Lore and Labor in Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Sierra Club Outings Trip # 14295A, Service/ Volunteer


  • Help preserve and maintain the 150 miles of trails in this mountain alpine park
  • Relax, swim, and camp along the park’s largest and deepest lake
  • Explore the drama and mystery of boiling springs, fumaroles, and a dormant volcano


  • All on-trip meals and snacks
  • Supervision and training in trail maintenance
  • All car camping park fees 


DatesAug 22–29, 2014
StaffDave Garcia
Photo: NPS

Trip Overview

The Trip

Lassen Volcanic National Park is no ordinary place. Located in northern California, it is a remote and pristine park that consists of numerous habitats. The park encompasses 150 miles of trails that lead to mudpots, fumaroles, peaks, lakes, boiling springs, and steaming vents, of which Chaos Jumbles, Bumpass Hell, Painted Dunes, Cinder Cone, Emerald Lake, and Cold Boiling Lake are only a few. Lassen Volcanic National Park’s hydrothermal features are the most extensive in the Cascade Range and they fascinate visitors, reminding them that this volcanic area is still quite active.

The park’s dynamic hydrothermal areas within this volcanic landscape mixes with quiet mature forests and gentle meadows to offer something for everyone to enjoy. Due to Lassen’s remote location, traffic and camping are light compared to other national parks, and it is known as a hiker’s paradise. The park has a rich history that includes several Native American tribes, gold rush settlers, fur trappers, Civilian Conservation Corps workers, and geologic study of volcanic eruptions. Additionally, the park has more than 700 flowering plant species and a wide variety of wildlife, offering an incredible range of sights, sounds, and recreation.  

The Project

We will be working on the Warner Valley–Juniper Lake Trail. It is the steepest trail in the park with a 2,775-foot elevation gain. The trail is very brushy and will require a lot of pruning and thinning. This is strenuous work and you will need to be in good physical condition to hike and brush this trail.


You will arrive on Friday, August 22 by 3 p.m. to check in and setup your tent. We’ll cover trip policies and introductions before having dinner, our first meal together. We will work four days and have two free days to explore some of the hydrothermal features of the park or just relax. The actual work days have not been determined yet. On Friday, August 29 we will eat breakfast, break camp, and bid our farewells.



Getting There

Trip members are responsible for getting themselves to and from the campground. Directions will be provided in a future email. Lassen is accessible from two airports: Sacramento and Reno. Reno/Tahoe International Airport is the closest major airport, 150 miles away. Sacramento is about 180 miles away. Both are approximately three hours away by car. Redding, CA is only about an hour away from the park. A trip roster will be provided to facilitate ride-sharing.  

Accommodations and Food

We will be car camping at the remote Juniper Lake Campground, accessed by an eight-mile gravel road. This is the park’s least crowded camping, fishing, and hiking area. We will be staying in tents next to Juniper Lake. Campsites have drinking water and vault toilets. Bring your solar shower to wash off the daily work dirt and grime.

Please come with the attitude that food is part of the adventure. The menu will be healthy, nutritious, high-energy back-country cuisine. Meals will be vegetarian with some opportunities for meat during the week. We will have a group commissary, with everyone taking turns in meal preparation and clean-up afterwards. Before applying for the trip, folks with food allergies or strong preferences should contact the leader and cook to see if they can be accommodated.

Trip Difficulty

We will be hiking up and down ridges with tools and day packs to restore trails. Trail work is strenuous and it is important that you are in good physical condition. Your ability to follow leader and agency staff instructions and to work as a team member is important for this project. Come prepared to work, have fun, and seek adventures.  

Equipment and Clothing

The work tools will be furnished by the park. It is crucial to bring a good pair of leather gloves. You will also need sturdy work boots, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts to protect you from the brambles, sun, and insects. In addition to your tent and camping equipment, you will also need a day pack, water bottles, raingear, sunscreen, hat, and bandana. We will provide your food, but you need your own spoon, fork, knife, and plate. We will provide a first-aid kit, but you should bring moleskin, insect repellent, bandages, aspirin, and any medications you require.

Typical summer temperatures will be in the 80s and will cool off into the 40s at nighttime. August is typically dry, but rain is always possible at these high-mountain altitudes. 



  • Earthwalk Press: “Lassen Volcanic National Park Hiking Map and Guide,” has hiking information and a topo map.


  • Richard, Ellis, Lassen Volcanic: The Story behind the Scenery. Available from www.kcpublications.com or call 800-626-9673
  • Schaffer, Jeffery P., Lassen National Park and Vicinity. This book is informative and has many references for each section.



The Sierra Club is an environmentally focused entity. We are concerned about conservation and sustainability of resources. Our work is accomplished by volunteers and aided by a salaried staff, and encourages grassroots involvement. Our outings seek to empower participants toward greater understanding, advocacy, and participation in the goals of the club.

Budget cuts have decreased park maintenance staff and as a result some of the area’s trails have become overgrown and fallen in disrepair. Previously, the area was maintained by seasonal employees, which have since been eliminated.

In 2014 America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Sierra Club, various other organizations with a wilderness focus, and the four federal wilderness management agencies are vigorously planning this celebration. The goal of the effort is to assure that a broader public knows about the concept and benefits of wilderness. Sierra Club Outings is a vital part of the celebrations for wilderness.
While the Act was far in the future when our outings program started, we were already promoting the principle behind it: to forever set aside from human developments certain special places, by civic agreement. This is the basic principle on which the Sierra Club was founded. The wilderness anniversary gives us an opportunity to highlight our organization’s leading role—in publicizing this principle, in passing the 1964 Act, and in achieving more designated wilderness since then.



Dave Garcia was a California State Park Ranger for 28 years. He has led Sierra Club kayak, mountain bike, and habitat restoration trips. Dave's trips are about the service commitment of working hard, playing hard, making new friends, and having fun!


Suzanne Ferguson has been cooking for Sierra Club Service Trips since 2005. A Floridian, she loves the exhilaration of Western trips, and has enjoyed cooking in Wyoming, Arizona, and California as well as her home state. She favors hearty, vegetarian-friendly meals with a local flair, and welcomes food consultation with prospective participants.

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