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Title: Lassen Trails
Author: Matteson, Stephen Halsey
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                             LASSEN TRAILS

                          STEPHEN H. MATTESON
                       Former Seasonal Naturalist

                   Illustrations by Dorothy Matteson

     _A brief guide to the Trails of Lassen Volcanic National Park_

    [Illustration: National Park Service]

                             Copyright 1963
                       Loomis Museum Association
                          Third Printing 1970
                    Produced in cooperation with the
                         National Park Service

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

  Preface                                                               3
  Introduction                                                          4
  Using the Trails: A Few Tips for Beginners                            5
  The Trails:
  1. Forest Lake and Brokeoff Mountain                                 10
  2. Mill Creek Falls                                                  12
  3. Ridge Lakes                                                       13
  4. Sulphur Works Hot Springs                                         14
  5. Bumpass Hell                                                      16
  6. Bumpass Hell to Cold Boiling Lake and Kings Creek Campground      18
  7. Lassen Peak                                                       20
  8. Terrace, Shadow, and Cliff Lakes                                  22
  9. Park Road to Summit Lake                                          23
  10. Park Road to Hat Lake                                            24
  11. Cold Boiling and Crumbaugh Lakes, Conard Meadows, Mill Creek
          Falls, and Sulphur Works Campground                          25
  12. Kings Creek Falls                                                26
  13. Summit Lake to Echo and Twin Lakes                               27
  14. Summit Lake to Horseshoe Lake via Upper Twin Lake                30
  15. Summit Lake to Horseshoe Lake via Grassy Swale Creek             32
  16. Cluster Lakes                                                    33
  17. Paradise Meadows                                                 34
  18. Chaos Crags and Crags Lake                                       36
  19. Lily Pond                                                        37
  20. Manzanita Lake                                                   38
  21. Manzanita Creek                                                  39
  22. Cinder Cone                                                      40
  23. Prospect Peak                                                    42
  24. Bathtub Lake                                                     43
  25. Butte Lake (North and East Shores)                               44
  26. Widow Lake                                                       45
  27. Butte Lake to Snag Lake                                          46
  28. Horseshoe Lake to Snag Lake                                      47
  29. Juniper Lake to Snag Lake                                        48
  30. Inspiration Point                                                50
  31. Crystal Lake                                                     51
  32. Mount Harkness                                                   52
  33. Boiling Springs Lake                                             54
  34. Devil’s Kitchen                                                  55
  Map of Lassen Volcanic National Park                              28-29


Since most of Lassen Volcanic National Park can best be seen and enjoyed
by walking the trails, this booklet is written to help those who wish to
know more about the park. Much can be observed from the Lassen Park
Road, including some of the best scenery and most interesting geology,
but to become thoroughly acquainted with the park and to appreciate
fully what it has to offer, there is no better way than walking the

Thirty-four trails are briefly described in this booklet. Rather than
give a complete description of each trail, an attempt is made to
indicate the highlights of each, giving enough information so that a
hiker can decide which trails will interest him most.

The author would like to express his thanks and appreciation to a number
of persons who have helped to make this publication possible: To Raymond
L. Nelson, former Chief Park Naturalist, for guidance and sketch maps;
Lester D. Bodine, former Chief Park Ranger; Harold L. Stanley, Robert
Ball, and H. Trickey Lewis, seasonal rangers, for their aid and
information; and to Dorothy Matteson, art department of Chico State
College for the excellent illustrations.


Lassen Volcanic National Park, established on August 9, 1916, and
containing more than 160 square miles, is administered by the National
Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior.

The National Park System, of which this park is a unit, is dedicated to
conserving the scenic, scientific, and historic heritage of the United
States for the benefit and enjoyment of its people.

Created in 1849, the Department of the Interior—America’s Department of
Natural Resources—is concerned with the management, conservation, and
development of the Nation’s water, wildlife, mineral, forest, and park
and recreation resources. It also has major responsibilities for Indian
and Territorial affairs.

As the Nation’s principal conservation agency, the Department works to
assure that nonrenewable resources are developed and used wisely, that
park and recreational resources are conserved for the future, and that
renewable resources make their full contribution to the progress,
prosperity, and security of the United States—now and in the future.


1. STAY ON THE TRAIL. This is usually a simple matter, but in a few
places animal trails obscure the main trail. On some trails orange
markers are nailed to trees to guide the hiker, and, on others, rock
cairns mark the way.

2. AVOID SHORT CUTS. In the long run, they are not short cuts, as they
use up more energy and are more tiring than the somewhat longer trail.
They are often dangerous to the person using them and, also, dislodged
rocks may injure hikers below. In addition, they always damage the trail
by filling it with debris and by accelerating erosion.

3. KEEP YOUR BEARINGS. In Lassen Volcanic there are plenty of landmarks,
so this should not be difficult. A good map will help, and topographic
maps of Lassen are available. If you are going to return via the same
trail and have any doubts about remaining on it, use the Indian method
of looking back frequently.

4. BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE. A campfire should be soaked and the ashes
thoroughly mixed with water until every ember is out. To build a
campfire anywhere except at a regular campground you must secure a
special permit from a Park Ranger. Do not smoke while hiking on the
trails. When you want a smoke, sit down, break your match before
throwing it away and completely extinguish the butt before leaving.

5. KEEP TOGETHER. It is the person who is separated from the rest who
gets lost.

6. CONSERVE YOUR STRENGTH. The elevations in Lassen Volcanic are
considerably higher than most people are used to, and you may tire more
easily. If you start out at a pace which seems slow you are more likely
to finish than if you hurry. Rest often.


8. CARRY YOUR OWN WATER unless you know the area. The water in the
streams should be pure, but the National Park Service cannot guarantee
it against human pollution. Snow may be used, but only a little at a
time, in order to prevent cramps.

