Dog-Friendly Guide to Lassen Volcanic National Park

May 29, 2024

If you are looking for a dog-friendly outing with stunning views, try Lassen Volcanic National Park in California. This dynamic park has all four types of volcanoes, nestled among beautiful mountain lakes and serene meadows. You and your pup can explore these views and enjoy some excellent camping in the Western United States at the pet-friendly campgrounds near Lassen Volcanic National Park. Whether you are visiting for a casual day trip or a longer adventure, explore this complete guide to taking your dog to Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Are Dogs Allowed Inside Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Yes, you can take your dog to Lassen Volcanic National Park, but you cannot take them on any trail. Dog-friendly areas of Lassen include roads, road shoulders, picnic areas and parking lots. Many of these off-trail areas — which you can read about next — offer stunning views and opportunities to take a walk. You can also go for hikes in the area around the park in Lassen National Forest, which offers great views of the park.

While Lassen Volcanic National Park is dog-friendly overall, the National Park Service (NPS) encourages this simple rule — your pet can only go where a car can go. The park does not allow pets on trails or in the park backcountry, visitor centers or bodies of water.

The NPS has developed these rules based on the unique landscape and wildlife at Lassen Volcanic National Park. The restrictions aim to keep you, your pet and the wild animals in the area safe. Some reasons for the restrictions include:

  • Territorial scents and predatory behaviors: A dog’s natural instincts could cause them to chase, scare or kill animals in the park. They can also leave scents that interrupt the natural behavior of the park’s native wildlife.
  • Disease transmission: Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to many wild animals, some of which could transmit diseases to your dog. Pets could then transmit some of these diseases to humans.
  • Nearby predators: The park’s animals might see your dog as prey. Bears, for example, might investigate or attack dogs.
  • Dangerous terrain: Lassen’s volcanic soil can wound or irritate a dog’s feet. Hydrothermal areas also present high temperatures that could be dangerous to pets.

Service dogs, excluding emotional support animals, can enter areas of the park otherwise restricted to pets, but keep the above hazards in mind to protect your pup and the park.

Man with a dog walking through a beautiful pine forest trail.

Do Dogs Need to Be Leashed at Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Yes, all dogs must be leashed in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Use a leash less than 6 feet long, and do not leave your pet unattended or tied to an object. Also, never leave them unattended in a vehicle in hazardous conditions, such as hot weather.

Best Places to Explore at Lassen Volcanic National Park With Your Dog

Ready to explore the volcanic landscape of Lassen? Even without the trails, the park is full of opportunities for sightseeing and hiking with a dog. Here are a few favorites.

1. Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway

The main road that winds through Lassen has many roadside stops, with parking lots and pullouts for admiring the landscape and grabbing some photos with your pup. The NPS offers a handy guide to the highlights along the road. Explore the paved sidewalk through Sulphur Works and walk amid steaming hillsides, or stop at the Brokeoff Volcano Vista for some exceptional stargazing alongside your dog.

2. Lassen Peak Scenic Vista

Take in the park’s titular volcano at the Lassen Peak parking area. The viewpoint offers an excellent photo spot for you and your dog overlooking the peak.

3. Caribou Wilderness Area

Bordering Lassen Volcanic Natural Park is the Caribou Wilderness Area. This peaceful area has rich forests, glacial lakes and volcanic peaks. Stroll around the lake’s edge or explore the forest with your pup. While the full trail extends over 14 miles, you can choose a shorter section or simply wander this dog-friendly area around Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Where to Stay With Your Dog in Lassen

Hotel options can be limited around Lassen, especially if you need a pet-friendly option. A campground is likely a better choice when you’re looking for dog-friendly lodging near Lassen Volcanic National Park. Plus, you can connect with nature thanks to amenities like campfires and nearby hiking trails.

Try staying at a Kampgrounds of America location, available in the nearby cities of Shingleton and Hat Creek. These KOA Campgrounds have KampK9® dog parks for your furry friend to stretch their legs. Book an RV Site, Tent Site or Camping Cabin at either location, complete with the amenities you need for a great stay after exploring the volcanic landscape.

What to Pack for Canine Companions When Traveling to Lassen Volcanic National Park

Give your pup an amazing experience at the park by staying prepared. Read through these tips for camping with dogs, and bring the following items with you:

  • Leash and collar or harness: A well-fitting leash or harness is essential in national parks, especially when the landscape and wildlife can be dangerous to free-running pets. If you do not already have one, consider adding an ID tag to your dog’s collar.
  • A bowl and water: Staying hydrated is essential for both of you. Bring fresh water and a bowl. A collapsible bowl is super portable and convenient.
  • Poop bags: Follow Leave No Trace principles by picking up your dog’s waste and properly disposing of it.
  • Reflective gear for nighttime activities: If you plan to take your dog into Lassen at night, consider reflective accessories, like a jacket, collar, leash and light. These items can help make your pet more visible.

As you get ready for your trip, remember to keep the weather in mind, as temperatures can be extreme. Many of the dog-friendly areas of Lassen Volcanic National Park have pavement, which can get hot in the summer and hurt your pet’s paws. Check the forecast ahead of time to avoid these temperatures.

Book a Dog-Friendly Trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen is an awesome destination for a dog. You and your pup can explore the exciting landscapes from many areas of Lassen. Whether you drive through the park or go hiking, pet-friendly campgrounds near Lassen Volcanic National Park can make your trip much smoother.

KOA offers two dog-friendly campgrounds near Lassen, both with a KampK9® dog park and amenities like propane and firewood. Book your stay at the Burney Falls / Hat Creek KOA Holiday, and choose from Tent Sites, RV Sites with hookups, Camping Cabins and Vacation Rentals. Nearby, the Mt. Lassen / Shingletown KOA Holiday also offers Deluxe Cabins and other amenities, such as a heated pool, sand volleyball court and half-court basketball. Book your stay today to explore this unique park with your pup at your side!

About the Author: Kampgrounds of America

Kampgrounds of America is the largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds in the world, with over 500 locations across the United States and Canada. Founded in Billings, MT in 1962, KOA’s family of campground brands – KOA Journey, KOA Holiday and KOA Resort – today serve more than a million camping families each year. KOA is dedicated to “connecting people to the outdoors and each other” by providing people with a variety of camping experiences and the information they need to make the most of their camping trip. Read more of their camping and travel resources by visiting

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