Devastated Area Loop Trail

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Distance0.3mi
Elevation Gain37ft
Trailhead Elevation6,466ft
Top6,482ft
Elevation Min/Max6466/6482ft
Elevation Start/End6466/6466ft
Devastated Area Loop Trail is a hiking trail in Shasta County, California. It is within Lassen Volcanic National Park. It is 0.3 miles long and begins at 6,466 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 37 feet. The Devastated Area attraction is near the trailhead. There is also a parking.

Devastated Area Loop Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Like the proverbial nutshell, the Devastated Area Interpretive Trail holds a tasty little nugget of Lassen Volcanic National Park within its limited confines. Picture-perfect views of Lassen Peak and interpretive signs that describe volcanism’s effect on the surrounding terrain make this a perfect choice for families, those unable or unwilling to take longer treks, or those who are short on time. Highlights: Short and sweet, this trail features interpretation of the forces that shaped the northeastern slopes of Lassen Peak."

"During the spring season, the snow-covered section of Main Park Road beyond the Devastated Area o?ers an easy route to serene Summit Lake. The road is easily discernible, reducing the need for much navigation, and the grade rarely exceeds moderate.

Although Summit Lake is a tourist magnet in the summer, the frozen lake of winter o?ers a much quieter destination—chances are you’ll have to share the area with only the trees ringing the shoreline. While extending the journey farther along the road is quite possible, the grade of the road becomes much steeper beyond the lake."

"The desire to observe a volcanic landscape in process was one of the driving forces behind the creation of Lassen Volcanic National Park. Certainly, one of the best areas from which
to witness the destruction volcanic forces are capable of is the Devastated Area on the northeast slopes of Lassen Peak. On May 19, 1915, hot lava spewed from Lassen Peak, melting the deep snowpack and propelling a half-mile-wide, 20-foot-deep mass of slush and rock down the mountainside and into the canyons of Lost and Hat Creeks.

Three days later, the volcano erupted, sending a desiccating cloud of vaporized lava and superheated gas down the course of the mudslide, ?attening every tree still standing, resulting in a swath of destruction 1.25 miles wide and 5 miles long, which eventually garnered the name Devastated Area. After a hundred years, the sight is not as devastating as it once appeared, with a scattered forest of Je?rey pines springing out of the sandy soil, softening the former bleakness."

"On May 19, 1915, hot lava spilled over the crater rim of Lassen Peak onto a thick snowfield layered with volcanic ash from previous minor eruptions, creating a slow-moving mudflow (lahar) down the northeast slope of the mountain. Three days later, a massive eruption sent a blast of superheated air (nuee ardente) down the same path, leveling a swath of forest 1 mile wide and 3 miles long.

Thousands of downed evergreens were blown over like matchsticks, all pointing away from the source of the blast. The Devastated Area has been able to heal for nearly a century, which has dramatically softened the appearance of a slope that was once a vivid portrait of nature’s power of destruction. Over the years, a vigorous forest of aspen, ponderosa pine, and Jeffrey pine has replaced the flattened trees. Nowadays, visitors can learn about Lassen’s violent past from interpretive signs along this paved loop trail. The short, gentle path is well-suited for just about anyone, especially families with young children."

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Trail Information

Lassen Volcanic National Park
Nearby City
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Parks