Devils Kitchen

Witness a highly active hydrothermal area in Lassen's peaceful Warner Valley.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
7.5 km
Ascent
178 m
Descent
178 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.7 km
High Point
1.9 km
Gradient
VIEW ON MAP
Devils Kitchen Map

Description

Like the much more popular Bumpass Hell, Devils Kitchen is a collection of various hydrothermal features in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Unlike its well-known counterpart, however, Devils Kitchen is in the relatively quiet Warner Valley, an area of the park that receives many fewer visitors. If you’d rather skip Bumpass Hell and avoid the busy-season traffic, you could instead see many of the same features at Devils Kitchen.

From the Warner Valley trailhead, you’ll cross verdant wet meadows on a trail and boardwalks. A bit of steam and a slight smell of sulfur rise from Hot Springs Creek, which is crossed on a bridge. This is merely a preview of the hydrothermal activity still to come. The trail turns uphill and into a fragrant conifer forest. The creek tumbles nearby, and you may step across a few small streams as the trail leads higher into the valley.

You’ll likely smell it before you see it––the sulfurous steam of Devils Kitchen. The trail drops sharply into a valley within the valley, where the air lies thick with pungent humidity. Forest crowns the rim of this basin, but within it are slopes of bare, pale earth and puddles of fuming liquid. The Park Service describes “crackled yellow and red mounds of the kitchen where steam whirls from fiery cracks in the ground, sounds of plopping, hissing, and belching fill your ears and the smell of ‘something’ cooking lingers in the air.”

This is an otherworldly place that you must explore with your own senses. A short loop trail leads among the features, so you can see them up close. After walking the loop, you can return the way you came to the trailhead. Another option, however, is to backtrack some of the way then connect with the trail to Dream Lake, for a bonus destination.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/hikingdevilskitchen.htm https://sierranevadageotourism.org/entries/devils-kitchen-lassen-volcanic-national-park/5936d387-c600-4b11-a334-44f18f1ffdf3

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

May, June, July, August, September, October

Features

  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area