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New trails give you a look at Lassen's turbulent past.

The scars still show, more than seven decades after Lassen Peak's eruptions tore apart northeast California. Two short new trails in Lassen Volcanic National Park take you to areas of dramatic destruction and rebirth.

The Devastated Area Interpretive Trail, created by retiree-volunteers, is a 1/4-mile wheelchair-accessible loop supplied with panels explaining Lassen's former volcanic activity. Pink boulders you see along this trail, some as heavy as 400 tons, are pieces of the mountain that traveled more than 2 miles on the force of the eruption. Black rocks speckled with white crystals were actually formed in the blast. The walk starts at the Devastated Area parking lot, at road marker 44.

Lily Pond Nature Trail offers a shady amble, welcome in the hot Lassen summer. In just a mile, it leads around a small lake, through pine forest, and onto the Chaos Jumbles, a rock avalanche zone whose redundant name seems dizzyingly appropriate. A booklet available at the trailhead identifies some of the features you'll see.

This trail was closed for 17 years because park officials and the U.S. Geological Survey feared it was unsafe to walk below the Chaos Jumbles. New information has proved this to be untrue, and in honor of Lassen Park's 75th anniversary, the area is being reopened. Look for the trailhead 1/4 mile from the Manzanita Lake entrance station, across the road from the Loomis Museum.

For more on either trail (and on other Lassen activities), call (916) 595-4444. To add another dimension to a Lassen visit, stop at the Carter House Natural Science Museum in Redding's Caldwell Park, where an exhibit called Volcanoes! opens July 2. Besides learning how volcanism created some of northern California's more tortuous landscape, you can scramble through a lava tube, float a rock, even make a model volcano erupt. Carter House is on Quartz Hill Road, north of downtown. Hours are 10 to 5 Tuesdays through Sundays; admission is $1 for adults, 50 cents for ages 18 and, under. For more details, call 225-4125. n
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Title Annotation:Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
Date:Jul 1, 1991
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