Hikers have been eagerly awaiting the reopening of the Lassen Peak Trail, which closed in 2009 after a tragic accident. In the years since, the park has been rebuilding and stabilizing the route. It reopened to the public last summer and the official dedication event is this coming Saturday, July 30, at 10 am.
It has been over ten years since I hiked Lassen Peak and I wanted to check out the new trail. With this goal in mind, I headed into the park last weekend.
The trail starts at approximately 8400 ft elevation and climbs to the 10,457 ft summit in 2.5 miles. The trail routing has not changed, but it has been graded and reinforced in the switchbacks area. Although steep, the trail is very well graded and I found it pretty easy to stick to a steady pace.
Several interpretive signs are scattered along the trail, providing opportunities to stop and catch your breath while learning something.
Upon reaching the summit plateau, a ring of interpretive signs explains the volcanic history of the peak, the other peaks visible, and even the tortoiseshell butterfly migration that is a rare but amazing occurrence on the summit.
To visit the actual high point, continue past the signs and follow the increasingly crumbly use trail to the summit. About 25% of the people making the summit plateau seem to continue on to the actual summit pinnacle.
If You Go
- It is going to be hot this weekend and the trail is very exposed with little shade. Bring lots of water, protective clothing, and sunscreen.
- No dogs are allowed on the trail. It’s a national park and this should go without saying, but I saw dogs on all the trails I hiked last weekend.
- Expect bigger than normal crowds for the official dedication – arrive early. Don’t park on or block the road.
- Explore the rest of the park! Lassen is full of unique gems.
In and Out dayhike on trail.
5 miles round trip
+/- 2100 ft
Trailhead and Permit Notes:
An entry fee is required to enter Lassen National Park. No permits are needed for dayhiking Lassen Peak. The parking lot is large and paved. Snow lingers long into the summer, and this not only impacts road opening, but trail conditions.
There are several campgrounds in Lassen National Park. To guarantee a site it is best to reserve a spot ahead of time, but if you plan on first-come, first-served your best bet is the walk-in campground at the south entrance to the park.