My last day in Lassen Volcanic National Park, so I’m not going to get any more acclimated than I am right now. Guess it’s time to hike up Lassen Peak. As you approach the high point of the road and the trailhead, you get the strangest feeling you’re being watched. They call this Vulcan’s Eye but we all know very well that it’s actually the eye of Sauron!
It’s not a particularly long hike at just over two miles from parking lot to summit. Neither is it extraordinarily steep, so as long as you can deal with the elevation and it’s not too hot. It’s really a much more intimidating climb than it might look. Today it was in the low 70’s in the parking lot and really just about the same at the peak. The wind was cooler, but not blowing too hard. In fact it was cooler and windier on the hike up than it was at the summit.
Just as it looks, you are exposed virtually the entire way so sun protection is a must. And as always, bring plenty of water. Don’t worry if you find yourself sucking wind right from the start. The first quarter mile is probably the steepest section excluding the few sections of steps and then the last 150 ft up to the summit.
As you come up to the summit there is a small saddle before the “trail” kicks up to the actual peak. It’s more of making your own way up the rocky knob than following what appears to be the trail. What I was not expecting was the rugged volcanic crater area. You don’t see that from anywhere on the south side of the park.
Looking north from the peak you can, theoretically, see Mt Shasta. In fire season, it is truly a theory. Note the small patch of snow on the very left side of the photo. There are a few “permanent” snow patches on the the mountain. In fact there was once a Glacier near the peak, but not for a LONG time now. I stopped by the snow patch before heading off to explore the crater some. I just wandered off toward the other side which ended up being a fair bit further than it looked. All sorts of interesting cracks and crevices, water pools, growing flowers, even thought it looks like the surface of the moon. Make sure you have good shoes on adventures like this. That lava is extremely sharp and treacherous.
Thank you Lassen for a fabulous week. I’ll have to come back because I have not even made it to the north side of the park.