Monday, September 19, 2011

Lassen National Park - Trip Report - Day 1 - 9/10/11

          I got out of bed fairly early and took a short stroll down to the lake and along the shore to check things out. Summit Lake is a small lake and within a few minutes of walking I was at the far end which offers great views of Lassen Peak. The water was quite still for being later in the morning and Mt. Lassen was reflected beautifully.

South Shore of Summit Lake

Lassen Peak Reflected in Summit Lake

          Back at camp I woke Sarah up with a hot cup of tea and we both walked back down to the lakeshore to relax. We watched a few hikers setting off in the direction of Echo Lake, but other than that we did not see many people at all.
We took it easy and slowly got ready for the day, eating breakfast and packing a lunch.
          We figured we’d drive back to the south entrance to pay our fee and decide which hike we wanted to do along the way. As we set out along the park road we had to stop at Upper Kings Creek Meadow as it is as picturesque as any I’ve seen. And you don’t even have to hike to see this one!

Upper Kings Creek Meadow

Upper Kings Creek Meadow

Upper Kings Creek Meadow

          With it being the weekend there were now quite a few cars at each of the trailheads, however, the Lassen Trailhead seemed empty save for a few cars. We later found out it is because the trail to Lassen Peak is currently closed for restoration work. It was open for only a few days each month this year to the public and we were a week late. It was a slight disappointment as we had hoped to bag the summit during our visit.
          The main park road was built to take advantage of some of the most scenic parts of the park. At one point the road passes over an active geothermal area with boiling water and clouds of smelly sulfurous steam billowing out.
          One of the most popular hikes in the park, which we saved for another trip, is Bumpass Hell. Bumpass Hell is a geothermal wonderland with boiling mud pots, fumaroles and hot springs. There is a boardwalk trail built for public safety as one false step could mean the loss of your foot or worse!
          We made our way to the south entrance, paid our $10 fee and returned the way we came. We opted to skip the Kohm Yah-mah-nee visitor center which might be worth checking out if you are in need of information or want to learn more about the parks guided activities and natural history.

Little Hot Springs Valley as viewed from park road

          As we drove north we contemplated our hiking options. We were in the mood for seclusion and although none of the trailheads (besides Bumpass Hell) were too crowded, there were still more cars in the pullouts than we were hoping for. After weighing our options and gauging our energy levels we decided to take a short but steep cross country hike to the top of Diamond Peak.
(Click here too read more about our Diamond Peak hike)

Diamond Peak

          After our adventure to the top of Diamond Peak we drove back to our camp at Summit Lake to regroup, stopping briefly at Emerald Lake along the way.

Emerald Lake

          We relaxed at camp and looked over some maps trying to decide where we would hike the next day. With the trail to Lassen Peak closed for repairs we decided that Brokeoff Mountain would be our best bet. From all the research I’ve done it was supposed to be a better hike than Lassen Peak anyhow.
          We ate some dinner and then headed down to the lake to catch sunset. A light cloud cover above Lassen Peak ended up illuminating beautifully.

The Light Show Begins

Summit Lake Sunset Reflections

Summit Lake Sunset

Good Times!


  1. Awesome series of posts from Lassen, Cole! The sky at the end of this post is just amazing -- it looks like it's on fire. Lassen was on my list of places to go for a long time, but I never did make it there.

  2. Thanks Pat. Our trip was nine nights long and each sunset was spectacular! Of course the trade off for colorful clouds was rain.

  3. Awesome time, great photos, high and low adventure in Lassen. Fantastique, Cole and company!