But first, we're stopping by Boiling Springs Lake to see if it really bubbles.
The trail begins from the trailhead across from Warner Valley Campground. We were the first ones there. Not many people go hiking at 6:30 in the a.m., I guess. Hey, you know what they say about the early bird! (When we finished 7 hours later, the parking lot was full.)
The first part of the trail meanders along Hot Springs Creek...
This was probably the most diverse trail we've hiked yet in Lassen.
There were cute little boardwalks, bridges, and at one point, the trail went through a meadow...
This was my first time out with my new insulated backpack cooler, and I have to say I was impressed! Not only is the minty color adorable, but it was comfortable and kept our picnic lunch cool all day. I was leery at first because I haven't worn a backpack in a million years, but I feel like a "real" hiker now! It comes in 4 different colors and has roomy compartments. (Here's the link to buy it on Amazon in case you're interested.)
Personally, I prefer hiking at sunrise when we have the trail to ourselves and I can watch the sun come up through the trees as we're walking.
There was a slight uphill climb to the lake, but all in all, it was pretty easy.
Steam vents under the lake keep the water around 125 degrees, so there was a lot of steam rising up from it in reaction to the cool morning air.
When you take the loop around the lake, you can see it from a few different angles...
This trail crosses the Pacific Crest Trail. I can't imagine going on such a long hiking journey! Then again, I never thought I'd be hiking my way across Lassen NP either!
One of my favorite things about the forest is the pretty green lichen growing on the trees...
The trail to Devil's Kitchen is double the distance to Boiling Springs Lake and, boy, did my calf muscles notice the climb! In total, we hiked over 7 miles in one day, our furthest yet.
There's a trail that loops through Devil's Kitchen, taking you through mudpots, steam vents, funaroles, and milky Hot Springs Creek.
I don't know exactly what the devil was cooking, but it sure smelled like rotten eggs to me!
Nearby Drakesbad Guest Ranch offers horseback riding to many trails in the park, including Devil's Kitchen and Boiling Springs Lake. I would definitely want to come back and try that next time!
By the time we headed back, the sky was a brilliant blue and a few white puffy clouds were drifting along.
While the scenery was beautiful and it was fascinating watching the ground bubble up and steam escape the earth, this wasn't my favorite trail so far. It was a lot further than I expected and the payoff wasn't as spectacular as say Kings Creek Falls or Shadow Lake. There were a few times that it was a little scary standing so close to something so volatile, but that's what you get when you go hiking near a volcano!
I give this trail 3 "You've got blinders on to the world" out of 5. 🚍🚍🚍
Hubby agrees and gives it a resounding 3 tasty football donuts filled with Bavarian cream out of 5. 🏈🏈🏈
Here's the highlight video from our hike to Boiling Springs Lake and Devil's Kitchen: