The Lily Pond Nature Trail in Lassen Volcanic National Park is a great little hike for beginners and kids. It's not even a mile long (0.75) and numbered stakes along the trail correspond with the trees and plants outlined in the trail brochure. This is an easy, flat trail loop and you don't have to worry about any elevation change. The trailhead is right across from the Loomis Museum.
I like how diverse this trail is despite being so short. (Hey, I'm diverse and short, too!) You can see a variety of landscapes such as stream beds, rock fall avalanche from Chaos Crags and, of course, Lily Pond itself. The mixed conifer forest showcases a variety of trees including Alder, Willow, Incense Cedar, Mountain Hemlock, and several different pines and firs.
We saw quite a few dragonflies and birds around the pond and look forward to doing this hike when we need a break from the more difficult trails in the park.
The rushing water of McCloud River flows east of and parallel to the upper Sacramento River, in Siskiyou County and Shasta County in northern California. It drains a scenic mountainous area of the Cascade Range, including part of Mount Shasta.
Read about my hike to all 3 McCloud waterfalls here.
When I started hiking my way across Lassen Volcanic National Park, I had no idea I'd find so many beautiful wildflowers! It didn't take long for my collection of wildflower photography to grow by leaps and bounds. The amount of poppies, lupine and wild sunflowers I've come across this summer has been absolutely delightful. So, I decided it was time to give my wildflower photography its own home at Wildflower Wednesday.
In Lassen Volcanic National Park, there are 5 trails classified as Strenuous, the highest level of difficulty. Cinder Cone and Lassen Peak (which we have yet to do), Ridge Lakes, Mount Harkness and Brokeoff Mountain. Well, I'm proud to announce that we hiked to the top of Brokeoff Mountain in late August!
Brokeoff Mountain (also known as Brokeoff Volcano and Mount Tehama) is the highest peak in Tehama County (the park lies within 4 different counties) and the second highest peak in Lassen VNP.
This was such a diverse and beautiful trail! There were meadows, streams and forested areas and everything in between. We saw lots and lots of wildflowers and several different kinds of butterflies. We even had our very-first Sooty Grouse sighting, too. It took us 9 hours to complete the 8 mile round trip and the elevation topped out at 9235 feet, the trail starting at 6635 ft.
Strenuous is no lie. The hike up is all uphill and we were worried a few times that we might not make it. There isn't a lot of shade on the last 3/4 of the trail and that late summer sun can be bru-tal. We kept each other motivated, and although it might have taken us longer than the average hiker, we made it to the top and enjoyed awesome views of Lassen Peak, the whole entire valley and even Mt. Shasta to the north.
With this bad boy of a hike under our belt, we only have a few more trails left in the park to conquer. Better get to it before the snow starts falling!
(A lot of hiking videos on YouTube only show the way there. I like also showing scenes from the way back because we start our hikes so early in the morning that the lighting is completely different in the afternoon and I want to show what a difference the sun makes on the scenery.)
Last year we hiked to Ridge Lakes in the middle of October, and this year we hiked it during August. (Read all about that autumn hike here.) What a difference a couple months makes!
This time there were wildflowers in full bloom, representing every color under the rainbow, not to mention the yellow mule's ears covering the hillside. And to think that I couldn't imagine the trail being any prettier than when we did it in the fall when there weren't even any flowers!
Between all the different birds we spotted and the beautiful wildflowers blooming, I didn't have time to think about how steep the climb was. The trail to Ridge Lakes is only 2 miles round trip, but has a 1,045 elevation change and is all uphill, as you can imagine.
The water level was too high for the ridge to appear between the lakes so you can stand between the lakes like I did last time, but everything was green and the small patches of snow made for some fantastic photo ops. The reflections on the water are crazy beautiful.
I guess it really is worth re-hiking a trail during a different season!