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.
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.