Tag: cinder cone

Lassen Volcanic NP: Cinder Cone

Hike: Cinder Cone
Where: Lassen Volcanic National Park
Trailhead: Butte Lake
Level: Moderate
Duration: 2.5 hours
Length: 5 miles out and back
Gear: Icebreaker Tech T Lite shirt, Outdoor Research Turbine Shorts, Boreas Topaz 25, and Ahnu Sugarpine Waterproof Boot
Cost of Parking: Free ($10 to enter park)

The last time I tried to tackle the Cinder Cone was exactly a month ago, and my attempt failed. This time, we started from the Butte Lake trailhead which lead to a much shorter approach. Due to an accident on I-5 the night before, we got into camp extremely late and needed to be home that evening. We had to cut our hike short and only ended up going to the Cinder Cone instead of doing the full loop to Snag Lake and to Butte Lake.

This is a hike where gaiters would come in extremely handy. The entire trail, especially on the way up the Cinder Cone, is fine bits of loose gravel and cinders. If you’re an enthusiastic hiker like myself, you end up kicking a ton of sediment and rocks into your shoes. That being said, the trail is very moderate up until you reach the Cinder Cone. The climb is only 800 feet, but the loose cinder bits and pieces makes you feel like you’re slogging up a mountain of sand as you sink and slip with every step.

Despite the less than delightful trail up, the view from the top is unbeatable. You can wave to Mt. Lassen, Butte Lake and Snag Lake. The Fantastic Lava Beds and Painted Sand Dunes are laid out before you. And you can slip and sink your way down into the middle of the Cinder Cone.

On the way out, we took the trail down the back side of the Cinder Cone and past a small of the Painted Sand Dunes. There were lots of signs that indicating no hiking and I was happy to see that people actually obey the signs. We then circled around the cone where the trail intersected with the going up trail from Butte Lake and headed back.

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Lassen Volcanic NP: Clusters Lake Loop & Cinder Cone

Hike: Clusters Lake Loop & Cinder Cone
Where: Lassen Volcanic National Park
Trailhead: Summit Lake
Level: Moderate
Duration: 8 hours
Length: 17 miles out and back
Gear: Icebreaker Tech T Lite shirt, Outdoor Research Turbine Shorts, Boreas Topaz 25, Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles, and Ahnu Sugarpine Waterproof Boot
Cost of Parking: Free

Really long days like this happen when I try to jam pack a lot of things into a short amount of time. I started at the Summit Lake trailhead where our campsite was. My intention was to go all the way out to the Cinder Cone (which I will be tackling this weekend), back and down around the whole Clusters Lake loop. It didn’t happen. It ended up being an out and back past Echo Lake, two unnamed lakes, Upper & Lower Twin Lakes, and Rainbow Lake to just a mile short of the Cinder Cone near the Fantastic Lava Beds and Painted Sand Dunes. This trail loops around Lower Twin lake and connects with the Pacific Crest Trail so you can opt to take that for a bit of a change of pace on your way back.

The trail up to Rainbow Lake is absolutely beautiful, but heading past that to the Cinder Cone is very hot, dry and barren. I highly suggest doing the full lake loop separately from the Cinder Cone for a more enjoyable and scenic experience. I also highly recommend hopping into one of the Twin Lakes, or maybe even Echo Lake and shouting really loud. They don’t call it Echo Lake for nothin’. The water is cool, crisp and so ridiculously clear! If you’d like to torture yourself, I would recommend this exact hike.

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