9. KEEP THE TRAILS FREE FROM LITTER. The beauty of clean, wild places is
so fragile even a bit of paper dropped can mar it.

10. WEAR PROPER CLOTHING—hiking boots for extensive or rugged hikes, and
light but warm clothing. A light jacket is recommended, as hot summer
days often cool quickly.

11. PLAN YOUR HIKE. By careful utilization of your time you will be able
to see more and have a more enjoyable trip. Allow plenty of time.
Usually it is more satisfying to thoroughly explore a few sections than
to hurriedly try to see everything.

12. CONSIDER comfort items such as, bandaids, mosquito repellant, sun
glasses, suntan lotion.

    [Illustration: Mountain Hemlock Cones]

                               THE TRAILS

No attempt is made to give a complete description of any trail, but
instead to give sufficient information to enable a prospective user to
know if he is likely to find a particular one interesting. Before the
description of each trail, the following items are given: Starting
point, distance, topography, time, and features. Many starting points
are at guide marker numbers which are referred to in the _Road Guide to
Lassen Volcanic National Park_. “Topography” refers to the vertical rise
or fall. For example a “descent of 500 feet” means a drop in elevation
of 500 feet. As “Time” varies considerably among different persons; an
attempt is made to indicate the time needed for a leisurely hike. A
young person in good condition will require less time than indicated,
while a bird watcher, photographer, or naturalist might take much

It is hoped that with these items indicated, as well as a description of
the more interesting features of each trail, you will be able to decide
which trails will offer the greatest satisfaction and enjoyment.

Opening of the trails in the park varies from year to year according to
the amount of snow during the previous winter. During July, August and
September most of the trails are open.

The following tables of opening dates are for years of average snowfall,
and the actual dates will vary from two weeks earlier to two weeks later
than indicated. Trails at lower elevations and on open slopes facing
south will be available as much as a month earlier than higher trails on
north slopes, or trails through heavy forest. Trail crews attempt to
open some trails early, especially the Lassen Peak and Bumpass Hell
trails. Even though snow has melted, down trees may prevent easy hiking
until trail crews can find time to work the trails.

  MAY 15
    Lily Pond
    Manzanita Lake
    Sulphur Works
  JUNE 1
    Bathtub Lake
    Butte Lake
    Cinder Cone
  JUNE 15
    Boiling Springs Lake
    Chaos Crags and Crags Lake
    Cluster Lakes
    Devil’s Kitchen Lake
    Mill Creek Falls
    Paradise Meadow
    Summit Lake to Echo and Twin Lakes
    Summit Lake to Horseshoe Lake via Upper Twin Lake
    Summit Lake to Horseshoe Lake via Grassy Swale Creek
    Widow Lake
  JULY 1
    Bumpass Hell
    Butte Lake to Snag Lake
    Cold Boiling and Crumbaugh Lakes
    Crystal Lake
    Forest Lake
    Horseshoe Lake to Snag Lake
    Inspiration Point
    Juniper Lake to Snag Lake
    Kings Creek Falls
    Lassen Peak
    Manzanita Creek
    Mount Harkness
    Park Road to Summit Lake
    Park Road to Hat Lake
    Prospect Peak
    Ridge Lakes
    Terrace, Shadow, and Cliff Lakes
  JULY 15
    Brokeoff Mountain

    [Illustration: MAP SYMBOLS]



  Starting Point:  Guide Marker 2
  Distances:       Forest Lake, 1.5 miles; Brokeoff Mountain, 3.7
                   miles. Total round trip 7.4 miles
  Topography:      Uphill—Forest Lake, 700 feet; Brokeoff Mountain,
                   2600 feet
  Time:            Forest Lake, 2½ hours; Brokeoff Mountain, 5 hours
  Features:        Scenic views, flowers, streams

    [Illustration: Trail map]

For sheer beauty and rugged mountain scenery the Brokeoff trail is one
of the best in Lassen. From the entrance station it climbs steadily
through open meadows and forest for two miles and then through the
scattered hemlocks and finally above timberline to the top. Forest Lake
is near the trail, and is a good objective for a leisurely nature walk.
A wide variety of wildflowers will be found changing with the seasons,
and the Brewer mountainheath produces an outstanding display. Birds
frequently seen include juncos, chickadees, western tanagers,
flycatchers, and a number of others. Deer are common.

Beyond Forest Lake the forest becomes more open. At the west end of the
mountain just before the last half mile of climb, there is a good view
of Mt. Shasta. From the top of the mountain there are good views of
Lassen Peak, Conard, Chaos Crags, Diller, Shasta, and other mountains of
the vicinity. Also, the view of the old Tehama caldera is excellent from
this point.

Pikas are sometimes seen among the rocks near the top, and marmots among
the rocks at lower elevations.

Snow is likely to be found in places along the trail until about
mid-August, and there is usually too much snow for climbing before

    [Illustration: Mountain Chickadee]


  Starting Point:  Sulphur Works Campground
  Distances:       2.3 miles, round trip 4.6 miles
  Topography:      Downhill about 300 feet and uphill about the same
  Time:            2½ hours
  Features:        Waterfall, forest, flowers

    [Illustration: Trail map]

Mill Creek Falls is the highest waterfall in the park with a drop of 75
feet. It is at the junction of East Sulphur and Bumpass creeks. Because
of the surrounding forest and rugged terrain there are only two or three
points from which it can be photographed.

The trail descends to the crossing of West Sulphur Creek, crosses an
open hillside and follows through forested areas to the falls. Deer are
likely to be seen as well as a variety of birds. Mule-ears, also called
wyethia, is the common wildflower that covers the open hillsides. Many
other wildflowers, including the blue and white stickseed, can be seen.
There are good views of Brokeoff Mountain and Mount Diller.

There are no fish in the streams near the falls nor for some distance
below as there is too much sulphur from the thermal areas above. Farther
down, the water is diluted sufficiently for fish to live.

