Cinder Cone Nature Trail

HARD 97 reviews

Cinder Cone Nature Trail is a 4.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Westwood, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

DISTANCE
4.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,033 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

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. This day hikes takes you to the top of Cinder Cone where you can marvel at a landscape transformed by volcanic activity.

18 days ago

So , awesome views good experience and a great workout. Downsides is it’s far from the main areas of the park also very far down a dirt road which is tough on your car. Very exposed not a lot of shade. No bathrooms nearby they were all closed. This was last year end of July 2017. Cinder means one step forward two steps back but on the bright side it is only .5 miles up the Cinder cone. The views from the top are magnificent though 360 views. This is a definitely a must at least once in your life. How many people can say they’ve climbed a volcano! It was great to have that feeling of accomplishment at the end of it all.

hiking
22 days ago

Glad to have hiked a volcano, however, loose gravel the whole way up and sand path on the way to and from the volcano. Good calf workout but not the most enjoyable hike we did in the park!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing!

hiking
1 month ago

The hike from the bottom of the cone to the top is a little hard because of the gravel. Took me 30 mins to hike up and less than 10 mins down. The experience of walking inside a volcano was exhilarating. Bring lots of water since there is no shade along the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

I did this hike this weekend with my mom, sister (age 11) and son (age 4). I would say the first part of the trail is easy/moderate (due to the terrain) and then climbing up to the peak is hard. It was pretty at the top even with the smoke but I would not do this hike again and did not actually enjoy it (and I hike A LOT). Mainly because of the terrain you have to walk on. When you are headed up, you take a step forward just to slide back. With all that being said though we made it to the top and into the crater. It is nice (and a cool experience) when you get up there and I am happy we did it since we were there but wouldn’t do again.

hiking
1 month ago

Just go slow up the cone itself - take breaks every 25-30 meters to turn around and look at the amazing view. Husband and I did it on a whim - not experienced hikers and not used to the elevation (we live at 30’ about sea level). Took about 38 minutes to amble from parking lot to cone and then 30 minutes to slow climb up it. Spectacular views. Was windy and cold up there. Would do again. Fantastic.

hiking
2 months ago

absolutely love this hike!! , its more like 4 miles round trip ,1/5 mile of CONE lol feels like more tho haha.. the cone is tough at times to keep good footing , just keep a steady pace and dnt look up lol , and you'll make it.. under 15 min no breaks for me but everyone has there pace ..I find that stepping in the footsteps of others helps , slightly more compacted .. be safe enjoy , and please stick to the trail , help maintain the preserved beauty of this amazing place .. get up and get out there !!

hiking
2 months ago

Definitely worth the hike up. The views were awesome. Probably one of the toughest hikes to do is up steep terrain with lava rock as your treading but made it to the top. Did this hike yesterday. Weather was perfect. This park is gorgeous and all the lakes and white peaked mountains were stunning. Will definitely return.

2 months ago

Remarkable, you can see such landscape at nowhere else

2 months ago

2018/05/27

2 months ago

Awesome !!

3 months ago

Hiked on 5/12. The 6 mile dirt road is fine, as long as you drive slow. My sedan handled it just fine. First mile and change goes through the forest until you reach the cone. I took a lot of breaks, but it’s still very doable. Views from the top are very unique.

hiking
4 months ago

It is difficult walking on an incline of cinders, but it is interesting to be in this type of volcano. The view at the rim is great.

5 months ago

beautiful place!!!!

5 months ago

Great trail with amazing views. especially if short on time.

hiking
6 months ago

Good short hike but kinda out of the way from most of the park. It's worth it if you have a few days to spend at Lassen NP. Going up is not as easy as it looks though. Just take your time and you'll get there and be rewarded with spectacular views.

hiking
8 months ago

Amazingly difficult, two steps forward and one back... but the views are to great not to take those steps! Poles do help!

hiking
9 months ago

this is my favorite trail in the park...an important note though - dogs are NOT ALLOWED ON THIS TRAIL. There are zero dog friendly trails in the national park and you can be fined for it.

hiking
10 months ago

Went in with low expectations because I assumed it was a treeless hike the whole way. Couldn’t have been more wrong!! Beautiful the whole way. Pretty difficult trek up the cone, but well worth it!! Windy on top, I suggest a wind breaker and good hiking boots.

hiking
11 months ago

worth the work to the top! Nice views of Lassen peak and the fantastic lava bed. not your typical hike, not many can say they climbed a volcano, if you go then you can say you did!

hiking
11 months ago

This hike is phenomenal and is a must-see for any avid hiker. Go on a week day and you may be one of only a few at the top. The hike up the cone is difficult and requires tenacity as you slide a little with every step. Take hiking poles. Hike early in the warm months if possible. Be sure to hike the entire rim of the cone to experience the stunning views in every direction. The center of the cone wasn't spectacular, so if you are tired, skip it. Descend down the Painted Dunes side of the cone for some great photo opportunities. Also, the winds at the top of the rim can be suddenly strong and gusty (I was knocked over by a strong gust).

Monday, July 31, 2017

The gravel is tough to walk on. Its two steps forward one step back, but the views up top were worth it. The lake next to the beginning of the trail was beautiful and we wished we would have brought our kayaks.

hiking
Monday, July 24, 2017

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!

hiking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

This was our favorite hike in Lassen because it showcases the unique volcanic side of the park as you literally climb up a dormant volcano! Gorgeous panoramic views of the park - don't miss it!

hiking
Saturday, July 08, 2017

Really fun hike. You get to walk in this volcanic sand/soil that is very loose. Walking up the volcano the material is ever looser per say which makes it very taxing but it is definitely worth it. You get great views of Butte Lake and Snag Lake, Lassen Peak, the colored sand dunes and of course the lava fields. Really great place to see if you are in Lassen.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Awesome hike! I would rate it moderate to difficult not because of the distance but due the ground you walk in. It is worth working your way to the top!

hiking
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Amazing hike though the final part hiking up the cinder cone is is very steep (I think a ranger said it gains 700 ft in .5 miles). Definitely worth it though, just bring lots of water and prepare to get a bit dusty.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Had snow on parts of the trail which made it more difficult than normal, but the effort is always worth the hike!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Went the past weekend 5/13/17 and the trail up the cone was covered in snow but there is access around back which is quite steep and all gravel, or lava rock if you will! Very cool terrain and views of the painted dunes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Its not an easy hike, but when you get to the top e everything is colorful, you can see how the volcano change the landscape, plus we saw a brown bear while driving to the area.

Load More