What? : This hike, although relatively easily accessible from the main road, gets into the wilderness area of the park where you will cross a mountain ridge and get into less visited mountain area that has many lakes. This area was hit by several wildfires, including the 2022 Dixie fire and for most of the time you will hike in a partly or fully burned forest area.
Where? : Summit Lake Ranger Station Trailhead located 17 miles north of the southwest entrance or 12 miles southeast of the northwest entrance. This is a small exit from the main park road leading to a parking lot in the woods. If you are coming from the north and you reach the Summit Lake North Campground entrance you just missed it, if you are coming from the south this is the first right turn after you are passing the north Campground.
If you are staying at one of the Summit Lake Campgrounds, you may also pick up the Summit Lake trail from there.
When? : You can reach the trailhead parking lot once the main park road is open from the north and you can drive up to Summit Lake. When the park road is open south to north you can reach here also from the south park entrance.
Lassen Volcanic NP – Trip Planning
Lassen Volcanic NP – Echo Lake and Cluster Lakes loop hikes
Lassen Volcanic NP – Kings Creek Waterfall Hike
Lassen Volcanic NP – Sulphur Works and Ridge Lakes Hike
Lassen Volcanic NP – Cinder Cone and Painted Dunes
North California - Waterfalls Loop Road-Trip (Redding – Shasta)
McArthur Burney Falls State Park
Potem Creek Falls, Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Hatchet Creek Falls, Shasta County
McCloud River Falls, Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Lake Siskiyou and Faery falls, Shasta County
Heart and Castle Lakes Hike, Shasta County
Hedge Creek Falls, Shasta County
Castle Crags State Park
Due note 1: Echo Lake hike is relatively popular hike, but the longer 12-miles loop is less visited.
Due note 2: The trails here, and at the rest of the park large wilderness area are less (not) maintained so much and in some cases are in bad conditions. The fires that burned through the park in the last 20 years left the deed tree trunk standing and after several years they fall and block the trails. The focus of the park trail maintenance crews is on the most popular trails, campgrounds, and facilities so all other trails are not maintained. This 12 mile hike passes through some sections where it difficult to find the trail.
Due note 3: In this hike you will pass by many lakes (I counted 10 larges lakes), I hiked here in June but I’m sure they all have water year-round so you do not need to carry a lot of water with you, bring a filtration bottle and you can fill water.
Due note 4: I highly recommend for this hike to use a navigation phone application. I’m usually using GaiaGPS but also Alltrail is good. There aren’t any major navigation challenges here but in some sections the trail is not clear and covered with falling logs and you may miss trail junctions. It is always good to have a navigation app on top of a paper map that you always need to carry with you…
I also recommend to carry with you a charging battery-bank for the phone…
Due note 5: Pets are not allowed on any hiking trails in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Due note 6: As Always bring plenty of water to your hike, it can be hot out here and when crossing burned forest areas there is no shade, and you are fully expose to sun.
Due note 7: Lassen is home to an estimated 50 black bears. As in the rest of California there are only Black Bears even if their color is brown.
When hiking Cluster Lakes loop hike, I saw a Bear, he was relatively far and running away from me, but I still manage to take some pictures.
When Hiking be Bear aware and stay safe, for more information:
My thoughts: I really enjoyed this hike. Although you will hike in many sections where the fire completely burned and destroyed the forest and all you can see are standing burned tree trunks, because it was different this is a hike I will remember. The north section of the trail cross an old fire area where all the ded trees are with gray/white color, many of them fall and completely cover the trail.
Interesting side-effect of the fire is that the landscape is now “open”. Usually when hiking in such forest covered area you do not see a lot of the landscape and all you can see is the woods near the trail. Here where the fire “clears” the forest you can see the surrounding mountains, valleys, and lakes in the area. This is why I manage to spot the bear from several hundred feet away.