Cluster Lakes Loop Trail

MODERATE 20 reviews

Cluster Lakes Loop Trail is a 10.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Old Station, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October.

10.4 miles
1,482 feet





nature trips

trail running





wild flowers


no dogs

Whether you measure your lakes by quality or quantity, this hike's a winner either way. 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. This guide explores a chain pristine lakes and pools at least a dozen in number, on this loop trail deep in the heart of Lassen Volcanic National Park. Elevation gain: - 1,100ft (from 6,600 - 7,200ft)

5 days ago

this is a really easy day hike, but my friend and I went backpacking and spent the night near one of the lakes.
It was great that we decided to do this loop clockwise, so we hardly had any uphill climbs except for the first mile or so. after the first lake though, there's hardly any shade for the next 3-4 miles because of the fires a few years ago. it was still cool and breezy, even though the sun was beating down on us hard.
lower twin lakes was my favorite view, but we decided go a bit further and camped at upper twin lakes. we had to look for a bit to find a flat enough area to pitch the tent at, but it was good. we also heard a bear stomping around our tent at night, but he didn't bother us at all. apparently, it's very common there, especially at the upper twin lakes. so, as long as you're prepared, it's all good.
it was my friend's first ever backpacking trip and she slayed it. it was a great experience. highly recommended for beginners

7 days ago

Excellent trail. We did it clockwise. The first 5-6 miles are very desolate from forest fire years ago. After Feather Lake forest is plentiful. We ended up pushing to Upper Twin Lake to camp on the East side where is was relatively flat. Lakes are shallow and great to swim in. Moderate ups and downs. Many deer but not much else for wildlife although we heard of bears a few miles away.
Moderate elevation at 6500-7000ft most of the time. Easy to get to trail head at summit lake. About 1 hour east of Redding.

15 days ago

It has been 20 years since I last hiked this loop and it was just as beautiful as I remembered. The northern part of the loop is a bit crispy from the fires but still gorgeous in its own way.

16 days ago

My wife and are Day hikers, we are in our fifties and this hike was perfect for us, went clockwise around the loop,I found the burnt area kinda interesting, had a different vibe, met some cool people from London on the short span of the PCT that we were on, we are locals so next time we will spend a night or two at one of the killer lakes that are here, I feel it's the best trail in the park.

1 month ago

A friend and I completed the loop last week 6/21-6/23. We started out clockwise on the trail. Best idea as the elevation decreases about 1.5 Miles into the hike. We initially planned on staying at Silver Lake but chose to move on to Lower Twin Lake. Most of the way was devastated due to the 2016 Redding fires. There wasn’t any shade and so many downed trees in that area. Once you get a mile or so from LTL, the scenery starts to pick back up. This was about 7.32 Miles according to my gps tracker. We hiked over on Friday to rainbow lake and chose not to continue on to Snag lake due to once again the area was burned out. Saturday morning we had a bear in our camp rummaging through our packs (yes we did have a bear can and all things smelly away from camp). It got an ice pack and tore that apart. We hollered at it and it did leave camp. Exciting but scary too. The remainder of the hike out on Saturday was approximately 5 Miles, again according to my gps tracker. It’s a beautiful hike with two sections (about 3/4 of a mile each) that are uphill. It was my friends first time packing in and she did great. Our packs were approximately 35lbs each. I love this area and will surly be back again. Also make sure to bring bug spray and the mosquitoes were bad at times. The water wasn’t bad either once the sun hit it daily. Leeches in there so be careful.

1 month ago

A great hike. Most hikes are into a lake or destination and back on the same trail. This being a loop with many lakes kept you going wanting to see the next lake. We did the hike clockwise through the burn first, this kept out of the afternoon sun. Recommend hike

1 month ago

great area for some long day hikes or easy backpack trips ... lassen park is a gem , some my favorite area of Cali , so diverse and unique ..

2 months ago

Backpacked this trail 5/31-6/2, but we went to Snag Lake then came back to Rainbow and finished the loop it adds about 7 more miles, so 17 miles total but very worth it! Snag Lake was the most gorgeous lake of then all. very nice! My favorite backpacking trip so far. The area around and on Cluster Lakes are all burnt down so becareful of deadfall if you plan on camping there. I say have nothing bad to say about this trail you pass 10 different lakes and a few unnamed ones plus countless ponds, the only thing i disliked was not having a campfire, but i do understand why seeing all the brunt areas. Very gorgeous hike definitely do this one again.

