Lassen Volcanic Nat'l Park
Cinder Cone & Butte Lake

This is our favorite hike to the top of a volcano in the park. Take highway 44 east to Old Station, and continue east toward Susanville. Take the turnoff to Butte Lake, then drive 6 miles on a dirt road to Butte Lake. At the Cinder Cone trail head, pick up Nature Trail brochure, with information about volcanic formations you'll see along the way. The trail, including hike to the top of the cone, is about 4 miles round trip.

Cinder Cone -

The first part of the trail follows along a section of the Nobles Emigrant Trail, where pioneers came to California in the 1850's. This environment would have looked very alien to the emigrants. The trail continues right next to the Fantastic Lava Beds, black blocks of lava all jumbled up. This is lava that oozed out of the bottom of the volcano, instead of popping out the top in cinders and piling up a big cone.

The second section of the trail is the hike up the cinder cone. At the top are two craters, one inside the other, and spectacular views of Lassen Peak in the distance. Walk around the rim trail for the best views of the painted dunes down below. Also, there's a trail down to the very bottom of the cinder cone crater; just remember you have to hike back up.

If the kids don't feel like hiking to the top, you can also just take the bypass trail around the base of the cone, to get close to the painted dunes around the back side.

Tip: Bring lots of water (it's a thirsty hike to the top of the cinder cone). The trail is loose cinders underfoot, so wear close toed shoes, no flip-flips. Wear hats that won't blow off (it can be windy at the top).

Butte Lake - Butte Lake has a campground, restrooms, and lots of picnic tables.
Go swimming - After your hike up the cinder cone, bring your swim suits and go swimming in the shallow waters of Bathtub Lake, a short .4 mile hike from the Butte Lake parking lot. The trail goes off to the left from the parking lot.
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