Lakeside campgrounds are popular midsummer destinations, simply because beating the heat is so easy to do. Swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding all await just a few steps outside the tent, while filling the creel with fish for dinner is possible too. All it takes is a cool breeze, tall trees and a hammock to have it made in the shade, so it is easy to see why the lakeside campgrounds are prime real estate when the heat of summer rolls around. On the downside, a casual traveler will have little luck finding an empty lakeside campsite during the busy summer tourism season if no reservations were made ahead of time. Some of the more popular lakeside campgrounds require reservations to be made several months in advance, especially in the National Parks. A good example is Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park, which is one of the most desirable summertime camping destinations in the entire west!
Lassen Volcanic National Park features some of the most interesting natural wonders in the entire west and the strange terrain becomes even more extreme the closer one gets to the towering volcano. Barren peaks rise above the conifer and pine forests covered mountains and ancient lava flows can be seen everywhere. There are blast zones, sulphur vents and fairly recent pyroclastic flow disaster areas on the slopes of Mt Lassen, which indicate just how powerful the eruptions were in the past. Mt Lassen definitely is unstable ground and Manzanita Lake actually was a recent creation that was the result of a rockslide damming a creek about 300 years ago.
Manzanita Lake is located at the base of Mt Lassen and this destination is also where the main visitor center can be found. There are several interpretive exhibits and a museum in this area that provide insight into the volcanic history of this big park. Trail maps, ranger orientations and all sorts of park information can be found in the visitor welcome center and the Manzanita Lake Campground is conveniently located right next door.
The Manzanita Lake Campground has over 170 campsites that are within walking distance to the water. This developed campground is only open for the warm weather seasons and it is fully staffed during summer, so the campsite reservations will go off without a hitch. There is a camp store onsite that saves having to do long trips to stock up in town and firewood is available if there are no fire prevention restrictions. Drinking water is available seasonally too, so it is very easy to settle in for an extended camping venture. The lake is stocked with trout and light watercraft rentals are available onsite, while the lake water is safe for swimming and splashing around. With the big volcano being right next door and endless miles of trails through the deep forests, boredom is a word that is seldom heard when camping at Manzanita Lake!
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