Lassen Volcanic National Park is easily one of the most underrated national parks in the United States. It happens to also be one of the least-visited national parks in the United States. Located in Northern California, Lassen is home to wildflower meadows, clear mountain lakes, numerous volcanoes, and a handful of hydrothermal sites. Known as a “mini Yellowstone,” it’s surprising how often this park is overlooked for weddings, elopements, and the average visit.
Whether you’re planning your very own Lassen elopement or just looking to get more information about the park, you’re in the right place. This is the ultimate Lassen Volcanic National Park elopement guide (written by a local), filled with tips, tricks, and everything you need to plan the perfect elopement in this underrated park.
How Do I Get To Lassen Volcanic National Park?
There are a few different ways to reach the park, though the most popular is by car. Below are the closest airports to the park.
- Redding Municipal Airport – 50 minutes. This is the closest airport to Lassen. The airport offers direct flights from Seattle, San Francisco, LAX, Burbank, and Las Vegas.
- Reno-Tahoe International Airport – 2.5 hours. This is a great airport for those along the West Coast. This is a smaller airport, so prices are often a bit more expensive than Sacramento, but it’s closer to the park overall.
- Sacramento International Airport – 3 hours. This is the most popular airport to fly into, as there are more flight options for couples along the East Coast.
5 Best Places to Elope in Lassen Volcanic National Park
Whether you’re looking for alpine lakes, volcanic peaks, or waterfalls, Lassen has you covered. Here are the 5 best places to elope in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Tackle the highest peak in Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lassen Peak, and stand atop an active volcano. The trail is relatively short, at 2.5 miles each way, but with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet, the steep ascent makes this hike one of the more difficult in the park. However, the views from the top are unbeatable. Take in sweeping views of the valley floor, nearby lakes, and even Mt. Shasta on a clear day. There is no better place in the park for a mountaintop ceremony.
While the name is intimidating, Bumpass Hell is what makes Lassen known as a “mini Yellowstone.” Bubbling mud pots, sulfur vents, and boiling pools make this 2.7 mile roundtrip walk an unforgettable experience. This is a stunning, colorful hike among some of the most unique scenery you can find and is a great trail for people of all ages. This is one of the more popular trails in the park, so plan your trip here to be around sunrise or sunset.
Manzanita Lake is one of the most photographed lakes in Lassen. This area is one of the most well-known camping spots in the park, so the lake can get a bit busy, especially in the summer. However, visit during sunrise or sunset and see the beauty this area has to offer. This is the perfect location for elopements with friends and family, as there is no hiking required. I personally adore this location in the fall.
Kings Creek Falls
If you’re a lover of waterfalls, be sure to consider Kings Creek Falls for your Lassen elopement location. The 2.8 mile roundtrip trail starts at a meadow and ends at a viewing platform of the falls. Along the way, there are gorgeous groves of trees, sweeping overlooks, and rushing water. This is one of the best spots to see all the beauty that Lassen has to offer.
Ridge Lakes is one of my personal favorite spots in the park. The hike there is only one mile. However, with 1,000 feet of elevation gain, it’s steep. Don’t let this deter you though! This is a true gem. The first section of the hike takes you past hot pools and mud pots, followed by alpine meadows, and finally, ending at the alpine lake with turquoise waters. It’s truly the perfect place for a ceremony and perhaps a celebratory picnic.
When Is the Best Time of Year to Elope in Lassen?
Summer is the most popular time of year to visit Lassen. However, as a local, I usually recommend waiting until the fall. While summer is a wonderful time to visit, anywhere outside the park is extremely hot. I live in Redding, CA, which is about 45 minutes from the park. During the summer, it’s not uncommon to see temperatures over 100 degrees. That being said, if you’re hoping for snow free trails, open visitor centers, and warm campsites, summer is the time to visit.
Fall is the best time to elope in Lassen. The weather is still pleasant, the park is quiet, and wildlife is abundant. The fall season is also stunning in Lassen, sweeping the park with reds, oranges, and yellows. While many visitor centers and other park activities start to close in the fall, it’s still my favorite and most-recommend time of year to visit.
Winter is a magical time of year in Lassen. Unfortunately, the main roads in the park close after the first heavy snowfall, but some sites like Manzanita Lake and Sulphur Works stay open. There are some incredible areas right outside the park to see in the snow, but if you’re hoping for full accessibility of the park, winter may not be the season for you.
Spring is an unpredictable time in Lassen, though it’s one of the best times to visit before the busy summer rush. Most of the trails in the park are not snow-free until June. However, lower elevations like Manzanita Lake are breathtaking in the spring. If you visit during the right time, you’ll experience the creeks and waterfalls at their heaviest, wildlife all over the park, and crowd-free trails.
How Do I Get a Marriage License for My Elopement in Lassen?
You can get a marriage license in any county in California. Shasta County is the best place to get a marriage license near the park. Below are the steps to obtain one.
- Fill out the online marriage license application.
- Schedule an appointment or walk-in to the County Clerk’s office 8:00-4:30pm Monday through Friday. Both of you must be in attendance with your IDs.
- Pay the $72 marriage license fee and get your license.
- After the ceremony, mail or drop-off the marriage license at the County Clerk’s office.
The license is valid for 90 days.
If you need more information, check out the official website for Shasta County here.
Do I Need an Officiant and Witness to Elope in Lassen Volcanic National Park?
Yes, you will need one witness and an officiant to elope in Lassen.
Pro tip: I’m ordained and officiate ceremonies for free for my couples!
Do I Need a Permit to Elope in Lassen?
Yes! Because Lassen is a national park, you will need a special use permit. The process for obtaining a permit is very easy. All you need to do is fill out the special use application found on the park’s website here and email it to email@example.com. After submitting your application, you will then be instructed to pay the $75 permit fee online.
If you want more information about how to obtain a permit for your elopement, check out the official park’s website here.
Pro tip: I fill out all special use permit applications for my couples! What’s worse than wedding paperwork?
Best Places to Stay in Lassen Volcanic National Park
While the park doesn’t have any lodging aside from camping, there are a variety of different towns nearby where you can stay. Below are my top 3 recommendations.
Shingletown is located just 20 minutes from the park. With a population of 2,000 people, there is not much to do or see in this small mountain town. However, if you’re hoping to stay close, or simply just looking for a weekend getaway, Shingletown is a great place to stay.
- 3-Acre Log Cabin – A cabin tucked away in the woods with a balcony that gives you amazing views of the surrounding trees.
- A-Frame Cabin in the Woods – A cozy, pet-friendly cabin amongst the trees.
- Lassen A-Frame with Hot Tub – A modern and unique A-frame home surrounded by tall pines.
Redding (my hometown) is the main place I recommend staying. We’re located just 45 minutes from the park and offer a variety of different things to do and see. We have shopping, dining, and outdoor options for everyone.
- Modern A-Frame Home – A hilltop A-frame with sweeping views from the deck.
- MidCentury Modern Home – 1950s home with a redwood deck and hot tub.
- Rivercrest Retreat – A small and cozy studio with a private hot tub.
Susanville, similar to Shingletown, is an adorable mountain town just an hour outside of Lassen. Like Shingletown, there isn’t much to see or do here, but there are a few museums and diners to check out during your stay.
- Scenic Susanville Cabin – A waterfront cabin on Eagle Lake with floor to ceiling windows.
- Susanville’s Cutest Cottage – A tastefully designed, bright and airy cottage in a tree-lined neighborhood.
- Hiker’s Retreat Cabin – A rustic cabin for two in the midst of Plumas National Forest.
Things to Do for Your Lassen Elopement
One of the reasons I specialize and adore shooting elopements is because of the freedom and flexibility it gives each couple on their wedding day. These are a few activity ideas I recommend that you can incorporate on your very own wedding day.
- Go stargazing on Lassen Peak
- Try kayaking on the alpine lakes
- Snowshoe around Manzanita Lake
- River raft the Sacramento River
- Try out a dinner cruise
- Head to Mt. Shasta and go hiking
- Visit the local caverns
- Make fire and roast s’mores
- Pack a picnic and eat it by the lake
Lassen Volcanic National Park Elopement Packages
I’m Brianna, a Northern California-based elopement photographer who helps couples all around the world plan epic elopement days in beautiful places. Being based in Redding has allowed me to explore all the beauty Northern California has to offer. Aside from pictures, I help all my couples plan their elopements by providing location lists, vendor recommendations, permit assistance, timeline creation, and more.
- 4 hours – 2 days of elopement coverage anywhere in California
- A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- Personalized elopement location recommendations
- Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
- Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
- 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
- Customized elopement timelines
- Optional complimentary officiant services
- Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
- Travel fees to anywhere in California are already included
- Starting at $6,500
Yes, you can get married in Lassen National Park as long as you have a special use permit.
Don’t forget your FREE elopement guide!
An all-in-one planning guide for all things elopements! Whether you’re hoping to hike through the mountains of Washington or sip a margarita on the beaches of California, this comprehensive elopement guide has everything you need to know about how to plan the perfect elopement.
You? You’re the kind of person that gets a lil’ teary eyed looking at an epic view…
That moment when you turn to the person you’re with and ask, “Are you seeing this?” I live for it. Places with trees and mountains and soft breezes that make you say, “I can’t believe this place exists,” I spend pretty much all of my free time searching for and exploring them.
These places have always felt like home to me. And if you’re the kind of person who also feels more at home surrounded by trees than by people? Then we’ll get along really well. The Pacific Northwest is full of secret spots that are too special to share with just anyone. But it would make me happy to share them with you on your wedding day.
(I promise you won’t regret it.)
P.S. I’m Brianna. My mission is to create custom, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences in the Pacific Northwest that allow couples to fully immerse themselves in the highest levels of excitement and wonder on a day designed exclusively for them.