This National Park has become one of my top favorites and having visited it every year for the past three years has proven that. Every year I’ve been there has been a different experience, whether it was different climatically or different location wise, each visit was always just as amazing as the last. In 2018 I visited the park with two friends of mine, Edwin and Eric, and we had a great time exploring the park. We had hoped to check out the thermal areas of the park but they were unfortunately closed due to maintenance. So instead I took them to a few other areas that were just as spectacular as I had described to them.
The Hike to Cinder Cone
To start the trip off on a great note, I decided to take the guys to Cinder Cone. The hike itself isn’t very long, but the part where you actually have to walk up the cinder cone makes up for it. Thankfully, the weather was overcast and cool this time. The last time I had hiked up Cinder Cone was a bit of a struggle due to the much warmer and sunnier weather. After we made it up to the top of cinder cone, we all took a short rest and then soaked in the amazing views. From the top of the cone you could see majority of the old lava flows and a good number of the nearby lakes, and of course, Mount Lassen. Once we were ready to head back, we decided to take the longer route and see more of the lava flows, as well as the painted dunes.
Hiking down the opposite side of cinder cone from where we came up was something new for me. I had not done this yet so I never really got to see the actual lava flows up close. After making it down the side of the cinder cone, we found ourselves right in the middle of the old lava flows and painted dunes. The contrast of the dark lava flows, reddish soil of the dunes, and the bright green pines made for excellent scenery. By this point my friends and I were getting fairly tired, so we decided to hike back to my truck and head back to the campsite. Hiking cinder cone has been one of the most enjoyable moments during my visits to Lassen NP, and I hope to do so during all of my visits in the future.
A New Day, A New Mountain to Climb
The next day we set out to hike on one of the nearby trails that was relatively close to the campsite. The hike to the Chaos Craggs felt fairly simple and eventually ended in a small “lake”. After a nice lunch at the base of the craggs we decided to head back and go back home. The hike back was very quick but we managed to stop in some spots to take some group photos for our memories. The chaos craggs are a hike I would definitely recommend to someone who wants to do a relatively easy hike with some very nice surrounding scenery.
Although this trip seemed to go by somewhat quickly, we still managed to see quite a bit of the park. I am looking forward to visiting the park again in 2019 and I hope to some day summit Mount Lassen. That hike will be tough, but with enough training I think my wife and our friends will be able to accomplish this goal whenever we decide to attempt it. Lassen NP is an amazing place to visit and I highly recommend everyone to visit the park at least once. With the countless areas to explore, this park is by far one of my most favored places to visit in the state. Until next time Lassen!