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

Did this as a 3 day 2 night backpacking trek. Beautiful area with very diverse ecosystems. Even on a holiday weekend it wasn't crowded at all. The twin lakes were a bit more populated though. The ~8 miles from snag lake to cindercone to rainbow lake is largely loose sand, which is a huge bummer for hiking in general, but in particular with a back country pack. Also pretty exposed for that stretch. The rest of the trail has good shade. Saw a juvenile black bear, maybe 200 lbs about 3 miles from snag lake. It saw us and was not interested, which is great. Overall, definitely worth doing, it is a wonderful park.

just did this as a great 3 day backpacking trip! beware the assent to rainbow lake from the cinder cone is super hot this time of year with very little shade. we wished we'd gotten more water at snag.

25 days ago

Did the hike anti-clockwise as I did not plan to do this trail when I set off but decided to try it instead of doing an out and back hike to Lower Twin Lake. Found the burnt areas around Cluster lake quite eerie and didn't really enjoy that section of the hike. A little bit of ascent but overall pretty steady going.

The return trip is a doozy with much of the elevation gain in that portion. (Especially in the switchbacks coming up from the campground.) But the views are outstanding and you get to see several different natural habitats of rocky cliffs up high, highland grasses and fields, wooded hillsides, geothermal springs, and low lying marshes in the valley.

1 month 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

1 month 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.

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.

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.

on Echo Lake Trail

1 month ago

Nice hike and amazing lake. It was definitely worth it to jump in.

Did this as a short 3 day backpacking trip. We took the summit lake trail to the right to get to Twin Lake (a bit over 5 miles) and went clockwise. The best part of the trail was between Snag Lake and Horseshoe. Even with the fire devastation, it's still a beautiful route.
Couple of notes: a bear came close to our camp (75-100') after our late dinner. While it didn't bother us, we found out it's a park resident and had been through an open bear canister (they only work when they are closed tight) and a backpack that only had a first aid kit. Also, the mosquito's are horrendous. I sprayed Permethrin on my hiking pants and it was the only thing they didn't like. We tried the 'natural' sprays and those don't work at all. We had nets for our heads, and that was great. Not sure if DEET works, as we didn't have any.

2 months 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.

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

on Echo Lake Trail

2 months ago

Superbly maintained, clearly marked, easy trail with excellent footing and a gin- clear high mountain lake at the end. We (both retired & one Medicare eligible for many years) arrived there in less than an hour of walking, despite taking numerous photos of Mt Lassen along the way. Water is chilly but swimmable, as we chatted with two young women who were enjoying the activity on an otherwise hot day.

wow done all these trails but not linked .. sounds like a fun trip .. so many trails and beauty to enjoy here ... one the best parks in north America

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 ..

3 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.

11 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.

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.

Very nice hike. Love the change in terrain and scenery. First it's the lakes from the "Cluster lakes". Then enter the devastated area and then suddenly it opens up with Cindercone in sight and the trail gets really sandy. Cindercone is a fun hike up and then to it's bottom.
On the return leg after corral meadow and heading back towards Summit lake, there are quite some streams that need crossing. The first one is a big tree that you walk over to cross. There was one place where the stream is fast and one had to wade through its icy cold water! I walked barefoot the last 2 miles and it felt like a good foot massage!

Saturday, August 05, 2017

This hike was way harder than it needed to be for some reason. Everyone we saw was out of breath and I could barely keep walking.

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.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

great hike to the lake and beautiful lake to swim in.

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.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Echo Lake was beautiful and an easy hike to get to from the Summit Lake Ranger Station trail head. There are several other lakes to visit not much further from Echo Lake. And the return hike from Echo Lake to Summit Lake gives you one of the greatest views of Mt. Lassen in the entire park. This is a great day hike or stop along an overnight. However, I do believe there was a sign which stated no camping at Echo Lake. So take note.

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.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

this was one of our stops on the first day of our 3 day backpacking trip. great place to stop for lunch if going onto upper and lower lakes.. Beautiful cold water! dip your feet in and enjoy the sunshine

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

6 days ago

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