It's totally different from either of those. What time of year are you coming. A few days at least is ideal. You might head up to Juniper Lake for more hiking and kayaking. The lake is a jewel. To access this area of the park you'll need to drive to Chester then up Juniper Lake Road. Seven miles are bumpy dirt.
Depending on how much time you have it's easy to extend Lassen with Tahoe (2.5-3 hours SE), Burney Falls (1 hr N), and Crater Lake (5 hours N).
Lassen is very different from Death Valley and Joshua Tree, which are hot, deserety places. Lassen is known for its geothermal features (volcano, mud pots, etc.) It is at fairly high altitude, lots of lakes, pine forest, alpine meadows, and that sort of thing. Because of the high altitude, you must visit in summer for good hiking, and certaily for kayaking. Even over Labor Day weekend, we have seen a significant amount of snow at the higher altitudes.
There is quite a bit of hiking and you can kayak in the lakes. I don't know of any moving-water kayaking in the area though.
As for how long to stay - I would say 2 full days at least, longer if you have it, of course, but 2 full days will give you a good opportunity to see a lot of the park.
There's kayaking in the Feather River, less than an hour away. The North Fork has some serious rapids.
Thank you both very much. I think we will plan on being a little more relaxed and take 3 full days.
If you are planning to hike the Lassen Peak Trail, there is limited access this summer:
If you do this hike, it will take almost the entire day. To see all the other sights on the main road takes about two days unless you just drive through. So, your three day stay in Lassen would cover just the main road section of the park.
There are three other areas of Lassen that offer excellent hiking or kayaking opportunities but you would need at least an additional day for each. So, to see the entire park as a hiker, you really need at least a week.Edited: 06 June 2012, 01:06
I suggest the Mt Brokeoff, Mt Harkness, and Prospect Peak hikes if you want to bag some peaks. Mt Brokeoff starts from the main road, Mt Harkness from Juniper Lake, and Prospect from Butte Lake. Of course all these trails connect within the park, but we're talking about day hikes.
From Drakesbad, Devil's Kitchen is a nice and interesting hike. You could have dinner and use the hot springs pool there. You'll need a reservation. Drakesbad is accessed from Chester & Warner Valley Road. About 6 miles are dirt. Please slow way down if people are walking or biking or when passing another car going the opposite direction.
-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-
This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.
To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html
We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.