The trail continues beyond the crossing of East Sulphur and Bumpass
creeks to Kings Creek Campground. (See Cold Boiling and Crumbaugh Lakes


  Starting Point:  Sulphur Works parking area
  Distances:       1.1 miles, round trip 2.2 miles
  Topography:      Rather steep climb of 1,000 feet
  Time:            2 hours
  Features:        Lakes, flowers, scenic views, wildlife, forests

    [Illustration: Trail map]

These small lakes are in a cirque below the rim of the old Mount Tehama
caldera. From them excellent views of Mount Diller and Diamond Peak can
be seen. You will find good subjects for pictures, and naturalists will
find a variety of flowers (including the striking leopard lily), birds,
trees, and probably deer.

The trail follows the ridge directly above the parking area for about a
half mile, going through red fir and white pine forests. It then crosses
an open hillside and finally goes over the moraine below the lakes. When
the water is high the two lakes are joined into one. Above the lakes
game trails go up the side of the Tehama rim, which is steep and covered
with loose rock. Only experienced hikers should continue, and never


  Starting Point:  East end of the parking area
  Distances:       0.3 mile, round trip
  Topography:      A few steep places
  Time:            25 minutes
  Features:        Hydrothermal activity

    [Illustration: Trail map]

The name “Sulphur Works” was given to this area when two men, Boarman
and Supan, tried unsuccessfully to develop the sulphur and clay
properties in 1865. The hydrothermal activity consists of hot springs,
mud pots, and fumaroles. As a result of the hydrothermal activity a
number of different minerals are deposited in the area giving it pastel
shades of yellow, orange, green, and red. Some of the minerals found are
powdery opal, chalcedony, hematite, pyrite, kaolinite, alunite, and

It is believed that this is part of the vent system of the ancient
volcano, Mount Tehama, which collapsed thousands of years ago. Signs
posted along the trail explain the various features. This is the only
hydrothermal area close to the park road.

As crusts may be thin with boiling water underneath, visitors are warned
to stay on the trail.

    [Illustration: Bumpass Hell]


  Starting Point:  Parking area by Guide Marker 17
  Distances:       Round trip to view point, 2.2 miles; round trip over
                   entire nature trail, 3.0 miles
  Topography:      A gradual climb of 500 feet in the first mile, and a
                   descent of 250 feet into the thermal area
  Time:            2 hours to view point and return, 3 hours for
                   complete round trip
  Features:        Hydrothermal activity, glacial evidence, scenic
                   views, flowers, forest

    [Illustration: Trail map]

Bumpass Hell is the largest hydrothermal area in the park, and the trail
to it is one of the most scenic. Because of the popularity of this trail
it is usually opened around July 1, although occasionally the snow is
too deep and opening has to be postponed. The first mile is an open and
sparsely wooded mountainside with grand views of Lassen, Brokeoff,
Diller, and Diamond peaks, as well as the more distant Sierra.

The hydrothermal area can be seen from the summit of the trail. Dropping
into the area the trail passes by a number of hot springs, steam vents,
mud pots and boiling pools. A variety of trees and wildflowers are along
the trail, chiefly mountain hemlock and white-bark pine, silver leaf
lupine, red penstemon, bog kalmia and other flowers. Birds, too, are
abundant, and deer, marmots, and pikas may be encountered.

At the beginning of the trail is a box with self-guiding leaflets
describing the numbered points of interest on the trail. We urge you to
use them. You are warned to stay on the established trails as crusts are
thin over some hot areas.

    [Illustration: Lake Helen]


  Starting Point:  Bumpass Hell parking area
  Distances:       4 miles one way
  Topography:      A rise of 500 feet in the first mile followed by a
                   descent of 1,000 feet
  Time:            5 hours, round trip
  Features:        Flowers, forest, scenic views, hydrothermal activity

    [Illustration: Trail map]

Following the trail from Bumpass Hell to the Kings Creek campground
furnishes an interesting variation from the usual round trip. Starting
at stake 23 on the Bumpass Hell self-guiding trail, it crosses the creek
and leaves the basin on the east side. It then goes downgrade for 1½
miles to Cold Boiling Lake. Along this section of the trail are good
views of Mount Conard and Crumbaugh Lake, and the wildflower display,
especially lupine, is exceptionally good in the open places where seeps
provide moisture.

Cold gas bubbles are continuously coming from Cold Boiling Lake, hence
its name. From Cold Boiling Lake the trail is in the open, passing by
clumps of mountain hemlock and other trees.

By arranging for pick up at Kings Creek, this trail makes an ideal
downhill hike, and cuts the time in half.

    [Illustration: White-bark Pine]


  Starting Point:  Parking lot by Guide Marker 22
  Distances:       2.5 miles to top, round trip 5 miles
  Topography:      2,000 feet uphill on a steady and rather steep grade
                   (15%), starting at 8,500 feet elevation
  Time:            4½ hours, round trip
  Features:        Scenic views, recent volcanic activity, timberline

    [Illustration: Trail map]

Although persons of all ages have climbed Lassen Peak, it is not
recommended for children under 4, unless carried part way, nor for
adults past 70, unless in exceptionally good physical condition.
Experienced hikers will find it a comparatively easy hike. But many who
climb it are not experienced and may suffer mildly from being winded and
from tired muscles and feet. Many people do not allow enough time for
the trip. By starting slowly and resting often, most people should be
able to reach the summit and experience the thrill of being on “top of
the world”.

The mountain Chickadee and Clark’s nutcracker are commonly seen along
the trail. The gnarled mountain hemlocks and white-bark pines at
timberline, clinging tenaciously to the windswept slopes, are truly
picturesque. Views of distant peaks and lakes are magnificent. On the
very top, the skunkleaf polemonium blooms profusely in the short,
snow-free season.

Take water (snow won’t really quench your thirst) and a sweater or
jacket along. If you walk through the craters on top of the peak, use
extreme caution. DO NOT SHORTCUT.

