Trip Number: 12143A
Staff: Ted Lenzie
- Hike mostly on-trail, but also some cross-country, among the lakes,
peaks and meadows of Lassen Volcanic National Park
- Enjoy 360-degree views from the top of different volcano types
- Explore and camp in areas where fewer people travel
- All meals starting from the first evening to our afternoon exit
- Campground fees for the first and last night, permits, and permit fees
- Specialized equipment such as stoves, fuel, and bear canister
Photo: Ted Lenzie
Unfortunately, this trip has been cancelled. If you
have questions, please
This backpack will travel through Lassen Volcanic National Park, stopping to
visit a spectacular chain of lakes that lie at the foot of Mount Lassen and
other peaks. Not at a loss for high vantage points, we can hike to the top of
Fairfield Peak, Mount Harkness, Mount Hoffman, The Cinder Cone, and Prospect
Peak for views of Mount Lassen, the Fantastic Lava Beds, the Painted Dunes,
and multiple sub-alpine lakes. Most days should provide enough time around camp
to explore this spectacular terrain; we'll travel mostly on-trail to reach lakes,
peaks, our exit. On our last day, we can ascend the trail to the top of Mount
Day 1: Friday, August 24 is the official start of the trip.
We will meet at the campground to prepare dinner, get to know each other, and
discuss what to expect for the trip and the next eight days. We will go over
the trip's day-to-day plans and answer last-minute questions.
Day 2: After breakfast, we will begin our trek under the Mt.
Lassen massif into the Park's wilderness and onto our camp at Lower Twin Lake
(6,537 ft). Heading in an easterly direction on rolling terrain, we will be
on-trail, as we will for most of the trip. We will pass several lakes along
the way while watching for local wildlife. We will be travelling about four
miles with a gain of 500 feet and a loss of 300 feet. After lunch and camp setup
we can wear our day packs and ascend the cinder cone Fairfield Peak with an
800-foot gain, and 3.5 miles (round-trip) back to camp.
Photo: Ted Lenzie
Day 3: Today, we'll start by heading south on the Pacific
Crest Trail (PCT), then diverge to head east. We'll pass beneath Crater Butte
and continue on to Horseshoe Lake (6,700 ft), where we will set up camp. We
will be travelling about 4.2 miles with a gain of 200 feet and a loss of 300
feet. Additional time for local exploring may be available.
Day 4: With day packs on, we will head south toward Juniper
Lake (6,792 ft) on our way to the summit of a shield volcano, Mt. Harkness.
With views of Mt. Lassen along the way, we can ascend the trail to the open
summit with its 360-degree views of the Park and surrounding area. Afterwards,
we can return to Horseshoe Lake on a loop, for an overall gain of about 1,700
feet and 11 miles round-trip.
Day 5: We will hike northeast toward Snag Lake (6,076 ft),
which is one of the Park's larger lakes. While hiking though Cameron Meadows,
we will reach our destination of Snag Lake, having travelled 4.3 miles, with
a 300-foot gain and a 450-foot loss. After lunch we will again put on our day
packs and make the cross-country ascent toward Mount Hoffman (7,983 ft). From
here we will have a much different perspective of the area with panoramic views
of the lakes, cinder cones, and lava beds. This hike will be a elevation gain
of about 1,800 feet and a 5.7-mile round-trip back to camp.
Day 6: As our layover day, we'll have options today, including
relaxing in camp or hiking to the Cinder Cone and/or Prospect Peak. We can climb
to the summit of the treeless Cinder Cone (6,907 ft) and see such views as Mt.
Lassen, Prospect Peak, Butte Lake and the Painted Dunes below us. Our plan is
then to make our way to the shield volcano Prospect Peak (8,338 ft) with more
extraordinary views, after which we will return to camp. Those who go on this
hike will have completed a day with a gain of approximately 3,300 feet and a
round-trip mileage of 15.5 miles. If participants wish they can also return
to camp after the Cinder Cone hike, making the day much less strenuous.
Photo: Ted Lenzie
Day 7: The terrain changes abruptly as we start this day hiking
next to the Fantastic Lava Beds and the Painted Dunes. We will regain the PCT
and make our way toward Soap Lake (6,318 ft). Continuing on the PCT we turn
south at Badger Flat. Here we leave the PCT and head toward the Cluster Lakes
area (6,600 ft), where we will camp. We will be hiking about 9.5 miles with
an elevation gain of 800 feet and a loss of 250 feet.
Day 8: We'll exit the Wilderness and head back to Summit Lake
Campground (6,800 ft) and our final night's stay. We will be travelling about
4.5 miles with a gain of 600 feet and a loss of 1,000 feet. Here we will prepare
our day packs for our ascent to the summit of the plug volcano, Mt. Lassen.
Day 9: After breakfast we can drive to Mt. Lassen's trailhead
and make the 2,200-foot ascent to the summit and return the same way. The group
should be well acclimatized after a week at altitude and this should help us
with the hike to Lassen's 10,500-foot peak. The on-trail hike is straightforward,
and once on top we we'll have views of all that we hiked the previous week,
plus other areas such as Mount Brokeoff and Mount Shasta. We can lunch on the
summit and begin our descent and the trip home.
