Lassen Volcanic NP – Sulphur Works and Ridge Lakes Hike


What? : Located just on the park highway, one mile north of Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center.  From the parking lot a short walk along a paved sidewalk will bring you to the bubbling, steaming, Sulphur Works hydrothermal areas. A series of waysides and explanations boards provide details about the hydrothermal area and the ancient volcano that once filled this wide basin.

You can hike from the same parking lot to the Ridge Lakes, 2 miles out and back (1,000 ft elevation gain).

This area was not hurt by the Dixie fire.


Where? : One mile north of Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center.

Google Map Link


When? : Year round. Because the access to Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center is cleared out of snow during winter month you can park your car at the visitor center and hike on the road to this location also during winter.


Due note 1: This is one of the most popular short stops on the park main road, try to come early or late at the afternoon if you want to avoid the crowd.


Due note 2: There are restrooms at the parking lot.


Due note 3: Pets on a leash are allowed along the sidewalks at Sulphur Works. Pets are not allowed on any park trails or in any park buildings.


Due note 4: Climbing Ridge Lakes Trail is not for everyone; in one mile you climb almost 1’000 ft but the view of the lakes below the massive ridgeline in rewording.


Due note 5: Lassen is home to an estimated 50 black bears. As in the rest of California there are only Black Bears even if their color is brown.

When hiking Cluster Lakes loop hike, I saw a Bear, he was relatively far and running away from me, but I still manage to take some pictures.

When Hiking be Bear aware and stay safe, for more information:


My thoughts: When I visit the park Bumpass Hell trail was still close because of the snow so this was the only place I saw up close the hydrothermal activity. It is interesting to see the bubbling mud pot and steaming vents so up-close.

I arrived here late at the afternoon with only one more hour before sunset, after the 5 minutes visit at the mud pots I still had some time to hike, so I decided to hike up the mile long trail to Ridge Lakes.


The visit:

Easily reached along the main park road, Sulphur Works gives you a good glimpse of the roaring steam vents and volcanic-gas vents known as fumaroles as well as boiling mud pots. You will clearly smell the strong rotten egg sulfur steams and see the bobble's in the small mud pools.

This are in the middle of an ancient volcano called Mt. Tehama that towered 11,000 feet high half a million years ago, about five miles below the ground you can find today giant pool of magma that heat up the surface, boil the underground water and create all the hydrothermal activities.

In 1865, Mathias Supan, started a sulfur mining operation for a variety of products, including medicinal ones. As sulfur mining became less profitable, the Supan family appealed to the tourist crowd with mineral baths, a restaurant, and a souvenir shop. The National Park Service acquired Sulphur Works in 1952.



Ridge Lakes Trail:

The Ridge Lakes Trail climbs directly from the parking lot up for almost 1,000 feet in a mile.

At the end of the climb, you will reach elevation of 8,000 feet and you will find a pair of alpine lakes nested below the massive ridgeline above them. Brokeoff Mountain will be on your west and Mount Diller on your north, both are 9,000 ft high.

Overall, this trail is easy to follow, straight up the small ridge where running melting snow streams are flowing on both sides of the trails.

When I hiked here (mid-June 2022) the last section of the trail was completely covered under snow, so I had to follow the foot tracks of previous hikers and find the easiest way climbing up.

I arrived at the lakes just at sunset and it was interesting view.

The lakes where still in a semi-freezing state, mainly covered with snow but you can see how they are started to melt at the edges.

It was getting darker and cold so I stayed here for a short time.

I took few pictures of the lake and headed back to the parking lot. It was much easier going down, but I had to be careful not to slip when walking on the melting snow.


Overall, this 2-mile-long hike took me 1 hour and 15 minutes without spending a lot of time at the lake, take some food with you and you will enjoy the break at the lake.