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.
We ate breakfast and packed up our site lickety split, excited to hit the trail because In-n-Out burgers.
Almost immediately after leaving Lower Twin Lake, the trail began to wind through the Reading Fire burn area from 2012. Due to high winds from the winter, there were tons of downed trees everywhere, which the park estimates will take all summer to clean up. We got hit with a nice variety of weather on our way out from rain to loud thunder to hail. I hoped for snow but no luck.
The trail is relatively flat up until the last unnamed lake. From there, the trail ascends around the flanks of Hat Mountain before closing the loop where we left towards Echo Lake.
At the end of the loop, the trail is a rapid descent down to Summit Lake and the end of the trip.
All in all, this was a great three days of backpacking. Not too easy, not too difficult. Lassen is one of my favorite national parks because it’s kind of a hidden gem. Due to the three day weekend we did encounter some people on the trail and camped near us, but not enough to seem like it was crowded. The Cinder Cone was where we encountered the most traffic, however, it’s only a short hike from Butte Lake. The Clusters Lake loop was the perfect way to kick off summer backpacking!
Gear: Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 50 Outdry Backpack, Outdoor Research Aspire Rain Jacket, Outdoor Research Constellation Hoody, Icebreaker Tech T Lite, Norrøna Bitihorn Softshell Pants, Salewa Alp Flow Mid GTX Boots, Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles