Manzanita Lake is one of the most photographed lakes in Lassen and the centerpiece of the park’s main visitor area. There’s a lot to do here: swimming, kayak rentals, ranger-led programs, cabin rentals, a large campground and camp store, and a 1.6-mile/2.6-km hiking trail that circles the lake—perfect for kids who like to explore. On its north side are great vantage points for photographers looking to capture Lassen Peak’s dramatic cone reflecting in the lake’s blue water. Stop by a small museum to see period photographs of Lassen Peak’s 1914 eruption, as well as a handsome collection of Native American baskets.
Manzanita Lake’s campground has 179 sites and all the campground niceties: showers, flush toilets, even a coin-operated laundry. No camping gear? It’s available here for rent, or stay in an assortment of tidy cabins and bunkhouses.