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Bucket List Travel Experience: The Bumpass Hell Trail

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The entire reason I wanted to plan a stop in Redding during our summer road trip was to take the kids hiking on the Bumpass Hell Trail. Thanks to the internet, my travel bucket list has continued to grow because of people sharing pictures of magical places to visit around the world. When I saw someone post a picture of this trail a couple of years ago, I couldn’t wait to bring my kids to witness the incredible geothermal activity along this trail.

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The Bumpass Hell Trail is located inside of the Lassen Volcanic National Park (hence all the volcanic activity seen along the trail) and just a short drive away from Redding. When we arrived at the National Park, I stopped at the visitors center to get a map and find out more information about the trail. I had read a lot of stories online in advance to prepare for the hike – and clearly all of the stories I read – the people NEVER actually went on this hike.

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I was completely unprepared for the hike. All the online stories I read had mentioned that it is a pretty easy hike – which it is not! I was in my flip flops, and I only left with two small bottles of water, and three little kids by myself. Yes, I was cursing the people that wrote inaccurate stories about this trail in my mind while my kids were melting down. The hike is good for families with young children – but you need to be prepared.

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The trail is not level. There are big boulders on the trail, it can get narrow at times, and there is a steep cliff along many parts of the trail. If you’re traveling with small children then I recommend taking it very slow (it took me about 2 hours to get to the end of the trail to see the geothermal activity).

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Bring water! It gets HOT! You are on the side of a volcano, and the kids will use a lot of energy while walking along some of the steep parts of the trail. I was also not prepared for how strong the sulfur smell would be at the end of the trail. I recommend bringing a medical mask for your kids to wear so that they can fully experience the beauty of the bubbling and steaming pots.

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Prepare your kids in advance to stay on the trail. People suffer major burns and injuries every day along this trail from going off the main trail. The ground surrounding the trail is not stable, and it is important to educate your children in advance.

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Once we made to the end of the trail to see the beautiful sight of active geothermal activity – I was mesmerized. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and truly worth every minute of the stressful hike to witness.

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It is a place that I recommend all parents bring their children to witness..just don’t make the same mistake that I did, and come prepared with proper shoes, and plenty of water.

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There is a large parking lot and bathrooms at the start of the trail. The Bumpass Hell Trail is located inside of the Lassen Volcanic National Park just outside of the city of Redding.

More pictures from the trail:

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One Comment

  1. Ironically maybe

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