We recently did a road trip including visiting the Redwood National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park and Pinnacles National Park with our two dogs. Below I’ll be focusing on our road trip portion to Lassen Volcanic National Park with the dogs, if you want to see more info on this overall trip and other parks click below.
How we got here, our road trip broken down…
Visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park
I was honestly really excited to visit Lassen Volcanic national park, Yellowstone National Park was my favorite place on our last National Park Road trip and hence being called a little Yellowstone how could I not be excited, a similar park but with less people. The many viral instagram videos also got me even more amped up for our visit.
So much so I planned half our trip around this park, we would arrive on a Tuesday, spend Wednesday and Thursday in the park – 2 full days, and on Friday head to our first stop on the way home, Carmel and arrive home Saturday, all taking place near the end of April.
We drove from the Redwoods national park to Lassen volcanic national park which is about a 4 hour drive; note this a twisty drive and while gorgeous may not be best for those that get car sick easily.
While driving it was quite warm out, in the 80s, till we were right near Lassen and then the temperatures suddenly dropped. Then we started seeing snow on the side of the road and as we got closer the higher the snow went. No way we thought. And then we got to our airbnb that was covered in snow, the entire yard was actually covered in snow.
I had bookmarked hikes in my true OCD fashion and did notice that most didn’t have recent reviews but also this isn’t as popular of a national park so it wasn’t that alarming to me – was this an error of mine, quite possibly.
So, suddenly I was worried how much snow would be in the park. A quick Google showed that Lassen Volcanic National Park is open. But, upon more digging I see some facebook posts showing a lot of snow and I read that many trails may be covered in snow. Gulp. The deep diving while sitting our AirBNB began and I soon realized I don’t think we will be going to this park – yes, I just made my husband drive 5 hours here from our last destination.
So I began to look for a back-up plan and we decided that we would go visit the park in the morning and see if it’s actually accessible and then worst case leave and head to Pinnacles National Park – 5 hour south.
Well, upon entering the Lassen Volcanic National Park we were met with a lot of snow, a lot. The ranger informed us this is how it is every single year – something I did not clearly see online and was not mentioned in even one of the viral videos saying to visit this park, ooops. As for the trails? They are open…. if you have snow shoes which we clearly did not and did not come dressed for.
The only road open in April 2023 was half of the parking lot, they didn’t expect the roads to open for a few more months. We were able to visit the visitor center and saw quite a few other people that didn’t know better like us; one was in flipflops and slipping all over. We also saw some snowboarders that were enjoying this ‘open’ but snowy national park.
So while I can’t share my favorite hikes or the beautiful views, I can tell you the parking lot was quite a sight. But double and triple check that Lassen Volcanic National park is actually open to hike and not just to snow shoers before you drive all the way over.
None the less, we had fun, bought a hat, Rossi made some yellow snow in the parking lot. And off we went to Pinnacles National Park.
Here is the nitty gritty of where we stayed, where dogs are allowed in Lassen Volcanic National Parl and what we did during our time at Lassen Volcanic National park!
Where we stayed at Lassen Volcanic National Park
For lodging there isn’t a ton of options near Lassen Volcanic National park. There is a one hotel-type lodging inside the park Drakesbad guest ranch, which is open generally June through October, but even that seems to be closed a lot.
The closest town to stay is Chester, CA which is about a 40 minute drive to the park. We ended up booking an airbnb as hotel choices were very limited. Looking back, if we were to go back I would honestly rather stay in a hotel and would probably book this Best Western that is pet friendly or maybe look into a vrbo instead. Our airbnb while fine, was just really strange, it had a nice yard for the dogs, a dirty rug, no coffee table and just was simply strange and not very home like. The benefit to an airbnb or vrbo is that I can leave the dogs home if we want to do some hikes that aren’t pet friendly one day.
Chester is a very small town with very limited food options, a pizza place, Chinese, a coffee shop and a few other places. I wouldn’t plan to return here unless I’m visiting Lassen again personally. The coffee shop, Coffee Station, was decent.
Are dogs allowed inside Lassen Volcanic National Park
Dog friendly Lassen Volcanic National Park! If you’re bringing your dog with you to Lassen Volcanic National park be noted that dogs are allowed basically where vehicles can drive, this includes: paved roads, road shoulders, campgrounds, picnic areas, and parking lots. Which in our case was literally a parking lot.
While I was very excited to see this park, there isn’t much around and I doubt we will be rushing back here anytime soon. I truly hope you get to see more than we did. Onwards to Pinnacles National park with the dogs!