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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.

Length4 miElevation gain1043 ftRoute typeLoop
HikingForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeFeeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (4)
Contact
Tips
Getting There

Lassen Volcanic National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $15 per person. During the winter (Dec 1 - Apr 15), entrance fees are $10. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $70. 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.

Tips: - Summer through fall is the best time to experience this trail. Snow covers the Lassen landscape for much of the year, closing roads and obscuring trails. See our links below to National Park Service information on road and trail closures. - Bug repellent is a necessity early in the summer season when mosquitoes are rife. - Cinder Cone is popular with backpackers since it's only 11 miles from Lassen peak, yet to reach it by car requires a 40 mile drive from the North park entrance. Despite the distance we think this day-hike is well worth the extra miles, thanks to the great scenery en route. - The last seven miles of the journey is along a dirt road, which when snow-free is entirely accessible even in a two-wheel drive car with relatively low ground clearance.

Turn off CA-44 at the junction with Butte lake Road, otherwise known as Forest Route 32N21. Though this road is a dirt track it's in great shape, meaning that even a two-wheel drive car with limited clearance shouldn't have a problem with this route. Follow this road for seven miles to Butte Lake Campground, heading in a Southerly direction at all times.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (450)
Photos (790)
Recordings (336)
Completed (988)
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Anurag Hari
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 28, 2020
Hiking
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Casey G
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 15, 2020
HikingSnow

Epic short hike, we got fresh snow and an epic sunset. Hiked down in the dark, that was awesome too.

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Chris P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 2, 2020
HikingFeeNo shade

11/02/2020: Great Hike! The miles are short, the elevation gain is small, but this hike is a butt kicker. The entire route is like walking in beach sand and the hike up the side of the cone is very steep. My wife was worried about coming down on loose material but she thought is was pretty easy. We did it on a clear day with amazing views in every direction. Of note: Google Maps thinks the dirt road from Hwy 44 is closed and refused to navigate us to the trailhead. For official road information, check the NPS website.

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Felipe Prado
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Hiking
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David Friedland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 29, 2020
Hiking

Very strenuous but totally worth it. It is like being on a different planet.

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Jared Heinz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 25, 2020
HikingRocky

Great trail but very steep and kind of difficult. The views from the top are cool, especially seeing the lake, Lassen Peak, and the painted desert. It's a hard hike, but take your time and you will be fine. You can do it!

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Anjana Ganesh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 25, 2020
Nature trips

Tough hike for those who aren't physically fit. Take plenty of water, wear sturdy hiking shoes and carry as little weight as possible. I would recommend finishing this hike during the day as the trail gets pretty lonely after sunset, and it might be difficult to navigate down the cone after dark.

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Caitlin Kirsch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 23, 2020
HikingGreat!

I did not hike to the top because of how late it was in the day. This was such a cool hike and I am so glad I got experience it. I would definitely plan on going early in the day. There is plenty of shade until you get to cinder cone. There were bears right off the trail, really cool experience. They minded their own business and weren’t a concern. It literally looks like another planet. Won’t see anything like this in continental US.

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Martha Oropeza
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 23, 2020
HikingGreat!

Wonderful trail that’s fairly easy. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. Wear proper shoes since the trail has several lose rocks. It’s windy at the top, bring a windbreaker. Views are amazing!!! Like many of the other hikes, we has 3 bears (1 brown bear and one mama bear with her cub). They were harmless and kept to themselves. Highly recommend it!

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JoLi Willis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 21, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeRocky

This is a very unique trail due its composition. It’s a must if you are visiting the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Since you will be hiking on sandy soil, make sure you have the proper shoes. As already stated, the trail is well marked, but when you reach the top, some people miss the trail that goes down on the back side. The back side trail is less steep but rockier. We had a chance to see four bears (three real brown bears and a stuffed one that was left along the trail). We followed the advice given by previous hikers and started before 09:00 AM (due to the lack of shade). Magnificent views, worth the drive and the effort. You won’t regret.

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Nathan Aguirre
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 13, 2020
HikingGreat!No shade

Excellent hike. The weather was about 35-45 degrees in the morning. Best time to hike because there isn’t any shade. You gotta drive down a dirt road with loose gravel for about 6 miles before you get to the trail head. Just about any car can do it just take it slow. If you pay the $30 at the stop sign right before the trailhead you can use that stub on the envelope to get into Lassen national park. Saw 2 bears on post marker #2 going up and on our way back down. My gf is a beginner and she was able to do this hike and she LOVED it. It was super windy at the top and it’s about 30-40 mins to the top from the base of the cinder cone. Sooooo worth it. Do it in the morning then go somewhere else inside Lassen National park. The bears are really nice. Just walk passed them. Don’t try to feed them or pet them.

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Gabriel Courchesne Normandin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking

Awesome hike! Pretty easy and nice views!

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katie palani
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Hiking
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Frank Nichols
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 9, 2020
Hiking

Well marked trail which is basically sand. Made for tuff going up to the rim but it was well worth the effort. It’s amazing that this is natural.

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Ran Oren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 7, 2020
Hiking

It feels like a different planet. Spectacular. Worth it, even if the elevation part is tough a little bit but once you are there nothing is matters. We met a Hume Bear twice along the trai. They were very peaceful. Anyways, be careful.

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Lyle Heimbigner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 7, 2020
HikingFeeGreat!No shade

One of the neatest attractions in the park. Almost didn't do the trail because of the loose footing on the trail and the exposure to the sun --- but DON'T LET THAT DISCOURAGE YOU. It just takes time and persistence ...... and coming down is a breeze as you slide step, taking a step and sliding an additional step. Amazing geology and a bonus was seeing two bear, which fortunately were vegetarians.

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Eric King
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Ajitesh Jain
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HikingGreat!No shade

One of the unique hikes I have done so far. Views from the top are outstanding. Better to do it early morning to avoid day heat.

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Elliot Simon
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Morgan Wang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 2, 2020
HikingNo shade
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Darren Marinko
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 1, 2020

Very unique hike. The Cindercone is amazing. Uphill getting to the base of the cone and then starts the fun. Kind of like hiking up sand dunes. Plenty of room to explore up top and go into the cone. Then exit down the other side which is a lot easier. Exploring the trail around the painted dunes and ancient lava flow was very scenic. We saw two black bears on the way up. We took the scenic route of 5 miles and needed 1 to 2 L of water. Driving here is half the fun. Be prepared for a bumpy drive.. Happy trails.

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Maxwell Graham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking

This is more of a Moderate hike. No shade an a hot day would be hard. On a cooler day it’s great. Such unusual beauty. Bring a geophysicist if you have one.

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Andrey Shipuk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
Hiking

Amazing! Challenging getting up there but worth it! Unique views!

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