Hikes in Lassen
California's Lassen region boasts a diverse geography, brought to life with fuming fumaroles, lofty volcanoes, lava rocks, clear lakes backed by mountains, wildflower-cloaked meadows, and moody forest scenery. The shifting setting will have you feeling like you're floating between different worlds as you hike! Speaking of hiking, our routes for this region carve throughout Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lassen National Forest, and sections of Lassen County. So, whether you're looking for a walking adventure that travels among active volcanic activity or want to immerse under a canopy of trees, we've got you covered.
Side note: Thankfully, Lassen National Forest and Lassen Volcanic National Forest Park sit adjacent to one another, so if you're worried about finding a hike in Lassen Volcanic National Forest one day and Lassen National Forest, know that it's easy to meander between the two parks.
As so many options for amazing hikes exist within the Lassen area, we have narrowed them down by making a list of some of our favorites. Keep in mind that this list is just a taste of all that the Lassen area offers.
The 10 Greatest Hikes in Lassen
The ever-changing landscape spanning Lassen makes for remarkable hiking adventures. Thankfully, you can find hikes that tailor to families with young children, anyone seeking a moderate challenge, and experts craving a physically demanding trail. But before you figure out what level of difficulty you want, we suggest thinking about the setting you want to explore. Do you want to meander around or above shimmering lakes? Do you want to travel among a lush forest? Do you want otherworldly volcanic scenery?
The Lassen area will definitely cater to your needs, making it easy to find a hike that suits you. We’ve handpicked some of our favourite hikes in Lassen below! Take a look at some of them below and highlight one or two to try whenever you visit Lassen.
- Cinder Cone Nature Trail - When you first look at the numbers describing the Cinder Cone Trail, you might think to yourself, “Wow, this won’t be that hard,” but you’ll have to walk up sand, which will have your calves burning and heart racing. The bottom line: the Cinder Cone Nature Trail is an adventurous hike that unveils an otherworldly volcanic formation, lakeside scenery, and a breathtaking landscape view at the height of the trail!
- Lassen Peak Trail - The Lassen Peak Trail immerses you in more quintessential wild mountain scenery, where you’ll climb to views of layered peaks fading into the horizon, with a bright blue lake nestled among them. This is a moderate to challenging route, so bring lots of water and enjoy the views!
- Bumpass Hell Trail - The Bumpass Hell Trail may not sound family-friendly in name, but, wow, this route will have everyone forgetting all about the outside world as you explore the otherworldly environment of geothermal sulfuric vents. It’s so cool watching the steam swirling out of the pool set against a wild backdrop.
- Manzanita Lake Loop - Craving a serene, mellow hike? The Manzanita Lake Loop will give you exactly what you need! Circumnavigate this stunning lake, breathe in the fresh air, and revel in the mountain-backed lake and lush forest setting flanking some of the path. Bring your family along!
- Reflection Lake Trail - If you aren't in the mood for an extensive adventure but want to get outside, consider the lovely and short Reflection Lake Trail. The little elevation gain makes this a great walk for almost everyone! Plus, the views along the way will give you a bang-for-your-buck vibe.
- Eagle Lake Recreational Trail - Bringing your dog along? Eagle Lake Recreational Trail allows dogs! Not only that, but this pleasantly scenic trail follows a paved path, making it wheelchair accessible as well. Plus, the benches along the way grant anyone a chance to rest and admire the lakefront setting if need be.
- Devil’s Kitchen Trail - The Devil’s Kitchen Trail intertwines various scenery to create a memorable hiking experience. Walk along boardwalks through a vast, lush meadow and discover steaming geothermal features. This walk has little elevation gain but will have you walking for around 7.0 km.
- Kings Creek Falls Trail - The Kings Creek Falls Trail travels along creeks and meadows before taking you to waterfalls flanked by flora tumbling over jagged rocks. This hike in Lassen is incredibly scenic and a great family-friendly adventure. Although there is some elevation gain, so keep this in mind before you go!
- Cluster Lakes Loop Trail - Discover an array of lakes on the Cluster Lakes Loop Trail! Travel along various shorelines, bathing in the mountainous scenery as you spend a significant amount of time outdoors. This is a longer route, so bring some water and snacks!
- Rainbow Lake Trail - The Rainbow Lake Trail traverses a coniferous forest and unravels along lakes decorated by the wild. This out-and-back route stretches over 16.0 km, with a moderate elevation gain, so get ready for a few hours immersed in the outdoors!
When is The Best Time to Hike Lassen
While Lassen is a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts, the best time for hiking is from June to October. Outside of this late spring to early autumn period, Lassen receives large quantities of snow (as much as 9 m), covering the park's many trails, and making travel difficult.
Other Activities in Lassen
A massive wilderness area with varied geography, Lassen Volcanic National Park has no shortage of things one can do within it! Locals and tourists hike and scramble through its alpine terrain and kayak and fish amongst its many waterways in the warmer months. As winter comes and large quantities of snow begin to fall, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing are rather popular with adults, while children (and the young at heart) love to sled along its many hillsides!
