Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails near McArthur with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

snowshoeing
5 days ago

Snow shoed on 3-16-19, the road to Butte Lake isn’t open yet. Parked along highway 44 and hiked in to the actual trail head (about 6 miles). From the actual trailhead, still about 7ish feet of snow covering the trail to Cinder Cone. No other people around the entire day, just a few bobcat tracks. The top of Cinder Cone had very little snow, probably due to the heat coming off the dark volcanic rocks. Challenging final push up the Cone. Round trip a bit over 17 miles.

Daring hike up the cone! The temperature difference is pretty crazy.

Really cool trail to hike. It was so amazing to see the Cinder Cone. It’s steep, but short. There were kids doing it, so definitely family friendly. It a pain to get to, there not a lot to see around Butte Lake, so unless you camp at Butte Lake (which I did) you would have to drive an extra 40+ minutes to the trailhead from the main part of the park (Manzanita area).

Probably the most unique hike I’ve done! I’d call it a moderate hike, first part is easy it’s like walking on sand (annoying but easy) then hiking up the cone is the killer part. It’s only a half mile up, but your legs are going to burn. The painted dunes are what I was looking forward to the most, and they exceeded my expectation. Very unique and beautiful! Also I’d recommend hiking down in the the back trail of the cone, you get great views of MT Lassen, Brokeoff, and you get to walk in the lava flow and dunes a bit.

The hike was amazing. Will confirm what all others have said, first part is easy to moderate, it's just like walking in sand at the beach. It's annoying and works your calfs but it's not the worst thing in the world. Plus you get to walk parallel to the lava beds and it's kinda cool. So much rubble and then it just stops. Kinda cool to think about how it happened back then.

And then you see it. The cone. And the steep incline. And you wonder if you can make it. Here are the only two things I would say a) it looks a lot worse than it is especially if you notice how tiny the people are as they are walking up and b) please take sticks. My husband made me a stick from a dead tree close to the bottom and I don't know how I would have made it without. Everyone tells you how it's one step forward and two steps back but with a stick it rarely happens. And then, seriously. Don't let anyone rush you. The path is wide enough people can pass you. Take your time. Let your quad muscles relax again before you keep going. Slow and steady wins the race as the say.

The good news is that it only goes around the side once. So what you see is pretty much it. There's a last bend that you don't see from way down but really that's it's.

Then enjoy the top. Use the inner trails if you don't like heights but want to see some views.

But my biggest lesson (and maybe it's just my perspective). THE INITIAL SLOPE UP IS WAAAAAY EASIER THAN THE BACK ONE. Just in case there's confusion: the darker one is what I can the initial slope. It's the first one you see when you come from butte campground/Lake. That is way easier up and mainly wider. Less stones so less sliding. The back one, meaning the one on the side of the painted dunes, is half the width. We walked down it and it was horrible. Plus when you're done, the "flatter" hike is twice as long as if you take the main slope.

Lots of detail here as hopefully it's useful for those of you, who, like me, feel like they need to read up a lot on things before venturing.

Bottom line, as with all things that seem difficult, you'll be so proud once you've done it. You hiked up a freakin' volcano for goodness sakes!!!!

hiking
6 months ago

I was staying Manzanita campground and to get to this part of the park you have to drive out the park and come back in to Butte Lake. The road to the trailhead is 6 mile unpaved road - passable by most cars. On this trail, the cinder/sand made difficult to walk and climb. This was a strange looking mountain. Very few trees were glowing on the slope. The view of painted dunes and lava beds down below from the top was spectacular. You can go down inside the cone if you still have energy to come back up. We did this and felt like we were in a gigantic bowl. We came down on the side where painted dune was and we were glad this was descend - very steep! When we were walking back to the car, we encountered a bear not a mile away from the trailhead. We walked away from the bear as far as we can go, checking on the bear who was looking at us a while but walked away after few minutes. This was definitely a memorable one in different ways.

The trail is MUCH harder than it seems. Its combination deep sand (cinder and ash) and incline. Its deceiving to be sure, but so so worth it. The hike goes along the Fantasic Lava Beds (yes, their real name) and are worth exploring to see if you can find volcanic glass. Keep going until you're at the base of the cinder cone (ansolutely awesome--seriously, I was awe-struck). I hung around the base for a while, snapping pics of two people making it up the path to the top. I'd recommended summiting in early, early morning if youre gonna do it cause that climb is relentless torture. So so so worth the drive, the hike, and the aching quads!

The view is worth the climb! Did this hike Labor Day 2018 with two 11 year olds and two 7 year olds.

our trail was 10 miles long all paved. good stroll on a beautiful Sept day!

I thoroughly enjoyed this hike and highly recommend it. Its a first for me going to this park and am very glad I gave it a shot.

Some notes:

1) Bring a bathing suit and water shoes if you can! The lakes are very nice to swim in in the summer and are not nearly as cold as you'd think they are.

2) There is no cell reception within 45 minutes of the park, so make sure you download everything you need to and have a solar charger or battery backup with you.

3) The sand is a real downer but its not the whole way, less than half. Just make sure you are prepared for sun for the sections that are fully exposed. Even in full sun, the breeze makes it very tolerable.

To save on driving I started the walk from Summit Lake and set off clockwise at ~6AM. I'm in reasonable walking shape and hoped to finish in around 8h-8h30 but this took me about 9h15 so do not underestimate it.

This is an outstanding walk that covers a huge variety of different terrain in a very compact walk. Each of the lakes are stunning, particularly in the early morning light and the walk up Cinder Cone is fortunately not too strenuous if you take it slow and steady.

Doing this as a day hike I found the section from Snag Lake to Rainbow Lake to be particularly punishing, in part because it was the middle of the day with some strong sun. If you're also interested in doing this as a day hike and think you won't fully seize up, it may very well be worth taking a long break at Snag Lake to allow the midday sun to pass.

Strongly recommended, the only downside is all the damn sand.

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.

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
8 months ago

Amazing!

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
8 months 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
9 months 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.

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 !!

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.

Remarkable, you can see such landscape at nowhere else

on Cinder Cone Nature Trail

9 months ago

2018/05/27

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
11 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.

Friday, February 23, 2018

beautiful place!!!!

Friday, February 16, 2018

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

hiking
Friday, January 19, 2018

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
Monday, November 20, 2017

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

hiking
Sunday, November 12, 2017

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
Saturday, October 07, 2017

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.

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