Key: 2011-07-16:     2011-07-17:    

Lassen Volcanic NP (Cali pt.1)

Our first backpacking trip of the California NP tour. A loop hike around 2 lakes and a side trip up the cinder cone.

Begin Date:

End Date:

2011-07-16: 6.52 mi
2011-07-17: 8.79 mi

Total: 15.32 mi

Maximum Elevation*:
6907.68ft (2106.413m)

Minimum Elevation*:
6041.76ft (1842.405m)

Gallery for this adventure:
Click here

* This is derived from GPS data and can have major discrepancies due to poor GPS reception.

Trip Report:

07.15.11: Seattle to Manzanita Lake Campground

We pulled into Lassen National Park in the early evening after traveling all day from Seattle. The Manzanita Campground was crowded but we had reserved us a spot back in the planning stages of the trip. After setting up our camp, we decided to explore the area and check out Manzanita Lake as the sun was setting. It was well worth it as we had a beautiful sunset as well as with reflections of Lassen Peak on the lake.
Reflection of Lassen Peak on Manzanita.

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing, enjoying the fire and some ice cold beverages before our next few days of being out in the backcountry.

07.16.11: Butte Lake TH to Snag Lake

Up and at ‘em early today. We showered and ate breakfast quickly, so we could get to the ranger station to get an itinerary. The road through the park had just opened the day before due to snow coverage so we needed to find out what trails were available to us for the next few days. To our disappointment, the area we wanted to hike in still had quite a bit of snow so we settled for another route that the rangers (who really weren’t backcountry types) suggested. We headed over to Butte Lake area, ate lunch, talked to another ranger who issued our permit and packed up for our adventure.

The trip began near the giant cinder cone (It is a rather famous landmark in Lassen.) and eventually we arrived at the junction with the option to climb up the cone. The fact that we came this far, we might as well climb something iconic on this end of the park. So, we dropped our packs and headed up the cinder cone.
Butte Lake

The summit provided us a nice view of the area we would be hiking as well as views of Lassen Peak in the distance. The decent was uneventful except for a couple of small siblings who were racing each other down the trail. Oh to have that sort of energy. When we returned, our packs were right where we left them, so we loaded them on our backs and hit the trail once again.

Hiking on cinder is about like hiking on beach. It is soft and giving and actually a lot of work, despite the appearance of what looks like hard packed trail. We continued through a few more red painted hills and eventually made our way back into the shade of the trees. Not too far away we caught our first views of Snag Lake, which would be our home for the night. We stopped at a few spots along the lake, but neither of us were “feeling” it so we continued on until we reached the end of lake. Here we found a great spot out on a small jutting peninsula. Camp was set up quickly and then it was time for some fishing. On our way back from fishing we noticed that we were not alone. The deer had found us. In fact, there were more deer than we have ever seen. Looking out in the trees with headlamps was a bit disconcerting as there were no fewer than 20 pairs of eyes looking right back at you. Hesitantly, we climbed into our tent for some sleep and we hoped we wouldn’t be disturbed by neighbors.

07.17.11: Snag Lake to Butte Lake TH

Waking up to the beautiful California sun was a great way to start the morning. Our plan was to camp along the other side of the lake, somewhat near the trail head. We hit the trail and as we made our way around the lake, we didn’t see anything that looked worth our time. The places that were flat, were not near the lake and those near the lake were not flat. There was a potential spot that we hummed and hawed over, but we realized we were only about 2 miles from the car and the spot was pretty windy. With that the decision was made to push back to the car where plenty of beer would be waiting. After a refreshing drink, we had to decide where to go for the night. Since we had a long drive ahead the next day, we thought we better camp as close to the exit of the park as possible. We showered back at Manzanita and headed toward the South West Walk In Campground . It was nothing to spectacular but it provided us a place to set up the tent, have a fire and rest for the long day ahead. Jason also took the opportunity to do some night photography.
Jason's star trail on Brokeoff Mnt.