In the event a summer thunder storm develops, it is best to turn back.
Lightning strikes outstanding projections, and the top of Lassen Peak is
a favorite target. Never remain on any mountaintop during a thunder

Leaflets explaining the past geologic history as well as present natural
history of the peak are available to make your hike more enjoyable.

    [Illustration: Pilot Pinnacle]


  Starting Point:  Guide Marker 27
  Distances:       Terrace Lake, 0.5 mile; Shadow Lake, 0.8 mile; Cliff
                   Lake, 1.5 miles. Round trip 3 miles
  Topography:      Downhill, 300 feet to Terrace Lake, 350 to Shadow
                   Lake, and 650 to Cliff Lake, uphill on return
  Time:            Terrace Lake, 1 hour; Shadow Lake, 1½ hours, Cliff
                   Lake, 3 hours, all round trip times
  Features:        Forests, lakes, flowers

    [Illustration: Trail map]

These three jewels lie in cirques under the north base of Reading Peak,
and are not difficult to reach. For the photographer they present plenty
of contrasting colors, for the naturalist a variety of trees, flowers,
birds, and animal life.

From the sign at the highway the trail descends rapidly. The trail forks
after 0.2 of a mile, the left fork going to Hat Lake and the right fork
to Terrace Lake. After Terrace Lake it passes along the shore of Shadow
Lake, and then through open woods and meadows for over a half mile to
the Cliff Lake junction. An animal trail goes towards Reading Peak
through a meadow and over a low moraine to Cliff Lake.

Because this trail starts at a high elevation and is largely on north
slopes it is not free from snow as early as many trails of the park.


  Starting Point:  Guide Marker 27
  Distances:       To road at guide marker 38, 3.7 miles; to Summit
                   Lake, 4.2 miles; both distances one way
  Topography:      Downhill, dropping 1,300 feet
  Time:            3 hours, one way
  Features:        Lakes, forest, flowers, scenic views

    [Illustration: Trail map]

The first part of this trail is #8, then it continues beyond the Cliff
Lake junction, down to the park road. There is a good variety of trees,
wildflowers, and birds. And for a feeling of being completely in the
wilderness, this trail is ideal, for a few yards off the road there are
no noises of civilization nor other reminders of the bustle of the

Beyond the Cliff Lake turnoff the trail descends quite rapidly through
the Open forest, which becomes more dense as it approaches the lower
loop of the road. Lupines, both yellow and blue, are the predominant
flowers along the trail. At higher elevations the mountain hemlocks are
most common, but give way to red firs, white pines, and ponderosa pines
as the trail descends.

By arranging for transportation at guide marker 38 where the trail
crosses the road, one can have an easy hike of about 3 hours. The return
hike uphill will take about twice as long as coming down.


  Starting Point:  Guide Marker 27
  Distances:       2.8 miles, one way
  Topography:      Downhill, 1,600 feet, descending rapidly in places
  Time:            2½ hours, one way
  Features:        Flowers, forests, scenic views, stream

    [Illustration: Trail map]

Starting where Trails No. 8 and 9 start, 0.2 mile from the road the left
trail fork is followed, and the trail passes through forests and other
natural features similar to No. 8 and 9. A number of good views of
Lassen Peak can be seen along the way. For wildflowers it is one of the
best in the park for variety, with lupine, scarlet gilia, red and blue
penstemon, monkshood, columbine, and many others.

After separating from the Terrace Lake trail it goes through open
forests, then descends rapidly before crossing the east fork of Hat
Creek. Just past this crossing the Paradise Meadows trail turns to the
right (south) while the Hat Creek trail turns to the left. The short
trip to Paradise Meadows is well worth the time, for here you can find
one of the outstanding wildflower displays of the park. The Hat Creek
trail descends through the forests to the Devastated Area and Hat Lake,
reaching the park road at guide marker 42. By arranging transportation
at Hat Lake, the hike is an easy one, taking about 2½ hours. The round
trip will require 6 or 7 hours.


  Starting Point:  Kings Creek Campground
  Distances:       Cold Boiling Lake, 0.8 mile; Crumbaugh Lake, 1.3;
                   Conard Meadows, 2.2; Mill Creek Falls, 3; Sulphur
                   Works Campground 5.3; all distances one way
  Topography:      Downhill 800 feet to campground
  Time:            Cold Boiling Lake, ¾ hour; Crumbaugh Lake 1½ hours;
                   Conard Meadows, 2 hours; Sulphur Works Campground, 4
                   hours. For round trips times should be at least
  Features:        Forests, flowers, waterfalls, lakes, scenic views,

    [Illustration: Trail map]

This little-traveled area is excellent for birds, wildflowers, and deer.
Cold Boiling Lake is so named because gas bubbles are continually rising
at some points near the shore. The meadow by Crumbaugh Lake has a
variety of wildflowers and Conard Meadows is ideal for wildlife. There
are no fish in either lake, as they will not live when introduced.

The trail is fairly level to Cold Boiling Lake, and then descends to
Crumbaugh Lake. It is level to Conard Meadows, and from there to Mill
Creek Falls descends by a steep grade (see Mill Creek Falls trail). A
one-way trip to the Sulphur Works campground, arranging for
transportation at the lower end, makes an ideal, easy, half-day hike.


  Starting Point:  Guide Marker 32
  Distances:       3 miles round trip
  Topography:      Descent of 700 feet
  Time:            2½ hours
  Features:        Waterfalls, cascades, forest, flowers

    [Illustration: Trail map]

About half a mile down, the trail splits. It is recommended that the
left trail be followed downhill, where it rejoins the other section. The
right fork follows the cascades, and is much easier to climb on the
return trip. The trail goes down through pine and fir forests, and over
a meadow where flowers bloom all summer. Here one can find the leopard
lily, grass-of-parnassus, and many others. Watch for glacial polishing
on the rocks along the way.