Redding is the closest airport; however Sacramento, Reno, or San Francisco
may have better options and provide more flights. The meeting point is about
a 3.5-hour drive from Sacramento, or a 4.5-hour drive from San Francisco or
More detailed information concerning driving directions, meeting times, camping
arrangements, and other trip information will be in correspondence sent before
the trip start.
Accommodations and Food
Photo: Ted Lenzie
We will plan a diverse and appealing menu to accommodate both vegetarians
and non-vegetarians. Any food allergies or limitations, including being vegetarian,
should be indicated to the leader on the application as far in advance of the
trip as possible. Responsibility for cooking will be shared among the trip members.
Our first meal will be dinner on the evening of day one. The last meal of the
trip will be lunch on the final day of the outing.
This trip is rated 3 (Moderate). Mileage on our eight hiking days range from
3-16 miles, with a total of nearly 68 miles for the entire trip. However, many
of the days we will explore the local volcanoes with our day packs on making
those events less strenuous. Our first hiking day will be challenging as we
hike with full packs, all while we are still acclimatizing to the higher elevation.
Our greatest elevation gains will be on days 1, 4, 5, and 9, and our campsites
will all be between 6,100 and 7,000 feet. We have one optional layover day.
However, those going to Prospect Peak on day six might feel it's one of the
more strenuous hikes on the trip. Most of the hiking will be on-trail, but trekking
poles are useful for balance.
Participation in this outing does require that you have recent, basic backpacking
experience. In addition you need to be in good physical condition, have a good
aerobic conditioning and realistic expectations for the trip. Hiking on rough
terrain does require good balance and a patient and flexible attitude, both
of which are necessary for the trip. Our objectives are to enjoy some spectacular
country and to complete the trip safely as a group. Known for its temperate
summer weather, the Southern Cascades can also experience sudden, unexpected
rains, hail, snow, heat, and cold. Daytime temperatures can climb into the upper
80s, while nighttime temperatures can drop below the 30s. It is essential that
you be prepared for extremes in weather conditions, and also be flexible so
that we can adapt our route to accommodate unexpected conditions or events.
Equipment and Clothing
Photo: Ted Lenzie
A list of suggested personal equipment will be sent to all participants. Each
person should keep the weight of personal gear below 25 pounds, so that, with
the addition of approximately 15 to 20 pounds of equipment and food, total pack
weight will be less than 40 to 45 pounds at the start.
We will provide all food and cooking equipment, although you must bring your
own eating utensils, bowl, and cup. Some of the group equipment, such as pot
sets, stoves, and bear canisters, is relatively bulky. Your pack should have
a large enough volume to carry the size of two one-gallon milk jugs in addition
to your personal gear.
For shelter, tents are strongly encouraged, and lightweight waterproof tarps
are the required minimum. Where possible, we will help participants contact
other trip members who want to share shelters. For rain gear, a waterproof jacket
and rain pants is a required minimum.
Map: Lassen Volcanic National Park, Earthwalk Press. This
map can also be found at REI or the Lassen National Park Visitors Center.
Book: Salcedo, Tracy, Hiking Lassen Volcanic National
Park. Falcon Press. This book can be found at REI, Amazon, and Barnes and
YouTube: See a YouTube sideshow of the leader's 2011 trip:
We will venture on-trail among sub-alpine lakes, mountain tops, and other geologic
features. Here we will try to find what we can of human presence, both modern
and historical. Each evening we can discuss what we have found and its impact
on the wilderness and ourselves. We can cover other topics, such as global warming,
technology in the wilderness, and issues regarding the parks and wilderness
in general. As a group we will observe Leave No Trace principles, and invite
discussion of current issues regarding our wilderness, water, and air.
Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and will operate under a permit from Lassen Volcanic National Park.
See the How to Apply for an Outing section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation Policy.
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
Ted Lenzie has been leading Sierra Club Outings for eight years. Ted has been backpacking for over 25 years and has completed routes such as the Tahoe Rim Trail and the John Muir trail. He has been a resident of Northern California his whole life. He has been camping since his childhood, and loves sharing his favorite places with others. Besides being an avid backpacker, Ted is also an accomplished mountaineer with climbs on mountains such as Denali, Orizaba, The Eiger, and all the 14,000-foot peaks in California. When not backpacking or mountaineering, Ted enjoys cycling, kayaking, skiing, and traveling with his spouse.
Diane Cook has been leading moderate and light-moderate backpack trips in the Sierra since 1981. Early family vacations included hiking and car-camping, but she did not learn about the wonders of backpacking until she grew up. She became involved in leading group trips with the Chicago Chapter of the Sierra Club before moving to California. Now she enjoys passing on the pleasures of hiking in the Sierra to both experienced and inexperienced backpackers. She particularly enjoys planning meals that don't fit in with your preconceived notions of backpacking dishes -- we want you to look forward to your meals, not have to pack them out!
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips