hiking

views

lake

wild flowers

forest

walking

nature trips

kid friendly

wildlife

birding

trail running

camping

backpacking

snowshoeing

fishing

hot springs

no dogs

Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world, is joined by all three other types of volcanoes in this park: shield, cinder dome, and composite. Other than the volcano, which last erupted in 1915, the park has hydrothermal areas, including fumaroles, boiling pools, and steaming ground, heated by molten rock under the peak.

This is a very unique hike! Although not long, it is difficult climbing the portion to the top of Cinder Cone. The volcanic dirt becomes looser and rockier as you get to the top, so it feels like 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

Once you get to the top, you can see beautiful views of Mt Lassen, Snag Lake, and Butte Lake. The inner portion of the Cinder Cone has been hollowed out due to volcanic activity and you can actually walk all the way down if you want to. Although difficult to walk to the top - the views are worth it!

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We did the CLLT clockwise as a dayhike after an anomalously wet winter. We chose to do it clockwise in order to 1) tackle the greater climb in the cool of the morning, and 2) we wanted to save the unburned (read: shaded) forest portions for the heat of the afternoon. After the hike, we concluded that our choice was good.

Despite daytime temps of ~80F in mid-July, the anomalously wet winter left intermittent patches of snow on the trail under the shade of trees. Despite this, navigation was not difficult, and required no special equipment other than good boots. A GPS (or GPS app) is always recommended for distances this far from frontcountry.

This is an outstanding hike if you like pristine mountain lakes (I certainly do). You will pass no less than a dozen of them in the course of this loop, some more pristine than others, and some incredibly so. In particular, Silver Lake lies in the middle of a burned-out area with what seems like a bottom primarily of volcanic sand, and seemingly no organic turbidity. This is the first lake I have ever seen where the water is so clear and optimal you can stare into it and see the water plants at the shore edges "pearling" (a term planted-aquarium enthusiasts use, usually associated with high-powered lighting + CO2-supplementation where you are turbocharging the photosynthesis) with oxygen bubbles. Lower Twin Lake is the forested version, with very clear water (only a little soiled by pollen) that everyone felt compelled to filter water from.

As dayhikers, we didn't spend much time at any of the individual lakes. But it would make sense that as backpackers with the luxury of time, you might want to bring a swimsuit. Somebody was doing just that Lower Twin Lake while a Park Ranger was there filtering water with us.

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The lake destination was nice but the sights along the way were most interesting to me. It's a fun trail with a gradual incline near a cool creek.
This would be a great trail for running as the terrain is relatively even and the incline not too intense - until going down to and up and out from the pond.
I wouldn't plan on swimming here unless you really need to cool down after hiking briskly on a hot day. The water is beautiful from a short distance but looks kinda gross up close from stagnation.
The forest, views and creek were the highlights for me.

I am planning to hike this trail this weekend (July 15, 2017). Is it possible with normal hiking shoes, or is crampons etc required, and is the trail visible or snow covered?
Thanks!