Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be surrounded by Nature's beauty and mystery in complete peace and solitude? Wouldn't you be super excited if I told you that such a place exists within 4 hours of driving distance from the super crowded Bay Area? If you don't believe me, head out to Warner Valley of Lassen Volcanic National Park for your next July 4th holiday weekend.
Yes, we were there on July 4th hiking, eager for some geothermal action at a sea-green colored Boiling Springs lake surrounded by iron-red earth crust. And for the entire length of 3 mile round trip hike, we only saw three other people. I was as much awestruck by the beautiful surroundings, the fuming boiling springs lake and the active mudpots as I was by the peace and solitude this hike offered on a summer holiday long weekend.
|Boiling Springs Lake|
This Warner Valley region, however, cannot be accessed via Lassen Volcanic National Highway (the portion of Highway 89 which extends through the park, 30 miles), which explains the lack of crowds. You have to go to Chester and then drive about 15 miles north on a narrow Chester Warner Valley road to reach the Entrance of the Park and another couple of miles on dirt road to reach the Parking lot from where the trails can be accessed. Note: Follow signs for Drakesbad Guest Ranch. After 10 miles into this road, it became narrower and we did not see any signs for National Park Entrance or any other cars which gave us an eerie feeling, though we saw several cabins on one side of road, and we contemplated turning back. But having already invested 2 hours trying to reach Warner Valley, we decided to keep going and luckily for us, the Entrance was only a few miles further down the road.
|If only this road was open during Spring season!|
Warner Valley has several hydro-thermal features such as Boiling Springs Lake, Terminal Geyser and Devil's Kitchen. It was around 5 pm when we reached this place, so we decided to do the shorter hike to the Boiling Springs Lake. We thoroughly enjoyed the hike and even spotted some wildlife along the way.
I am glad that we explored this secluded lush region of the Park with many hydro thermal wonders. Had we known in advance this would be a 3 hour drive from our campground, we would have dedicated an entire day to cover the region throwing in a picnic lunch at Juniper Lake into the mix.
Stay tuned for more :) To know more about the Park's main attractions, read Part I here.
P.S: If you ever pictured yourself in a swimming pool amidst such lush green open areas, Drakesbad Guest Ranch was built to fulfill your dreams. Though my husband thought this man-made swimming pool was an eye sore in the middle of what Nature has to offer, there are apparently a lot of people who think otherwise that makes this place a famous retreat.
|Can you spot the swimming pool?|