Morning is the best time to photograph the falls, as later in the day
(after 2:00 p.m.) they are in shadow. The height of the falls is about
30 feet.

Follow the beautiful cascades (left) on the return trip. Watch for
mountainash, as this is one of the few places one can see this small,
shrublike tree that produces clumps of brilliant red berries in late
August and September.

Below the falls the trail continues downhill to Drakesbad, another 2.5


  Starting Point:  East side of Summit Lake, from the trail that
                   encircles the lake
  Distances:       Echo lake, 2 miles; Upper Twin, 3½ miles; Lower
                   Twin, 4 miles, one way
  Topography:      Uphill 500 feet in the first mile, descending 500
                   feet to Lower Twin Lake
  Time:            Echo Lake, 1½ hours; Upper Twin, 2½ hours; Lower
                   Twin, 3 hours, all one way. Double these times for
                   round trips
  Features:        Lakes, forests, flowers

    [Illustration: Trail map]

This is a good nature trail, as many kinds of wildflowers, trees, and
birds are found. Deer are common in the area. Swimming is good in late
summer. This is also a favorite trail for overnight hikers as it leads
to the wilderness area of the eastern part of the park.

Hardy hikers may wish to go beyond Twin Lakes. The trail continues past
Rainbow Lake to Snag Lake, 3.5 miles, and another trail goes to Butte
Lake, 5.5 miles.



  Starting Point:  East side of Summit Lake
  Distances:       8 miles, one way
  Topography:      Two ridges to cross, 500 feet and 300 feet
  Time:            6 hours one way. For round trip, it will take
                   approximately twice the time
  Features:        Lakes, forest, flowers, wildlife

    [Illustration: Trail map]

This is one of the two main trails to the east part of the park.
Horseshoe Lake can also be reached by a dirt road from Chester. If
transportation can be arranged this trail will make a comparatively easy
day’s hike. There is a campground at Horseshoe Lake, so it can make a
good objective for an overnight hike. Hardy hikers can make the round
trip in one day.

The first part of the trip is most of No. 13, and from Upper Twin Lake
the trail goes south and passes close to the base of Crater Butte. Part
of the trip is in open meadows and part through fir-pine forest.

An interesting variation for a round trip is to return via Grassy Swale
Creek. (See No. 15, Summit Lake to Horseshoe Lake via Grassy Swale

    [Illustration: Mountain lake]


  Starting Point:  South end of Summit Lake campground
  Distances:       8 miles, one way
  Topography:      Downgrade 700 feet during first 3 miles, then
                   gradually upgrade 500 feet
  Time:            6 hours, one way. Double the time for round trip
  Features:        Flowers, forest, lakes, wildlife, streams

    [Illustration: Trail map]

Grassy Swale Creek passes through some beautiful meadows in which are
found a variety of wildflowers. Sundew, a rare, insect-eating plant, may
be found near the trail in the wet section of the meadow about one mile
northeast of Corral Meadow. Douglas spirea also makes a colorful display

The trail descends along Summit Creek about 3 miles to Corral Meadow.
Here it leaves the Drakesbad trail, crosses Kings Creek and follows
along Grassy Swale Creek to the base of Crater Butte. It then follows on
to Horseshoe Lake. It may be quite wet in places until late summer.
Mosquito repellent may be needed.

This is an excellent trail for naturalists as many species of trees,
flowers, birds, and mammals can be observed.


  Starting Point:  Locked gate at Budget Flat. Badger Flat is 6 miles
                   down the dirt road which leaves the Park Road at
                   Guide Marker 41
  Distances:       First Cluster Lake, 2 miles; second, 2.5; Silver
                   Lake, 3; Big Bear Lake, 4, one way
  Topography:      Uphill 200 feet on a gradual grade
  Time:            Round trips: 2½, 3, 4 and 5 hours respectively
  Features:        Lakes, forest, flowers

    [Illustration: Trail map]

This group of six lakes is easily reached by the trail from Badger Flat.

Mule-ears (wyethia) puts on a magnificent display in Badger Flats, and
falsehellebore is prevalent in places. Spreading phlox is especially
attractive in late June and early July along the beginning of the trail,
and paintbrush further up, along with Newberry penstemon or

The trail passes through open forested areas in a relatively level
section of Lassen. After passing the second lake the trail forks. The
left trail goes to Silver Lake. The trail continues over rather level
terrain past Feather Lake to Lower Twin Lake, another 2 miles.

From Big Bear Lake the trail continues 3.5 miles to Summit Lake,
crossing two ridges on the way.


  Starting Point:  Hat lake parking area, Guide Marker 42
  Distances:       1.5 miles, one way
  Topography:      Uphill, 600 feet
  Time:            2 hours, one way, 3 hours for round trip
  Features:        Flowers, forest, stream

    [Illustration: Trail map]

For wildflowers during midsummer Paradise Meadows is one of the best
areas in the park. Elephanthead and gentian can be seen near Hat Lake;
scarlet gilia along the first mile; and columbine, lupine, monkshood,
penstemon (both red and blue), falsehellebore, and many other species
will be found in the meadow area. Also, it is a good area to see birds
and deer.

For about a mile the trail goes up rather steeply. At the meadows there
are good views of Lassen and Reading peaks, and the cirque in which the
meadows lie.

Upon reaching lower Paradise Meadows a trail turns to the right. This
goes to the Park Road near Terrace Lake. (See Park Road to Hat Lake

    [Illustration: Mertens Cassiope]


  Starting Point:  The trail leaves the Manzanita Lake Camp road about
                   100 yards south of the store and near the creek
  Distances:       1.8 miles, one way
  Topography:      Uphill about 700 feet
  Time:            3 hours, round trip
  Features:        Forest, flowers, recent volcanic activity, dwarfed

    [Illustration: Trail map]

Chaos Crags were formed by lava being forced upward and hardening in
place, similar to squeezing toothpaste out of a tube. Considerable
volcanic activity took place in the crater at the north base of the
Crags. As a result of this activity a huge landslide occurred, strewing
rocks over 2½ square miles, including the area around Manzanita and
Reflection lakes. This rock slide is called Chaos Jumbles.

