Simple to reserve/access campground near Northwest entrance of Lassen. Whole deal was easy enough to be combination somewhere between "vaguely memorable" and "appreciably easy." Fully unobtrusive experience. Racoons (er sumthin weird) kept me company a fair portion of the eve. No bother.
Very large camp near the western entrance of the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Situated on the banks of Manzanita Lake. There are numerous tent, RV, and a few cabin sites available that you can get with little advance notice, unlike many other national parks.
Manzanita has a small camp store with supplies with supplies, hook-ups, and dumpstations availability for RVs, and there is a boat launch for kayaks and canoes on the lake. You can also rent kayaks and canoes and fishing is also widely popular with licenses available in the store.
The camp is also a short drive from the very cool and historic museum that has information about the volcanic history of the park as well as early photographs of the 1915 eruption. It is well worth a visit and has a junior ranger program available for kids, plus general park information. Manzanita is probably the largest camp location within the park and is busy, but there is plenty of opportunities to escape into Lassen.
We love this campground for all of its extras while still feeling like you are in the wilderness. The campground has cabins, as well as tent and trailer spots. If you forget something, there is a small store known for its soft serve ice cream. You can rent kayaks and stand up paddle boards. Each site has a bear box which is great for keeping the chipmunks out of your food. Great views and day hikes in the Lassen National Forest.
Great camp site. We kayaked on the lake and were close enough to the showers by the general store. The park rangers did rounds at night to keep howling animals (coyotes probably) at a distance. It was a great location to drive from. We visited Lassen peak, the cinder cone, butte falls and bumpass hell.
An easy camp spot. The further down the loops the better the sites are. Some sites are close to others. The walk down to the lake isn't far. Nice for a get away! They also have cabins that you can reserve and a small store at the campground.
Manzanita Lake is a really family friendly campground. It’s great seeing the kids ride around the loop on their bicycles and scooters. We had a perimeter site in the A loop, adjacent to the trail that runs to the lake. These sites feel particularly spacious. Due to the type of pine forest, none of them will be private. The interior sites were ok on space for being in a National Park. There is a mix between 3+ night campers and the one nighters, so the park doesn’t completely empty out each day. First come first serve campers would be advised to read the reservation signs carefully, sometimes they are marked a day or two before occupancy and that might be enough time to squeeze in a visit.
There are both plumbed and vault bathrooms, but there is no electricity—so wear a headlamp to the bathroom at night. There is also a water and drain area for dumping dish-wash water, etc. Each site has a bear box, and use of it for all food and food prep, as well as toiletries is expected—campers cannot use their cars. In A loop, we are only a short walk from all things Lake, the laundry and showers, and the camp store. The store has a small menu of hot food offerings available, and the groceries surmount to things found at a gas station plus a few extras like bacon. While travelers should always buy where they burn to prevent introducing invasive bug species, buying wood right outside the park might be a smart choice; the bundles here are $10 each! Ice is $4.65+ for a small 7 lb bag. Showers are $1.75 (7 quarters) for 3 minutes. Many of the groceries are double normal prices. I didn’t dare to check their gas prices! The kayak and canoe rentals are more reasonable. Cabin packages with cook stove, etc, are no longer available with reservations—even though they are still advertised. If staying here for a bit, adventurers will have to drive through Chester to get to other points in the park, like the Devil’s Kitchen (a most beautiful hike). Chester has gas, grocery, hotels, more campgrounds, and some really great local eats. Also check out Drakesbad Ranch if comparing alternatives; we hiked by it on our outing to Devil’s Kitchen and it looks pretty neat.
Waking up to the sound of the wind in the braches of the tall pines, while feeling nothing more than a breeze down below, is a pleasant experience. The drive through Lassen Volcanic is stunning. Under the snow capped peak, wildflowers cascade down the mountainside to frolicking creeks and waterfalls. Emerald lake shines like a deep, green Emerald, and around the corner, Lake Helen is a sparkling Sapphire. The geothermal areas are always interesting and remind us of the forces behind this volcanic tower, and that Lassen is still active. All in all, a great place to car camp.
It's your typical National Park Campground. Sites aren't very private. Great for families, easy access to the lake, general store, flush toilets and showers. It's comfortable camping. We were here in late May/early June and most of the park was still closed due to snow. But it made for fun sliding down the top of a snowy volcano!
Manzanita Lake campground is one of those nationap park campgrounds with several loops and site after site. It is definitely not the most private experience, but one would know that going into it. As far as national park campground go, Manzanita Lake offers a great experience without feeling super crowded- national parks can become zoo-like (because of their fantastic preservation and good marketing :) ), but this campground feels more low key. I am more of a backcountry camper, and I would recommend this campground to a friend.
It is clean, relatively quiet, and has great facilities. It also provides good access to the rest of the park, being at the north end of beautiful rt 89 and just below the Chaos Crags. Everyone should visit Lassen and if you are looking for a campground, put Manzanita on your list.
Campsites were great and well maintained. The beach along the lake was a bit crowed given that it was a holiday weekend. But beautiful trails not too far from the campsites.
I think this would be considered the main campground at Lassen. It has showers, a store, gas, etc. So if that's what you want, it is 5 stars. It also tends to be crowded and busy, which to me is a downside. The sites are very close together so hope you get good neighbors. Still, your in Lassen, so Yay!
There is plenty of hiking, great trails for kids, it's near the visitor center, the main road and lake, so if I were going with kids I would think it ideal. Get a reservation well in advance of your trip.