Lassen Adventure Tours
Lassen boasts a great selection of professionally planned and guided trips. Intrigued? Check out adventure tours in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lassen
Can you get married at Lassen Volcanic National Park?
You can absolutely get married in Lassen Volcanic National Park—what a magical location for a wedding! Highlands Ranch Resort is a popular wedding venue within the region and can assist you with any inquiries.
Do I need a reservation for Lassen Volcanic National Park?
Although not required, reservations are highly recommended for Lassen Volcanic National Parks many campsites - especially in the peak season from July till early September.
How many days do you need in Lassen Volcanic National Park?
While the park possesses such an abundance of things to see and do that one could spend a limitless amount of time there, most people spend around 2-3 days within the area to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park's main attractions.
When did Lassen Peak Last Erupt?
An active volcano, Lassen Peak, last erupted in 1921!
Do you need a pass for Lassen National Forest Park and Lassen Volcanic National Park?
The USDA Forest Service claims that wilderness permits are not required for Lassen National Forest. However, some activities may require a permit or a fee. For Lassen Volcanic National Forest Park, you’ll have to pay an entrance fee at one of the staffed or self-serve stations at the parking lots. You cannot buy an entrance pass online. It costs $30 to buy a vehicle entrance fee, which lasts for seven days. An annual pass, which can be purchased in advance, costs $55. There are some free entrance days, so be sure to check these out before you go!
Can I bring my dog to Lassen National Forest Park and Lassen Volcanic National Park?
You can bring your dog, on-leash, to Lassen National Forest (except for Subway Cave). Dogs are also not allowed near swimming areas. It's tough to find dog-friendly trails in Lassen Volcanic National Park, but most paved walking routes will likely let your furry friend tag along; just be sure to check all information before you go.
Other Great Hiking Regions in California
Best Hikes in Lassen
Cinder Cone Nature Trail
Short in distance and with a moderate amount of elevation incline, the Cinder Cone Nature Trail is a family-friendly route with lots to offer! Leading you on a fascinating and informative journey throughout an incredible volcanic formation, the trail is mesmerizing in its uniqueness. In addition to its intriguing geology, the views found throughout the Cinder Cone Nature Trails duration are sublime.
Lassen Peak Trail
A popular route within Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lassen Peak Trail is jaw droppingly beautiful. Boasting stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, Lassen Peak is humbling in its scale. The trail itself is well maintained and is among the most beautiful routes within the region. Appropriate for intermediate hikers and families with older children, you won't want to miss out on Lassen Peak Trail.
Bumpass Hell Trail
Bumpass Hell Trail is an extraordinary route within Lassen Volcanic National Park. A short route that can be enjoyed by the entire family, Bumpass Hell Trail delivers you to an otherworldly landscape of magnificent geothermal activity. With an abundance of informative plaques to help educate you on what you are seeing, the Bumpass Hell Trail is an incredible route that will not leave you disappointed!
Manzanita Lake Loop
The Manzanita Lake Loop is a short route within Lassen Volcanic National Park that is appropriate for the entire family. Easily accessible and with great views of the surrounding alpine landscape, the Manzanita Lake Loop should be on your “must do hikes” list when visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Reflection Lake Trail
The Reflection Lake Trail is an ideal route for those seeking a more casual hiking experience. Short and with little to no elevation incline along its extent, the trail is appropriate for all skill levels and families with young children. Along with its relative ease, the route boasts incredible views of the surrounding Lassen Volcanic National Park landscape.
Eagle Lake Recreational Trail
Eagle Lake Recreational Trail is a relatively short route within Lassen National Forest that is ideal for families with young children and beginner hikers. Peaceful and scenic, the views of nearby Eagle Lake and the surrounding mountainous environment ensure that hiking along Eagle Lake Recreational Trail is an experience you won't soon forget.
Devil’s Kitchen Trail
The Devil’s Kitchen Trail is a stunning route within Lassen Volcanic National Park. Boasting a wide variety of scenery - from stunning alpine meadows to imposing alpine terrain - the Devil’s Kitchen trail has something for everyone to enjoy! A moderately difficult route, the Devil’s Kitchen Trail is ideal for intermediate hikers and families with older children.
Kings Creek Falls Trail
Taking you through charming meadows and picturesque creeks before delivering you to two beautiful waterfalls, the Kings Creek Falls Trail is a lovely route within Lassen Volcanic National Park. Fairly short in distance and with a reasonable elevation incline, the route is perfect for casual hikers and families with young children.
Cluster Lakes Loop Trail
The Cluster Lakes Loop Trail is a stunning route within Lassen Volcanic National Park. Leading you along the shoreline of a number of breathtaking lakes, the route is considered to be an excellent location for wildlife viewing. A longer route with a notable amount of elevation fluctuation, the Cluster Lakes Loop Trail is ideal for intermediate and experienced hikers.
Rainbow Lake Trail
The Rainbow Lake Trail is a charming route with Lassen Volcanic National Park. Taking you through a beautiful coniferous forest and along the shoreline of picturesque mountain lakes, the Rainbow Lake Trail boasts incredible views of the surrounding landscape. A longer route with a notable amount of elevation incline, the route is ideal for intermediate and experienced hikers.
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