The trail follows through pine-fir forests close to the edge of the
Jumbles. Many saprophytes can be seen along the trail, together with
pipsissewa and pyrolas.

The crater at the base of the Crags is filled with snow early in the
season, later melting to form a small lake which may dry up toward the
end of the summer.

The trees in the Jumbles are small, but in spite of their size, many are
over 250 years old. From the age of the oldest trees it is estimated
that the eruption and landslide occurred about 1690.


  Starting Point:  Across the Park Road from the Manzanita Lake Visitor
  Distances:       1 mile
  Topography:      Level
  Time:            1 hour
  Features:        Trees, flowers, shrubs, ponds, recent volcanic

    [Illustration: Trail map]

This trail is maintained by the National Park Service primarily as a
nature trail. Leaflets are available describing 43 numbered points of
interest, many of which are trees, shrubs, and flowers. Ten of the 12
species of coniferous trees found in the park are along this trail. In
the pond itself are aquatic plants and amphibians. The willows and
alders nearby are shelters for several species of birds. Deer are
frequently seen in the area, as well as ground squirrels and other small
mammals. In the early summer the brilliant snowplant is quite common
along the trail.

This is an excellent trail for a person to become acquainted with the
flora and fauna of Lassen Volcanic National Park. Leaflets may be
purchased at the trail head describing 43 points of interest.


  Starting Point:  Any place along the lake
  Distances:       1.7 miles around the lake
  Topography:      Level
  Time:            1½ hours
  Features:        Lake, flowers, wildlife, trees, shrubs, scenic views

    [Illustration: Trail map]

On the south side of the lake the trail goes through manzanita brush and
open meadows. Along the west side is ponderosa pine forest with alder
thickets by the lake. Along this stretch can be seen some of the few
black cottonwood trees found in the park. On the north side is the road,
with willow and alder thickets by the shore, and on the east side is the
lodge and campground. From the west side are excellent views of Lassen
Peak and Chaos Crags. A good variety of birds may be observed, including
ducks, geese, coots, grebes, warblers, finches, swallows, blackbirds,
sapsuckers, and nighthawks. Deer are frequently seen in the manzanita.
An easy, pleasant walk.


  Starting Point:  South end of Manzanita lake Campground
  Distances:       3.5 miles to upper meadows, one way
  Topography:      Uphill, 1,250 feet
  Time:            5 hours for the round trip
  Features:        Forest, flowers, scenic views, stream

    [Illustration: Trail map]

This hike starts on a fire road that provides steady, but relatively
easy climbing. The first 0.7 mile is through manzanita, and birds and
smaller mammals can be observed. When the forest of red fir and
lodgepole pine is reached the trail becomes much more appealing, and
striking views of Chaos Crags and Lassen Peak are glimpsed through the

On the last half mile, where the creek winds and tumbles through sloping
meadows, the wildflower display is magnificent. Flowers bloom profusely
through July and August. Walk through the upper meadows to see the
Lassen paintbrush (found only in this park), the pink Lewis
monkeyflower, the brilliant fireweed, both the blue and the white
monkshood, and many others. Camera, binoculars, and lunch are all
advisable for this trip.


  Starting Point:  West end of Butte Lake Campground
  Distances:       2 miles to the summit, one way. A trail continues
                   down the south side for a round trip of 5 miles.
  Topography:      800 feet climbing cone
  Time:            3 hours to the cone summit and back, 4 hours if
                   trail down south slope is followed back to Butte
                   Lake Campground
  Features:        Forest, recent volcanic activity, history, views

    [Illustration: Trail map]

This is one of the most perfectly formed cinder cones in the United
States, and one of the most recent. In the spring of 1851, pioneers
following Emigrant, or Nobles, Trail saw the results of the previous
winter’s eruption.

For persons interested in geology or photography this trail is a must.
It goes through open forest for about 1.5 miles, close to the base of
the cone, and the rest of the trail is in the open. The trail up the
cone is fairly steep, and is in loose Cinders, making climbing similar
to what it would be in loose sand. The climb is not difficult if made
with frequent rest stops. High shoes or boots are advisable.

The Cinder Cone Summit commands excellent views of Lassen, Prospect,
Harkness, and other mountains, of Butte and Snag Lakes, and of the
Fantastic Lava Beds and Painted Dunes. A trail completely encircles the
double crater, and a spur goes down into the crater. Another trail
continues down the south side of the cone and encircles it, adding
another mile for a 5 mile round trip. It passes near the 1851 vent from
which lava flowed. This is now a small ice grotto.

Self-guiding leaflets which describe 44 numbered points of interest may
be purchased at the Ranger Station.

    [Illustration: Mountain Hemlock Cones]


  Starting Point:  Cinder Cone Trail Marker 13
  Distances:       3.5 miles to the summit
  Topography:      2,200 feet of climbing
  Time:            5 hours for the round trip of 7 miles
  Features:        Scenic views, forest

    [Illustration: Trail map]

Prospect Peak provides commanding views of Lassen, Harkness, West
Prospect, Shasta, and other surrounding mountains, several lakes, and
the crater of the Cinder Cone. In the early summer there is a small lake
in the crater of Prospect Peak, an ancient volcano.

About a half mile from Butte Lake the trail leaves the Cinder Cone
trail, and climbs steadily through ponderosa pine, fir, and sub-alpine
forests to above timberline. Birds and other wildlife abound, and
occasionally, bobcats or even a mountain lion may be seen.

During June and early July there is snow in the crater. No drinking
water is available.


