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Chaos Crags Trail

MODERATE 104 reviews

Chaos Crags Trail is a 4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Old Station, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and snowshoeing and is best used from May until October.

Distance: 4.0 miles Elevation Gain: 990 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

running

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

no dogs

NOTE: The road leading to the trailhead is sometimes closed due to winter conditions. Clamber around the rocks of an enormous volcanic rockslide. Located four hours north east of San Francisco this Northern California park might be a little out of the way, but it's a prime destination for seekers of tranquility and those with even just a passing interest in geology. In geological terms the landscape of Lassen Volcanic National Park is about as young as it gets, and for an example you need look no further than Chaos Crags, a mountain of pink dacite that sprouted from the earth only a thousand years ago. Even more recent was the Chaos Jumbles rockslide - a massive carpet of rock which separated from the mountain and careened down its flanks at speeds over 100mph, devastating the forest below and only coming to rest after spilling up the side of Table Mountain a whole two miles away.

hiking
18 days ago

I really, really LOVED this trail. I took my two kids (ages 9 & 10) on this and it was a good fit for all of us. The trail was in good condition and had a good range of flat areas and inclines. The crags and brushy area right before you get to the base of them is just breathtaking, in my opinion. The lake was dried up, but that didn't detract from the experience. No snow on the trail, but it was cold! I will be back with snowshoes and also in the summer again to check out the lake.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this on Tuesday morning, not a soul on the trail so it was quiet and pleasant. Took me 1 hr 45 min round trip. The lake is dried up this time of the year, which is disappointing, but the view is nice. There are a lot of shade on this trail which is great for summer time hiking, but it was freezing early morning in Fall weather

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike , mostly forested. The lake this time of year is tiny, like a pond.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike from the campground (good elevation gain) and a pretty little lake for a snack!

View at end is nice.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

My favorite hike in the park. I got up real early and hit the trail. It's a good gradient. you can do it in 40 minutes if you have a good pace. The views of chaos lake and the crags as a back drop are stunning. I really recommend doing it early morning so you can race the sun and catch the lake in the shadows of the peaks. It's gorgeous.

hiking
bugs
scramble
4 months ago

The views of the lake and lava are beautiful and 100% worth the hike. Hiking though the volcanic ash uphill is definitely what makes this trail moderate. I had to stop often on the way up, but someone in better shape may not have to. The trail is about 1/2 in the sun (we went in the morning) and there are mosquitos, so I definitely suggest sunscreen and bug repellant. There is some rock scrambling towards the end of the hike if you want to go down to the water, but nothing too difficult!

hiking
no shade
4 months ago

Lots of direct sun. Overall pretty cool!

hiking
4 months ago

The view at the end is so worth it

hiking
5 months ago

This is a great trail, a bit steeper then I expected, steeper then manzanita creek trail. The trail has good amounts of shade and a nice view at the end.

hiking
5 months ago

beautiful lake and volcano at the end

hiking
5 months ago

A nice quick hike. A lot of it is shaded until you get close to the lake. The lake itself is gorgeous and provides a great view of chaos crags. No snow on the trail.

5 months ago

Nice out and back trail. Beautiful snow melt lake to sit and have lunch at.

Great easy hike with a nice view of the surrounding mountains and little lake at the end. There was no more snow on the trail.

hiking
6 months ago

This was a lot of fun. The entire trip was about 90 minutes at a fast walking pace. There’s a forest that smells like burnt wood, a sunny, rocky meadow terrain, and then a fantastic lake at the end. No snow and the lake is not frozen as of 6/10/2019.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked on June 3rd. Nice easy hike. The trail was very clear and well kept. There were a few small piles of snow over the trail, but nothing that complicated the hike. The trail ended at a small lake which was a nice spot to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the day. At a fairly slow pace, the hike takes about an hour.

recorded Recording - Jun 01, 01:25 PM

hiking
6 months ago

Nice trail with currently no snow. Ends in a stunning lake.

hiking
muddy
snow
6 months ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

Decided to try this trail with my husband. The trail head is located very close to the visitor center and Manzanita Lake. It was peaceful and only saw maybe 8 people in total hiking to the lake and back to the trail head — one man was backpacking. Some incline at the end but not too bad. It was very quiet and it was awesome to see all the burnt trees and also new growth. The first part of the trail is sandy? Not my hips favorite thing to hike on but keep on pushing on, the trail gets better and it becomes less sandy. The lake at the end is small but beautiful none the less resting at the bottom of the mountain. The trail offers some shade. Definitely wear hiking boots and take your time looking around and listening to the trees and the birds :)

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail with a beautiful lake to have a break. May still presents difficulty as far as snow on the trail but the frozen lake at the top is worth the climb. Stay safe! Have fun.

snowshoeing
off trail
8 months ago

This is a perfect trail route for snowshoe trip - even now (mid April 2019). Other than route-finding, this seemed beginner level.

snowshoeing
9 months ago

Snow shoed up the main Lassen highway road (closed due to snow during the winter months) for about a mile. Then cut off to the right towards Chaos Crags. Beautiful views as your approach the base of the crags. Can also remain about a quarter mile from the crags and parallel the ridge along a few hills that provide a great views of the crag face.

snowshoeing
Thu Dec 06 2018

Snowshoed this trail today. Luckily we (4 of us) met a guy after we snowshoed around Manzanita Lake. He introduced us to the trail. Glad he did. It was great for snowshoeing. We'll definitely snowshoe this again, and hike it.

Mon Sep 17 2018

beautiful hike

snowshoeing
Thu Feb 08 2018

Snowshoed this as a loop cutting across the Jumbles to the road and back. Peacefully follows a creek on the way up before making a slightly more aggressive climb towards ridge above the lake area. Decided to climb partway up the ridge leading to the crags above to a small rock formation with great views of Shasta in the distance. Turned back towards the lake area from there due to high winds and unstable terrain. Fun trek through the snowcovered rocks in the jumbles area back to the road, and after spending some time on the south side of Lassen, it was refreshing to see tracks reflect good trail etiquette.

hiking
Sat Aug 05 2017

Went to the North entrance, was unable to drive through due to snow, so ended up here. Nothing too special, a little lake and a trail.

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