Cinder Cone Nature Trail is a 4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Old Station, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from May until October.

Distance: 4.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,043 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

forest

lake

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.

hiking
3 days ago

Relatively flat for the first 1.5 miles until the shear scree “scramble” up to the top of Mt. Doom that gave my butt a pretty good kickin. Phenomenal views of the Painted Dunes, Mt. Lassen, and the crater. Definitely recommend!

hiking
5 days ago

Amazing trail! A must do for geology lovers. Cinder cone and lava flow all in one trail. The cinder cone is steep and slippery but manageable. Hiking poles would probably help a lot but I didn’t see anyone using them. Bring lots of water since there is no shade once you are out of the wooded area between the parking lot and the cinder cone itself. Incredible view from the top of the cinder cone!

hiking
no shade
rocky
5 days ago

The view up top is amazing. It is strenuous going up hill but definitely doable/ just take your time if you're not in great shape like me. Hiking shoes would have helped me for the way down. Bring your water. At top you can walk around the rim.

hiking
3 months ago

Just absolutely breathtaking. The parking area and the lake nearby are a dream, and the hike to the top is a battle. Absolutely worth the time to do.

hiking
5 months ago

Lots of variety. The cinder comes itself is tough to climb bc it’s like walking up a sandy hill. Totally worth it from the top though!

hiking
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

Great Trail, mostly flat along a lava flow until you arrive at the base of the cinder cone. Although steep, its not as tall and difficult as it deceptively looks. Great trail to see Lassen from its eastern flank and the painted dunes down below. Also, you are able to observe the originating area of the lava flow on the western side of the cinder cone.

hiking
6 months ago

First thought when I saw it - holy heck, what was I thinking. Truly took our time up, no problem. Amazing from the top. We came down the back side and I struggled but I have a bad knee. I loved it though. Well worth it

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

I thought it was beautiful and worth the challenge ( up the cone).

hiking
rocky
snow
7 months ago

Great experience! It’s like you’re on a different planet. Spectacular views at the top! (Walk around the whole top of the cone to experience even more beauty; view of Butte Lake, Painted Dunes, and Mt. Lassen...) It’s a trail you have to experience at least once in your lifetime. It’s so different than any trail I’ve ever hiked. The terrain is a rocky/sandy terrain and good shoes are a must, especially for the climb up the cone! I also recommend hiking poles. It almost felt like walking in snow or a sandy beach. There is shade on the first 1/2 of the trail. I hiked this with my 2 1/2 year old on my back and I wouldn’t recommend bringing small children. It was quit windy on the top of the cone. There are lots of trails on top of the cone and you can even walk farther inside the cone. It was a beautiful experience and I can’t wait to go back and do it again (kid free).

hiking
8 months ago

Short trail. Easy until you hit the base of the cinder cone, then it's a bit more strenuous climbing the cone itself. Imagine walking up a giant pile of tiny pebbles. Luckily it's a short climb. In addition to the crater, the top has nice 360 views of the surrounding peaks and lava beds. Overall, this was the most interesting and unique trail I did in Lassen. This trailhead is very out of the way compared to other hikes in Lassen, but I think it's totally worth the detour if you have the time! The unpaved road to Butte Lake was easily traversable in my Toyota Corolla, just go slow.

hiking
8 months ago

Difficult, steep climb but well worth it. Spectacular views. One of my favorite hikes ever!

hiking
8 months ago

This trail is freakin SWEET. Its a heck of a drive from the rest of Lassen but its WORTH it. The amount of "desolation" around here is mind boggling. The walk up to the top of the Cinder Cone was definitely tough, but short. Great workout. The top is amazing, outstanding views around this area. The painted dunes too! I recommend at the top, make the walk down to the center of the crater and lay down. You can see the crater rim in 360 peripherals. Pretty neat

hiking
snow
8 months ago

This was one of the coolest hikes I have ever done. I went in late September when it was forecasted to snow a bit, and I couldn't have picked a better time. As we're hiking this trail, it began to lightly snow and it was breathtaking. You can hike into the center of the cinder cone to get an otherworldly view. Highly recommended! Don't forget to take a peek over the sides of the cone to get a glimpse of the lovely painted dunes. The path up to the cinder cone is quite easy and even has information pamphlets to educate you on the history and geology of this volcano. Once you get to the actual cinder cone and see the trail up the side of the mountain, you'll understand why it's considered brutal. It's a very steep climb on gravel. It definitely took some time to get up, but the views at the top are worth every minute of the pain you just endured.

Have lots of incentives for the kids along the way. Take a big break at the base of cinder cone before heading up.

hiking
scramble
8 months ago

Amazing experience to see this cinder cone. The view from the top is incredible. We did it in 80 minutes starting from the camping. The slope to the top of the cone is called difficult because it's made from volcanic sand so you are pushed back at every step but it worth it 100%.

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

Really incredible views of the painted dunes and Mt. Lassen near the top! The cinder cone was super cool too.

hiking
8 months ago

First trail!

weird, interesting landscape. Worth a visit just to see the dunes. Climb is challenging, but short.

hiking
9 months ago

Unique and very scenic once on top. Ability to walk down into cone a bonus experience as well. Expect wind at top and to be exposed most of hike. Expect loose footing most of hike as well. I would say it’s a must do simply because of its uniqueness.

hiking
no shade
9 months ago

Trekking poles highly recommended, required for beginners.

hiking
9 months ago

A unique, one of a kind hike. Very windy at the top so go prepared.

hiking
9 months ago

otherwordly landscapes. feels like you're hiking on the moon with the lava floes and rocky/sandy trail. the views from the top of cindercone are gorgeous and are well worth the hike through the shifty ground which makes uphill hiking difficult. Definitely will do it again!

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

Absolutely breathtaking trail, this is one of my favorite hikes I've ever done. Iit feels like you're on another planet. There's so much variety in the landscape: red sand dunes, solidified lava flows, snowy mountains, and a lake. This is a must-do, seriously. The hike up the volcano is hard, but just take your time and it'll be fine. It's not quite as big as it looks. You can even go down into the volcano once you're at the top. The only really challenging aspect is that the whole hike is like walking on sand, so definitely wear hiking boots if you have them!

hiking
no shade
9 months ago

Do this at sunrise for great alpine glow on Lassen!

hiking
9 months ago

Very strenuous (vertical incline) abs loose type gravel but the views at the top are worth it!!

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
9 months ago

I've done many dozens of hikes, but this is honestly the hardest. The sheer steepness would be formidable enough, despite the short length; but the cinders make it a brutal climb. The views are worth it, but don't underestimate this climb, even if you've got a thru bike under your belt.

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