Tag: lake

Hiking Lower Echo Lake May 2016

Hiking Lower Echo Lake

Hiking Lower Echo Lake May 2016

Even with ski resorts closing their doors for the season and uncharacteristically warm weather in the Bay Area, winter is still very much alive and kicking in the Sierra. After a short day of wrestling pebbles and battling high winds on Hogsback, Josh and I called it quits and decided to go catch a sunset somewhere.

We always talk about sunset, but by the time the sun starts to go down, we’re maybe still stuck on a route, or bouldering stoke is high, or we’re in the midst of preparing dinner. We headed east on highway 50 with Lower Echo Lake in mind, something nice and easy that we could drive up to and relax at.

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Lassen Volcanic NP: Cold Boiling Lake

Hike: Cold Boiling Lake
Where: Lassen Volcanic National Park
Trailhead: Kings Creek Picnic Area
Level: Easy
Duration: 45 minutes
Length: 1.4 miles out and back
Gear: Icebreaker Aero Tank, Outdoor Research Turbine Shorts, Boreas Topaz 25, and Ahnu Sugarpine Waterproof Boot
Cost of Parking: Free

Cold Boiling Lake is one of those things that sounded cooler on the map than it did in person. Located near Bumpass Hell, the lake is a part of the active geothermal system in Lassen National Park. The lake gets its name from the cold carbon dioxide bubbles rising to the top giving the appearance of a boiling lake.

The trail out to the lake from the Kings Creek Picnic Area is relatively flat and well marked. The lake is fairly small in size and easy to miss if you’re not looking for it specifically. This was a hike that I definitely could have skipped, or extended by heading down to Crumbaugh Lake as well. It was pretty underwhelming. I could see a few bubbles here and there, and that was about it. This isn’t something that you’re completely missing out on if you never see it. I opted not to continue on since I had just tackled the Kings Creek Falls loop.

An alternate route to get to Cold Boiling Lake would be by way of Bumpass Hell, taking the trail about a mile and a half away from the boardwalk area to the lake.

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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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Lassen Volcanic NP: Kings Creek Falls, Bench Lake & Sifford Lake

Hike: Kings Creek Falls + Sifford Lake Loop
Where: Lassen Volcanic National Park
Trailhead: Kings Creek
Level: Moderate
Duration: 4 hours
Length: 5.8 mile loop
Gear: Icebreaker Aero Tank, Outdoor Research Turbine Shorts, Triple Aught Design Artemis Hoodie, Black Diamond Ultra Distance trekking poles, Boreas Topaz 25, and Ahnu Sugarpine Waterproof Boot
Cost of Parking: Free

With only a few days in Lassen, I wanted to try to fit as much of the park in as possible. Mt. Lassen, of course, was one. We also decided to check Kings Creek Falls and that little loop off of our list.

We started on the trailhead at around 9am the day before the 4th of July. I was worried we would run into a lot of people on such a short trip to the falls, but thankfully the tourists were all at their campsites and saw few people for most of the hike.

Decided to hit up the falls first to beat the crowds and began the loop hiking clockwise through the absolutely breathtaking meadow. The trail down to the falls is loose and gravelly and would have been a less enjoyable climb as opposed to the lengthy, but gradual return on the other side of the loop. Unfortunately due to the absence of winter this year, Bench Lake was completely bone dry. Sifford Lake was only an additional .8 miles out and back on the trail so I went ahead and tacked that on to get some lake action in. Sifford Lake was a neat little spot with some campsites if that catches your fancy. Water level was a little low and quality was a little questionable without boiling, but still drinkable and swimmable. The cliffs by the lake also offer some great views of the forest.

It was a fairly mellow trail that wound through redwoods. I wasn’t terribly impressed by most of it other than the Kings Creek Falls section. This a hit it and quit it trail; probably won’t be back to see most of it again.

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