The Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, located just beyond the southwest entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park, offers visitors a chance to discover the geology and culture of the area through interactive exhibits. This LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, finished in October 2008, is named for the Mountain Maidu phrase for Lassen Peak, meaning “snow mountain.”
The 20-minute park film, The Story Behind the Landscape, provides an introduction to the origins of the park, spurred by the 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak, as well as the significance of the park’s biodiversity and volcanism, all set against a backdrop of entrancing footage. Afterward, visitors can locate examples of the four types of volcanoes discussed in the film on a relief map. Kids and adults alike can create their own earthquakes by jumping on top of a seismometer in the exhibit hall, which highlights the park’s geothermal features.
Visitor center staff is available to answer questions directed at helping visitors plan for safe and enjoyable adventures. They can provide information on trails and park policies, issue wilderness permits for backcountry use, and answer questions about the surrounding area. The Lassen Association bookstore offers topographic maps and hiking guides as additional resources, along with educational materials to encourage learning beyond the park boundaries.
After a hike, replenish your reserves with a drink from the café. Sip California wine with food sourced locally, when possible. Sunshine and blue skies abound on the outdoor patio in the summer months, while fireplace seating keeps hands warm in the winter. Remember your trip to Lassen with souvenirs from the adjacent gift shop, featuring T-shirts, handmade crafts and more.
Park activities include ranger-led programs on a variety of topics such as geology, wildlife, cultural history, astronomy, and more. During the winter season, visitors can learn about winter ecology by joining a ranger-led snowshoe tour. Program schedules are available online and at the information desk. Children and those curious to learn more are invited to participate in several Junior Rangers programs, including the Green Junior Ranger program, which encourages stewardship and is the first of its kind in the National Park Service.