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Cinder Cone Nature Trail

HARD 257 reviews

Cinder Cone Nature Trail is a 4.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Old Station, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

Distance: 4.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,043 feet Route Type: Loop

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no shade

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
rocky
scramble
25 days 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
26 days 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
1 month ago

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

hiking
rocky
snow
1 month 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
2 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
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 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
2 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
2 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
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

First trail!

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

hiking
3 months ago

Unique and very scenic once on top. Ability to walk down into come 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
3 months ago

Trekking poles highly recommended, required for beginners.

hiking
3 months ago

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

hiking
3 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
no shade
3 months ago

Do this at sunrise for great alpine glow on Lassen!

hiking
3 months ago

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

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
3 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.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a super-underrated trail ever. Initial part of the hike is quite a normal one. Once you get to the top of the cinder cone, you get a 360 degree view of the terrain. You can see the last lava flow snake around the painted dunes and end up in Butte lake. Go early in the morning. It looks more magical!

hiking
3 months ago

still remember this hike from 20years.

hiking
3 months ago

A beautiful hike and excellent exercise for the legs. Take it slow to the top with frequent stops to rest and take in the magnificent views. Sturdy hiking shoes will help, especially when descending. The view from the top is unreal and makes the circa 20-30 Minute ascent worthwhile.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Amazing views!

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

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