, there are eight established campgrounds where you may bring your dog. The campgrounds range from rustic to developed and vary in elevation. The higher spots may be closed for more of the year due to snow levels. Most spots are generally open between late June and early October. While in any of Lassen Park’s campgrounds or anywhere else in the park, you should keep your pet restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet, and under control at all times.
Other places where you can walk with your dog inside Lassen Volcanic National Park include any roads and road shoulders, parking lots, campgrounds, and picnic areas. For hiking opportunities, check out the nearby wilderness areas. The Lassen National Forest surrounds the Volcanic Park, and offers many trails that are dog-friendly. In non-developed areas, your dog can even explore off leash. Spattercone Nature Trail is a pawrific hike to see unique cones, craters and a fissure of the Hat Creek Lava Flow.
The fees at Lassen Volcanic National Park vary depending on the vehicle type. A standard vehicle pass for 1-7 days is $25; a winter pass, valid between December 1 and April 15, is $10. Annual passes and other vehicle passes are also available. Check Lassen's website to learn more.
Wherever you go in the park, be sure to have drinking water at the ready for your canine explorer. Also have clean-up bags on hand, and always clean up after your dog.
As both a national monument and one of California’s most beautiful wilderness areas, Lassen Volcanic National Forest is a sight not to be missed.