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3 Hikes to Lose Yourself in Nature in Lassen Volcanic National Park

By Redding CVB | 05/14/2019 | Family Friendly , Great Outdoors, Scenic Drives, State & National Parks, Things to See and Do, Trails

One of my favorite ways to connect with nature is through hiking. There is nothing quite like being outdoors, and experiencing the solitude found on the trail. I also love that hiking can be for everyone. Whether you prefer summiting a mountain peak, climbing along a cascading creek, or taking a stroll along the shore of an alpine lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park offers an array of diverse beauty to explore for all fitness levels. Here are three of my favorite trails to lose yourself in nature, while visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park.

NOTE: The best time to travel to Lassen Volcanic National Park is mid-June through October. The park is partially open as of May 14 until the road through the park connecting the northern and southern entrances are cleared from snow-pack. See more updates on the park by clicking here.

Challenging: Lassen Peak

View from Lassen Peak. Photo by Julie Boyd / @BoundToExplore

The park’s namesake volcano begs to be conquered by many visitors, especially hikers. Don’t let the five-mile round trip distance fool you though, this hike is a grind. Over the course of two-and-a-half miles, the trail gains about 2,000 feet in elevation! In addition, it is important to note that you begin at a high altitude (over 8,000 feet above sea level), so the thin air can take some getting used to. 

If you are up for the challenge though, the views along the entire Lassen Peak trail are breathtaking, especially as you climb up switchbacks and watch Lake Helen below become increasingly smaller. From the top of the peak, hikers are rewarded with 360-degree vistas of the entire region, and a unique perspective of the crater of the volcano. 


When Brian and I visited, we were able to spot many of the park’s other notable peaks, and we could even see across to Mt. Shasta! We also lucked out and were treated to rivers of butterflies circling at the top! One of the interpretive signs at the top informed us that they were tortoiseshell butterflies, and that sometimes wind currents to carry them to the summit. Pretty cool!

Moderate: Kings Creek Falls

Kings Creek Falls. Photo by Julie Boyd / @BoundToExplore

The trail to King’s Creek Falls, is a beautiful, three-mile lollipop route, with about 600 ft. in elevation gain. This is a prefect trail for anyone who likes a little bit of a challenge, since there is a small climb on the return trip. Once hikers leave the parking area, the path descends through a mixture of pine trees, and wildflower-filled meadows, until it arrives at a viewing platform for the falls. On a hot day, the 40-foot falls are an oasis as the cool-mist rises, washing over you. Be sure to take the one-way path that is marked “steep” for the return. The trail here isn’t too bad, and it follows the cascading creek back; offering more shade and a different view.  

Easy: Manzanita Lake

View of Lassen Peak and Manzanita Lake. Photo by Julie Boyd / @BoundToExplore

Manzanita Lake is nestled below Lassen Peak just past the northern entrance to the park. Be sure to bring your camera, because when the water is calm, it is the perfect place to take reflection photos of the volcano. It is also a flat, easy trail to walk along for those with young children, or who prefer a more mild adventure when they experience the outdoors. The walk circling the lake is just 1.8 miles.

About the Author

This article was written by Julie Boyd of Bound To Explore. Her and husband Brian Callender are a married couple with full-time jobs and a passion for travel. They spend most of their free time exploring their native state of California, while dreaming about and planning their next adventures abroad.

Hiking to Kings Creek Falls in Lassen Volcanic National Park
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