  Starting Point:  Butte Lake Parking Lot
  Distances:       0.4 mile, one way
  Topography:      70 foot climb at start
  Time:            1 hour for the round trip
  Features:        Lakes, forest, flowers

    [Illustration: Trail map]

This is a delightful, easy walk through open ponderosa pine and fir
forest to two small lakes. The first lake is a quarter mile and the
second (Bathtub) a half mile from the camp. For good (not icy) swimming
these lakes are recommended. And for a leisurely nature walk one can
easily spend two hours looking for birds and flowers and identifying
trees and shrubs.

25. BUTTE LAKE (North and East Shores)

  Starting Point:  Butte Lake Parking Lot
  Distances:       2 miles to the south end of the lake
  Topography:      Uphill 150 feet and down along the north shore, then
                   quite level
  Time:            3 hours for the round trip
  Features:        Forest, scenic views, flowers, lake

    [Illustration: Trail map]

For sheer beauty and a feeling of wilderness, this is an excellent
trail. Good views of the lake and the Cinder Cone are frequent. Deer and
a variety of birds, trees, and flowers may be observed.

In the first mile the trail ascends a hill overlooking the lake. After
crossing Butte Creek it follows close to the shore to the south end.

From the south end of the lake the trail continues 2.5 miles to Snag
Lake and another 3 miles to either Juniper or Horseshoe lakes. (See
Trail No. 27, Butte Lake to Snag Lake; No. 28, Horseshoe Lake to Snag
Lake; and No. 29, Juniper Lake to Snag Lake.)


  Starting Point:  Butte Lake Parking Lot
  Distances:       4 miles, one way
  Topography:      Climb of 1,000 feet
  Time:            5½ hours for the round trip
  Features:        Lake, forest, scenic views

    [Illustration: Trail map]

The first 2 miles is trail No. 25, Butte Lake. From the Widow Lake trail
are scenic views of Cinder Cone, Lassen Peak, Prospect Peak, Mount
Harkness, and many other mountains of the vicinity. From the south end
of Butte Lake the trail climbs rapidly, about 1,000 feet in 2 miles.

From Widow Lake the trail continues south, past the Red Cinder Cone to
Jakey Lake (6 miles), and on to Juniper Lake (10 miles).


  Starting Point:  Butte Lake Parking Lot
  Distances:       6.5 miles to south end of Snag Lake, one way
  Topography:      Rise of 100 feet
  Time:            5 hours round trip to north end of Snag Lake, 8
                   hours round trip to south end of Snag Lake
  Features:        Lakes, recent volcanic activity, forest, flowers

    [Illustration: Trail map]

The first 2 miles is Trail No. 25, Butte Lake. From the south end of
Butte Lake there are two trails. One, not maintained by the Park
Service, goes by the base of the lava flow, and the other goes through
the forest to Snag Lake. Along the lava flow one can easily picture the
volcanic activity as the trail winds close to huge basalt blocks.

The two trails come together at the bay on the east shore and one trail
continues to the south end of the lake. From this point a trail leads to
Juniper Lake, another to Horseshoe Lake, and another around Snag Lake
and back to Butte Lake via the Cinder Cone. The total distances from
Butte Lake are: to Juniper or Horseshoe lakes, 10 miles; and around Snag
Lake and the Cinder Cone back to Butte Lake, 13 miles.


  Starting Point:  Horseshoe Lake Ranger Station
  Distances:       3 miles, one way, to southern end of Snag lake
  Topography:      Descent of 600 feet
  Time:            3½ hours, round trip
  Features:        Lakes, stream, flowers, forest, history

    [Illustration: Trail map]

In the meadow northeast of the Horseshoe Lake Ranger Station the remains
of an early settler’s cabin can be seen, and many wildflowers and birds.
The trail follows Grassy Creek much of the way to Snag Lake.

Snag Lake was created by lava flows from Cinder Cone damming Grassy
Creek. The trees that were killed slowly rotted and fell into the lake,
but in the early days of the park there were many standing snags to be
seen. Since the lake seeps through lava, the level varies considerably
from year to year and season to season, depending on the rains.

Trails follow both the east and west sides of Snag Lake, continuing to
Butte Lake. (See Trail No. 27.)


  Starting Point:  Juniper Lake Ranger Station
  Distances:       3 miles, one way, to southern end of Snag Lake
  Topography:      Climb 240 feet in first half mile, followed by a
                   descent of 1,000 feet
  Time:            4½ hours, round trip
  Features:        Lakes, stream, flowers, forest, history

    [Illustration: Trail map]

Wildflowers bloom profusely in Cameron Meadows during July and often
into August, and it is a good area for birds and deer. Here, also, are
the remains of an early settler’s cabin.

The trail is shaded by ponderosa pine and fir forest most of the way,
except for a short stretch at Cameron Meadows. From here it swings close
to the east fork of Grassy Creek and continues on to Snag Lake.

From Snag Lake Trail No. 27 continues on to Butte Lake.

    [Illustration: Jeffrey Pine]


  Starting Point:  Juniper Lake Ranger Station
  Distances:       0.8 mile to the overlook
  Topography:      Climb of 400 feet
  Time:            2½ hours for the round trip
  Features:        Scenic views, forest

    [Illustration: Trail map]

Inspiration Point is well named, as it affords some of the finest views
of Lassen, Harkness, Prospect, and more distant mountains. Snag, Butte,
and Juniper lakes are in full view, as well as Cameron Meadows and
Cinder Cone. To the southeast of the trail, as you approach Inspiration
Point, look for the fine specimens of western juniper. The trail climbs
steadily through western white pine and red fir timber to the open area
of the point. Various birds may be seen as well as deer and small


  Starting Point:  From along the road on the east side of Juniper Lake
                   about a mile from the ranger station
  Distances:       0.4 mile, one way
  Topography:      Climb of 450 feet
  Time:            1 hour, round trip
  Features:        Lake, scenic views, forest

    [Illustration: Trail map]

This lake lies in a cirque below the Crystal Cliffs. From the trail are
views of Juniper Lake, Lassen and other peaks. Many consider it the most
beautiful lake in Lassen. A relatively easy hike through forests and
meadows surrounding the lake.


