Unlike the impressive but always incredible Yosemite, Lassen is a gem of a national park rivaling Yellowstone, but without the crowds. There are mud pots, alpine meadows, and lakes to swim and fish in. This particular campsite near the southern entrance is a walk-in, but by walk-in, we mean 20 feet from the paved parking lot.
Sites overlook a forested valley of the park. Bathrooms with flush toilets and sinks are nearby and could be had without reservations, on a first-come, first-served basis, a rarity for many national parks.
Across the parking lot (75 yards) is the Lassen Lodge, which has a great museum, ranger station, junior ranger program, information center, gift shop, and cafe. It’s a great base-camp from which to explore the whole of Lassen as it only takes about an hour to drive from one end of Lassen to the other, with numerous spots to explore along the way.
A long slog up to the Park Entrance, and I arrived at the Visitor Center 5 minutes before the Cafe closed, quick enough to get some hardboiled eggs, jerky, a Snickers, and some hot jasmine green tea. The beer was tempting, but I was dehydrated enough to know it was a terrible idea. The coffee and breakfast sandwich from the cafe the next morning were exactly what I needed, but probably not objectively "good".
I went back out to the parking lot to choose my camping site. The sites are "walk-in" which varies from maybe 50 ft to 200 ft from the parking lot. There is a little berm, which a couple sites sit on top of, and have a beautiful view of Brokeoff Mountain, but also the parking lot. I chose to roll my bike a bit down the hill and a less stunning but still beautiful view of the ridges to the east. Very tightly packed, but different levels and trees kept it from being too bad. I think there was a couple on either side of me, but we were all quiet and tucked into our tents before sundown at 8pm.
There was a bearbox, but it was even more critical to use due to the chipmunks, which attacked one of the energy gel packs that I didn't put in while I went to the bathroom. It bit a hole in the packet, and didn't even stick around to lap up all of the sticky mess. Not a fan. To be fair, it was seeing the chipmunks in the first place that made me put my food in the bear box before heading to the bathroom, so I can only blame myself for not being hypervigilant.
A storm was passing to the south and the wind in the trees was strong but calming, but occasionally the wind would make it to ground level, and kick up the dust from the ground, whipping it through my tent, making it hard to breathe. I think that happened two or three times that night.
The toilets were flush, but the sinks only had cold water, at the bathrooms immediately adjacent to the camp. The Visitor Center just one large parking lot away had hot and cold water, and hand dryers. Also, electrical sockets available next to a bench, for those of us who might need to charge our phones and/or GPS.
I came here for a visit and it was so spectacular. I did a hike to King creek falls and it was beautiful. I went in late spring and there was a lot of melting ice and it filled the rivers and waterfalls