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I would like to explore the Lassen Volcanic Wilderness, in the winter. However, quite honestly, I don't feel up to "winter backpacking" at this point. I'm OK with "winter camping", but for now I'd prefer to be doing it by car - and at a place where I can build a fire to keep warm in the evening & morning.
I see there is a campground, "Southwest Walk-in Campground", which is open year-round, but closed now due to construction of a new visitor center. In spite of lots of searching online, I haven't found anything else close by. I'm fine with "dispersed" camping - it doesn't necessarily have to be a regular campground - but of course it needs to be a place where I can park off the road, find shallow enough snow to pitch my tent & build a fire, etc, etc. I'm not experienced at all with "true winter camping".
Last year I camped at the "Lodgpole" campground in Sequoia NP, in February. There was a short walk-in, they had fire pits and tables, and a heated rest room nearby. At the risk of sounding wimpy, I'll suggest this was perfect for what I'm looking for.
I'd like someplace like this to camp, so I can go off snowshoeing by day, but have someplace to come back to to get warm and dry at night (but I am not looking for a room - I do want to camp).
Is there something I'm missing in my searches? is there something like this in the general vicinity of Lassen NP?
And a second question: given the "volcanic" nature of Lassen - is surface water OK for drinking, assuming I treat it with my MSR Miniworks filter, and assuming I find a way to keep the filter from freezing up while I'm out there? :)
Thanks in advance!