10 months ago

We did this Trail clockwise to get through the burned area first. About a mile and a half in you start in the hiking in the burned out area and it last for about 4 miles ( the Junction with PCT). We set up camp at lower Twin Lakes. In the morning we hiked out the remainder of the trail which is very beautiful.

10 months ago

It was great for my first backpacking trip, we stayed 2 nights, one at lower twin lake and then silver lake. Good weather and a well maintained trail.

Monday, July 17, 2017

We did the CLLT clockwise as a dayhike after an anomalously wet winter. We chose to do it clockwise in order to 1) tackle the greater climb in the cool of the morning, and 2) we wanted to save the unburned (read: shaded) forest portions for the heat of the afternoon. After the hike, we concluded that our choice was good.

Despite daytime temps of ~80F in mid-July, the anomalously wet winter left intermittent patches of snow on the trail under the shade of trees. Despite this, navigation was not difficult, and required no special equipment other than good boots. A GPS (or GPS app) is always recommended for distances this far from frontcountry.

This is an outstanding hike if you like pristine mountain lakes (I certainly do). You will pass no less than a dozen of them in the course of this loop, some more pristine than others, and some incredibly so. In particular, Silver Lake lies in the middle of a burned-out area with what seems like a bottom primarily of volcanic sand, and seemingly no organic turbidity. This is the first lake I have ever seen where the water is so clear and optimal you can stare into it and see the water plants at the shore edges "pearling" (a term planted-aquarium enthusiasts use, usually associated with high-powered lighting + CO2-supplementation where you are turbocharging the photosynthesis) with oxygen bubbles. Lower Twin Lake is the forested version, with very clear water (only a little soiled by pollen) that everyone felt compelled to filter water from.

As dayhikers, we didn't spend much time at any of the individual lakes. But it would make sense that as backpackers with the luxury of time, you might want to bring a swimsuit. Somebody was doing just that Lower Twin Lake while a Park Ranger was there filtering water with us.


Monday, September 26, 2016

We did the Cluster Lakes Loop in a clockwise direction whereas most of the reviews I've seen do it the other way. The benefit of doing in clockwise is that you get the area burned in 2012 out of the way instead of ending your trip with it. We started at the parking lot of the Summit Lake Ranger Station and headed out. We went left at the Y and headed to the cluster. We passed Little Bear, Big Bear and Feather Lakes. The majority of this portion of the trip was downhill however, the gravely terrain made the going a bit more difficult. Our destination for the evening was Rainbow Lake so we came to Lower Twin Lake and stayed to the left. Rainbow Lake was beautiful. A bit too many mosquitoes for my liking in the evening but with a little repellent, it wasn't too bad. Next morning we headed back to the trail-head passing Lower Twin. Upper Twin and Echo Lakes. Since it was mostly downhill going in, it was mostly climbing coming back. The climb from Echo Lake up toward Summit Lake was at least moderate in difficulty. An easier trip would be to go to the right at the Y and bypass the burned out areas for now.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Our first backpacking trip. We worked the trail counter-clockwise to avoid the business of Twin Lakes (and the apparent bear who'd set up shop). Gathered fresh water at Big Bear Lake and camped at Little Bear. The wind picked up in the middle of the night (which was a bit terrifying when surrounded by half-dead trees). The trail was pleasant and lakes enjoyable for swimming in the late summer heat. Definitely a trail we"ll re-visit.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

If you like lakes, this is the trail for you. There's nothing stunning expect for the summit lake, which offers the best reflection of Mt. Lassen, but everything is very pleasant. Unfortunately, the cluster lakes area suffered a forest fire recently and everything looks depressingly grey.

Instead of doing this loop, consider hiking just to the twin lakes, or use the twin lakes as a jumping point for your longer backpacking trips.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Great hike going counter clockwise for the first 4 to 5 miles, but remaining 4 miles is all burnt woods from just over a year, and was depression to walk through. Wait some time for the growth to re-appear

19 days ago

1 month ago

11 months ago

Monday, August 14, 2017

Wednesday, August 10, 2016