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The lake is beautiful... the hike is not. The last half mile and the walk around the lake is pretty. Hiking on a gravel road is not nice. The bikes have made the trail a mess in places. Lots of road noise

Looking to get feedback before visiting...
Getting to the trailhead, it says above off-road vehicle needed to access. Can a truck handle this or do you need legit off roaming 4x4 vehicle?

Thanks!
N

12 days ago

Well maintained trail. Continual uphill but manageable. Use restroom at trailhead and carry water. Hundreds of thousands butterflies, awesome Visited early on a Monday and crowds were thin. I’d have to recommend Trekking poles. Even under smoky conditions views were good.

13 days ago

Perfect for the hot summer months.

hiking
20 days ago

Another perfect hike, this 5 mile stair climber goes up about 2000 feet via a well-maintained trail of switchbacks and through snow and glacier fields. The top is at the weather station and solar panels and is a fairly easy climb if you are careful about where you step. The crushed rock and sand can be slick on smooth rocks. We had a perfect day and were surrounded with thousands of migrating tortoiseshell butterflies. Trail was very busy the week of July 4th, with some folks skiing on the snow fields. If you visit Lassen, don't miss this hike! And take your shoes off in Lake Helen afterwards.

Great hike! Up up and up! Perfect blue skies and tons of butterflies. Then took a refreshing dip in Lake Helen after to sooth the muscles. If you’re in a Lassen, it’s a must-do!

Very cool hike! Up up and more up! We went with my 3 and 8 year old. They both made it to the interpretive signs near the top in their own. I carried my 3 year old in my backpack up the past section that is a little precarious. The first 95% of the trail is very moderate... Just all uphill. The only part of this hike that should qualify it as difficult is the last couple hundred yards which you could easily not do if you didn't feel like it and you'd still feel accomplished having made it up to the first little summit area.

I was out in California visiting a friend and we were driving through the park and randomly decided to do the hike to watch the sunset. A pair of shorts, tank top and flipflops was not the right outfit ... definitely bring a jacket or warm clothing for the top. Regardless of the chill it was totally worth the hike and one of the best sunsets I've ever seen! I will definitely do it again a little more prepared next time.

backpacking
25 days ago

Beautiful and clear views! The lake was perfect for swimming. Not too many mosquitoes and only one other overnight group.

hiking
26 days ago

Great hike with gorgeous views! Mostly switchbacks which is nice considering the elevation gain. Go early if on a weekend, we started around 8:15 and the parking lot was almost full when we got back at 11.

hiking
28 days ago

Great trail with great views. It got windy as we got to the top but the temperature was not to bad.

backpacking
1 month ago

This was a superb trail, and the falls are unbelievable! We camped at heath falls overlook and hiked down to the falls for day trips, very sweet situation. Went in mid July, lots of water, great trails well defined by way of cascades lake trailhead. We met a few homies who came in from the south end, sounded pretty steep, and it seems their trail put them out right near the main falls south of the bridge.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun hike, lots of short switchbacks.
Tons of beautiful butterflies and some snow at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

Guys!! The Views were AMAZING. It's a tough climb up (especially if you do the Cinder cone the day before with zero hours of sleep after a 10 hour drive
...haha) but very doable. It's worth it.

backpacking
1 month ago

Worth the views and almost a hidden gem! We backpacked this in June and had the trail and campsite (next to waterfall) to ourselves. Perfect for a 1-2 night trip and great for beginner backpackers.

Did this hike with an additional side trip up Houghton today, pretty views and well marked trail but what a zoo this trail can be! The section from the parking lot to the waterfalls was crazy, lots of unleashed aggressive dogs made it a very stressful trip with our two pups. Once clear of the waterfall it seemed like traffic died out almost completely. I’d come back but never on a weekend again.

1 month ago

Great hike just to many people.

Hiked earlier today. Absolutely beautiful. The scenery with all of the blue lakes is breathtaking. Once you reach the summit there are hundreds of migrating butterflies. Absolutely loved it

1 month ago

Lots of switch backs but worth it

hiking
1 month ago

Great trek today. Up and back in four hours. Stopped several times to talk with other hikers.

Super wildflowers!! Nice moderate but long hike. Did not summit, the last couple hundred yards were a little too sketchy for me, but would be completely doable for others.

backpacking
1 month ago

Absolutely amazing experience. Standard Avalanche Gulch route, rather late in the 2018 season (July 6th-7th). In retrospect, worth doing earlier for more snow on the approach, which was instead a lot of scree.