  Starting Point:  Juniper Lake near campground at the southeast end
  Distances:       2 miles to the summit of Mount Harkness
  Topography:      1,300-foot climb
  Time:            4 hours for the round trip
  Features:        Forest, scenic views

    [Illustration: Trail map]

The trail winds upward through the pine-fir forest. On top of Mount
Harkness is the only fire lookout station in the park. From it are
outstanding views of Juniper Lake and Lassen, Brokeoff, Prospect, and
other peaks in the park, as well as the Sierra to the south and other
mountains to the east and north. On top, the brilliant red bloom of the
smooth cycladenia brightens the rocky slopes during July.

The lookout is staffed during the summer months and usually these people
are glad to have visitors provided water or food are not requested. All
of their supplies must be packed to the mountain top.

By proceeding down the west side of Mount Harkness, then turning
northeast along the shores of Juniper Lake, an interesting all-day hike
can be had. The round trip will require about 6 hours and involve about
5½ miles of hiking.

    [Illustration: Trail map]


  Starting Point:  Drakesbad Lodge
  Distances:       1 mile to the lake, 2 miles round trip
  Topography:      Easy 200-foot climb
  Time:            2 hours for the round trip
  Features:        Flowers, forest, hydrothermal activity

    [Illustration: Trail map]

A number of steam vents are located under Boiling Springs Lake, keeping
the temperature of the lake around 125 degrees. The mudpots on the
southeast shore are among the best in the park. Their coloring is

The trail crosses a meadow and then goes through forest to the lake and
around it. Trees include incense-cedar, ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir,
white fir, sugar pine, and others. A variety of wildflowers are found,
and it is a good area to observe birds.

At the beginning of the trail hikers can pick up a leaflet describing 44
points of interest. These refer to trees, shrubs, flowers, geology, and
other nature subjects. This is a relatively easy walk and one can
profitably spend half a day using the leaflet.


  Starting Point:  Drakesbad Lodge
  Distances:       1.5 miles one way
  Topography:      Gradually uphill 300 feet
  Time:            2½ hours for the round trip
  Features:        Flowers, forest, hydrothermal activity

    [Illustration: Trail map]

This hydrothermal area is larger than the Sulphur Works, smaller than
Bumpass Hell, and differs from both. Hot Springs Creek runs through the
area, and on a shelf just above this creek are a number of mudpots.
Whoever named this area apparently imagined the devil cooking over these
pots. The area extends above and beyond the mudpots with a number of
steam vents on the side of the hill. And at the lower end are a group of
trees which were killed quite recently when new vents opened up. In
exploring the hot springs area, hikers should be extremely careful as
crusts may be thin and trails thru the area have not been established.

The trail to Devil’s Kitchen crosses a meadow near Drakesbad (where one
should look for wildflowers) and enters the forest. Just beyond the
meadow are some dead snags where marmots are frequently seen. Further
along, just below the trail and in the creek are some beaver dams.

This is an excellent trail for those interested in biology and geology.

                  Trails not described in the booklet:

  Kings Creek to Drakesbad, 5 miles, downhill
  Around Butte and Snag lakes via Cinder Cone, 13 miles
  Butte Lake to Rainbow and Twin lakes, 7 miles
  Summit Lake to Rainbow and Snag Lakes, 6 and 8 miles
  Juniper Lake to Jakey Lake, 3 miles
  Juniper Lake to Jakey, Widow, and Butte lakes, 12 miles
  Around Juniper Lake, 5½ miles
  Drakesbad to Drake Lake, 1½ miles
  Kings Creek to Twin Meadows, 2½ miles

These trails are shown on the topographic map of Lassen Volcanic
National Park.

Experienced hikers may want to visit places not on the trails, and with
a topographic map as a guide should be able to go to a number of places
in comparative safety. But beginners should stick to the established
trails. Before venturing off the trails one should consult with a park


                                        Trail No.         Page No.

  Bathtub Lake                                 24               43
  Boiling Springs Lake                         33               54
  Brokeoff Mountain                             1               10
  Bumpass Hell                               5, 6           16, 18
  Butte Lake                               25, 27           44, 46
  Cinder Cone                                  22               40
  Chaos Crags                                  18               36
  Cliff Lake                                    8               22
  Cluster Lakes                                16               33
  Cold Boiling Lake                         6, 11           18, 25
  Conard Meadows                               11               25
  Crags Lake                                   18               36
  Crumbaugh Lake                               11               25
  Crystal Lake                                 31               51
  Devil’s Kitchen                              34               55
  Echo Lake                                    13               27
  Forest Lake                                   1               10
  Grassy Swale Creek                           15               32
  Hat Lake                                 10, 17           24, 34
  Horseshoe Lake                       14, 15, 28       30, 32, 47
  Inspiration Point                            30               50
  Juniper Lake                                 29               48
  Kings Creek Falls                            12               26
  Lassen Peak                                   7               20
  Lily Pond                                    19               37
  Manzanita Lake                               20               38
  Mill Creek Falls                          2, 11           12, 25
  Mount Harkness                               32               52
  Paradise Meadows                         10, 17           24, 34
  Prospect Peak                                23               42
  Ridge Lakes                                   3               13
  Shadow Lake                                   8               22
  Snag Lake                            27, 28, 29       46, 47, 48
  Summit Lake                       9, 13, 14, 15   23, 27, 30, 32
  Sulphur Works Hot Springs                     4               14
  Terrace Lake                                  8               22
  Twin Lakes                               13, 14           27, 30
  Widow Lake                                   26               45

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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