One of the things one can do in early Spring in California is to go to Lassen Volcanic Park when the crowds are not there yet but the snow is gone so far that one can actually get into the park. This is place of stark contrast. There is a steep and rocky hike up Mount Lassen which offers nice views, for instance to lonely Mount Shasta.
At lower evaluations you can hike thorough lush forests to what I consider the most stunning part of the park, the Painted Dunes and Cinder Cone area.
The landscape transforms within minutes into something that borders on abstract art.
This is a pretty remote area of the park, in particular when the access roads are still closed in winter. Mayhem can happen quickly.
These pictures are now 25 years old. At some point I will need to check out how it looks today.