Additional reason for doing earlier is the hazardous rock fall danger. In fact, rock traveling ‘warp-speed’ split my roommate and I (we were no more than 10’ apart) on the gulch ascent (3am start) from Helen Lake to the Red Banks. Made for an extremely unnerving remaining ~1k’ up past the Heart. Apparently better to get later start (~4am) this late in the season re: rock fall + wind.

After the Red Banks (steep) chimney, and magical sunrise Shasta shadow to the south, Misery Hill was indeed a slog, all scree at this point.

Final push on summit plateau was inspiring, only ~250’ of elevation remaining to the summit. *Make sure to get updated forecast (storms/wind) and worth bringing an anemometer, as we were surprised with near 50 mph winds while summiting (8:15am). Ideally less than ~40mph at the top, as we barely felt comfortable getting to the register.

All in all, an incredible introduction to mountaineering. We went unguided after much research and planning, but benefited from linking up with 2 other small groups. Fun Glissade on the way down. Total RT time from Helen up and back was ~8 hours, but included some leisurely breaks. Crampons and axe almost certainly required.

While others are a priority now, definitely would revisit Shasta in the future, potentially on more technical routes with some more experience. 9/10, only due to rockfall moment and the scree.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike with breathtaking views the whole way, especially half way. There were thousands of migrating butterflies swarming the peak. Windy at the top. Still snow in July. Definitely recommend!

hiking
1 month ago

July 8th 2018. 9:00am start. Moderate. This trail had every type of nature person and dog on it. We crossed paths with fishermen, mountain bikers, families, seasoned hikers and first timers.
A portion of the trail is actually a gravel road. It got a bit dusty.
All in all the trail was beautiful. Worth the hike to Lola Lake. I’d absolutely come back with a fishing pole or a bike.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike into the Donner/Castle Peak high country. Beautiful open meadows and views of Granite Chief to the south.Once up at the saddle between the overlook and Castle Peak you are presented with unspoiled Sierra back country. The view of Frog lake is a nice resting area. On my way back down I noticed a single track moving toward Castle peak and decided to try and link up to the traditional Castle Peak trail via this route. The track was hard to follow once in the forest but did take to the base of the peak. Could not find a solid route to Castle Peak Proper but it added a few more miles and more beautiful views. A+

1 month ago

Lovely, moderate to easy hike. We started about 8:30 am and had the trail to ourselves. Wild flowers in bloom. A few mountain bikers and hikers on our way back around 10:30. Beautiful lake is the reward after your 3 miles in. Mosquitoes so make sure to bring your repellent!

1 month ago

Great hike and the views were awesome! Had some snow in a few different places near the top. Suggest leaving early as there is no shade on the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Great views. There was still some snow/ice on a steep drop off. Took 2 hrs for the complete hike and 15 mins at the top.

Awesome completely picturesque hike — tons of scenery and views. I love the start from campground on south side of 80. Frog lake overlook is stunning! (Trail signs don’t say Frog Lake — they say summit and warren). Only ding is noise from 80 as a distant backdrop — but still a solid 5-Star review.

I linked up with Castle Peak. As others have said, the trail across the ridge is not easy to follow starting about halfway (no big deal because there’s the ridge-line and the terrain is easy) — but then it disappears at the big rocky step up to the plateau on which the 3 towers sit. That part is absolutely sketchy and dangerous due to scrabbly rock on steep slopes — and no discernible trail. Worse, several bits look “trail-like” that lead to exposed moves which lead to dead ends — and backtracking those same exposed moves.

I eventually cleared the first bit (30 mins hunting around, contemplating risky moves, considering going back), then climbed down and under the second set of cliffs and then regained the path by scrambling up through a broad chute. Either go with someone who knows this section or be prepared for a challenge.

COULD ONE OF THE TRAIL ASSOCIATIONS PLEASE MARK THIS SECTION BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HURT?

After that — smooth sailing. Great little climbs up the towers (the east tower is climbable on east face (exposed class 4 for 50 feet). Middle tower easily climbed from the center as you face from the south. Great views, exhilarating drops on the back side.

Hike down is OK - good views but sun-exposed and loose footling at places near the top.

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked this on 6/30/2018. The trail was great! There weren't many people there when we got to the lake around 1030a, but it did get busy as it got closer to noon. We tried to go to the upper lake but couldn't follow the trail. Fun hike! definitely recommend it.

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