Cinder Cone Nature Trail is a 4.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Westwood, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.
Marvel at Lassen's volcanic landscape from atop the rim of a cinder cone. 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. Cinder cones are scattered all around you at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Some are in plain sight and others are overgrown and hidden by forest, but none are more recent and more spectacular than the Cinder Cone that created the Fantastic Lava Beds and the colorful Painted Dunes eleven miles north east of Lassen Peak. Our five and a half mile day hikes takes you to the top of Cinder Cone where you can marvel at a landscape transformed by volcanic activity. Elevation gain: - 800ft (from 6,140 - 6,820ft)
Finished this trail today. Pretty brutal. Combination of the snow and ash terrain made the ascent extremely difficult, but I did it. I thought the descent through the Bypass was also dicey, as the initial trail down was steep and was very rocky. So had to take it slow going down or else I would've slipped.
All in all, very challenging hike in the snow and can imagine it would still be challenging during other seasons. Would recommend if you're in the area!
we went up the steep face & cane back via the "bypass" which is maybe the better way.
so the approach is lovely but note that it is like walking in sand and when you get to the cone ascent it changes from sand to deep pebbles (huff puff). keep going it's worth it. if you're in decent shape it's about a 20 min ascent. a couple we spoke with took their time and it was about 40 minutes to do the ascent.
really beautiful & interesting. if it's hot out - know it's fully exposed for the full ascent and at the top.
about 6 miles off road driving to get there - very doable in a regular car but dang dusty.
It is worth it. Sunset was beautiful. wouldn't recommend during hot days
this trail is reason enough to spend a night at Butte Lake campground. the track is loose the whole way, and the last half mile is challenging but you will be very glad to have done it. wonderful views in every direction!
My daughter and I went with her school. We had a blast!! Looking forward to going again with my younger child.
a lot of fun!
Really nice hike. We ended up not climbing the cinder cone, but the view as great. Make sure to look for the painted dunes on your way to the cone. Also, you'll notice a huge pile of rocks on the way - those are the lava beds.
I wrote more about it here: https://guikunigami.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/lassen-volcanic-national-park-cinder-cone/
Great trail, but we went during the wrong month. It was very hot in July. We should have done it in either may or October
Oof! The volcanic gravel/sand is a tough scrabble. It was funny, but not, to see a couple whole sole of a good hiking boot on the trail. I'm not surprised. It was definitely worth it and take trekking poles. There's a nice trail around and down into the cinder cone crater. A trail leading down the backside of the crater provided some amazing views of the Fantastic Lava Beds and Snag Lake.
Standing below the cone, it might look intimidating, but the hike up is really not that bad, as long as you take your time. Once on top, the view is spectacular. This is one of my favorite hikes in Lassen.
Go early. Clouds tend to form around noon on Mt. Lassen. Hiking this early morning will ensure a cloudless view of the peak and a quiet trail all to yourself.
Just a note, the trailhead is at the end of a 8 mile unsealed road. A normal sedan can handle it, but a two door sports car might not.
This is a great hike, even for older kids who want to climb a real volcano. It starts out on an ashy trail, then gets rocky/ashy once you climb the actual volcano; expect to empty your shoes at least once! The views of the Painted Dunes are the best in the park & you can even hike down into the crater. It's got a really neat other-worldly vibe here. And there's the Fantastic Lava Beds, too, & a good view of Butte lake. Also, I thought it was more like 5 miles than 7. I've done this hike many times & will keep returning!