On our last day of Memorial Day backpacking, we woke up at our Lower Twin Lake campground to the sounds of birds chirping. I was a little sad to be going home, but excited to see my cat and to wear shoes that were not hiking boots. Also, In-n-Out burgers.
Tag: clusters lakes
This past summer was the first time I’ve ever been to Mt. Lassen. Here’s a quick recap and photo dump of everything I tried to jam pack into four days, plus an extra short trip.
Day One: We drove up from the Bay Area. A few forgotten items gave us a later start than we had anticipated, so we tackled Bumpass Hell that afternoon after getting into camp.
Day Two: We took off to tackle the Clusters Lake loop and the Cinder Cone, but fell a little short. We still ended clocking about 17 miles though. We also had tacos for dinner that night and it was delicious.
Day Three: On the third day, we opted for a more mellow hike from the Kings Creek Falls trailhead to Kings Creek Falls and looping around to Bench Lake and Sifford Lake.
I also ended up tackling Cold Boiling Lake from the Kings Creek Picnic Area, which ended up being underwhelming and slightly disappointing.
For dinner, we made pizza on little round sandwich bread things in foil packets tossed on the fire to get all hot and melty. It was also delicious.
Day Four: This was our last day. It also happened to be July 4th. We woke up at the buttcrack of dawn to hit the Mt. Lassen trail by 5am. We caught the sunrise on the way up and froze at the top. It was beautiful. I also ate a lot of oatmeal for breakfast.
On our way out, I decided I wanted to squeeze in one last thing: Mill Creek Falls.
One Month Later: We decided to come back to tackle the Cinder Cone for reals and check that off our list.
Hike: Clusters Lake Loop & Cinder Cone
Where: Lassen Volcanic National Park
Trailhead: Summit Lake
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.