Distance: 11 miles
Elevation gain: 1,100ft (from 6,600 - 7,200ft)
Whether you measure by quality or quantity, this hike's a winner either way. Explore at least a dozen pristine lakes and pools on this loop trail in the heart of Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Begin the hike at the north side of Summit Lake where you'll find kids from the nearby campground frolicking in the cool waters. Head for more serene waters by following the trail up 400ft of elevation, revealing the eastern flanks of Lassen Peak behind you, before descending into a valley created by lava beds once spewed from the caldera of nearby Hat Mountain.
The pine-shaded route around the loop trail traces the flanks of the lakes. Both the Upper and Lower Twin Lakes and Silver Lake are particularly inviting and a great place to take a cooling dip before rejoining the trail, heading uphill and closing off the loop. (Note that Google Maps have mislabeled some of the lakes, so we've called out the correct names).
With so much water around these parts, you'll be thankful that you remembered the bug spray - without it you'll be mosquito bait. Also, if you prefer a shorter hike we recommend a 7-8 mile, 800ft gain out-and-back route to the twin Lakes.
Snow covers the Lassen landscape for much of the year and some roads and trails may not be open - even in summer. Check the links in our tangents section to find updated information on road closures, trail closures and campground status.
- Trailspotting TV: Cluster lake on You Tube
- Trailspotting Images: Cluster Lakes on Flickr