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Wanted: Expert on Lassen Volcanic National Park


The Brokeoff Mountain Trail is one snowshoeing possibility in Lassen Volcanic National Park. NPS photo by Russell Virgilio.

Wanted: Expert on Lassen Volcanic National Park. Topic: Snowshoeing.

Hey fellow Travelers, we've received a question from a reader regarding snowshoeing possibilities at Lassen. And, having not personally visited the park, we're hoping someone can offer some insights.

Specifically, what trail or trails on the park would be good for a group new, or relatively new, to snowshoeing?

Now, we understand ranger-led hikes are held Saturdays and Sundays from January 3rd through April 5th. Those interested in these should meet the ranger at 1:30 p.m. outside the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center in the southwest area. The walks are 1.5 to 2 hours in length. The route and type of walk is determined by snow conditions. Participants must be at least eight years old and be able to do moderate physical exercise. Participation is first-come, first-served.

$1.00 donation for use of snowshoes.

Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center

Beyond those opportunities, does anyone have any suggested trails that might work well for this group?


On pages 4 and 5 of the winter 2008/2009 park newspaper there are a number of snowshoe and cross country ski tour suggestions on beginners, intermediate and advanced level in both parts of the park. Those who never have been to Lassen in winter should know that the center part of the park road is closed, so there are essentially two separate parts of the park. From most parts of California, the southwestern part is easier to reach than the northern part around Manzanita Lake.

For total beginners I would recommend the guided tour. It should be short and fun and kind of a trial whether snow shoe hiking is something you enjoy. For a first tour on your own, Ridges Lake sounds good but I have been there only in summer. The distance is about 2.5 miles (round trip) which is possible for physically fit beginners, it is not too steep but a challenge and I imagine the bowl around the lake to look spectacular in snow. Ask the rangers for the conditions regarding avalanches and advice on routes, Lassen is alpine country and you should be aware of dangers.

Snowshoeing can be done almost anywhere in and around the Park. Because we are so lucky and live nearby, we, use the main road, from the Southwest entrance off State Hy-way 36. We snow shoe up to the Sulphur Works, and we have cross-country skiied, taking the kids. We also use logging roads out of Chester, esp. up Feather River Dr. and the Lockerman Canyon Rd, up above the Chester Cementery. We have always enjoyed seeing wild critters or their footprints, and birds, that are migrating. Dress warm, take water, and packed lunch. Sunscreen, We see lots of people having tailgate parties, at this entrance, and fun in the Snow, but it is the Southern Cascades, Drive safely, bring chains for your tires. The weather can change quickly. Don't hesitate to talk to Rangers, the hearty souls have signed in a do snow camping, and we see people up at the Lassen Peak itself in winter. Those be the EXPERT type persons. Don't forget the camera!

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